All You Need to Know
About the Teacher License Exam

Frequently Asked Questions

The Teacher License is a mandatory certification for teachers and educationists to become a UAE certified teacher. Without this license/certification, teachers and educational leaders cannot perform their duties in the education sector. Formally known as the Teacher Licensing System (TLS UAE) exam, it consists of two main assessments; an educational practices test and a subject specialization exam. All teachers, whether they are working in public or private schools, are lawfully bound to obtain a valid TLS UAE teacher certification exam by 2021.

This is a mandatory certification without which a teacher/educational administrator cannot legally work in the UAE. The implementation of this program will be complete by 2021, after which all teachers will need to be TLS UAE certified. This certification has been introduced by the UAE Ministry of Education with the aim of setting higher standards of performance for teachers in the country. The idea is to ensure the continuous professional development of teachers and help them stay abreast of latest developments in the field.

Registrations will be opened for select groups of teachers on the basis of educational cycles. These targeted groups of teachers will be contacted via email, after which they will be able to create their online profile. Once exam registrations are opened, this group of teachers will receive a notification to get registered for the exam. A time, date, and location will be set for their assessment. The results of this assessment will be communicated to all teachers later on. If on the basis of these assessment results, it is felt that some of the teachers need further training, they will be notified accordingly.

Any teacher applying for a TLS UAE certification must know about online teaching degree Requirements and will need to clear the following two assessment tests.

  • Educational Practices Test
    This assessment relates to general teaching pedagogy.
  • Subject Specialization Exam
    This assessment deals with the general content of the courses to be taught.

You will be notified of your assessment results through your registered email.

All teachers will have the opportunity to retake any failed assessment within the next 24 months (2 years).

You should get all licensing procedures completed by the end of 2020.

Their non-UAE Teacher License will be reviewed by a committee to check whether the license meets equalization requirements. These equalization requirements will be announced soon.

All teachers need to first apply for a Provisional Teacher License (PTL). To obtain this provisional license, teachers will need to have relevant qualifications and experience, provide proof of their legal status, a character certificate of their good conduct and fitness, and a minimum IELTS score of 6. All teachers in the UAE must receive their PTL by 2021. Once they are in possession of the PTL, they can apply for the Competent Teacher Status (CTS) license if all preconditions for it are being met.

There are essentially two ways a teacher can apply for the CTS license. Those teachers that do not have an international teaching license need to complete the TLS UAE exam for Standards 1, 2, 3, and 4. They will need to provide proof of professional development and self-assessment in the form of a mini-portfolio, along with a teacher training qualification.

On the other hand, teachers who have an international teaching license from certain countries will be exempted from taking exams for Standards 2, 3, and 4. The exam for Standard 1, however, will be compulsory. These teachers will also need to show proof of professional development and self-assessments in the form of a mini-portfolio.

These teacher standards were developed by authorities in the UAE so as to ensure that teachers can demonstrate professional competence which is in line with the aspirations of UAE Vision 2021 and international best practices.

Standard 1 focuses on professional and ethical conduct. A solid commitment to the heritage and cultural values of the UAE will be expected from all teachers. They will need to demonstrate good ethical conduct on both personal and professional levels, exemplified by fairness, integrity, and respect. All teachers will also need to comply with legislative and organizational requirements set by the state as well as their respective schools.

Standard 2 focuses on professional knowledge. Teachers must understand learning and development with regard to the diversity of learner characteristics and needs. Teachers must know about educational research, learning theories, pedagogical approaches, cultural values, and relevant policies that help apply knowledge in practice. Additionally, teachers will have to demonstrate proficiency in the language of instruction, as well as demonstrate ample knowledge and understanding of the curriculum they are teaching.

Standard 3 tests a teacher’s professional approaches. Teachers will be expected to create learning environments that are safe, supportive, and motivating for young learners. All teachers must demonstrate how they plan and implement effective learner-centered teaching responsive to the characteristics and needs of individual learners. Successful teachers also incorporate appropriate resources and make use of innovative teaching tools. Teachers are also expected to use varied assessments to inform teaching, evaluate progress, and provide feedback on students’ learning.

Standard 4 focuses on professional growth. Teachers are expected to take responsibility for their own professional growth by reflecting on performance, identifying development needs, planning and engaging in professional development, and evaluating the impact on teaching and learning.

Currently, only cycle 3 Arabic, English, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, and Biology teachers working in government or private high schools that teach the curriculum approved by UAE Ministry of Education have been registered in the first phase of the teacher licensing system. This phase got underway in March 2018.

Registration for the UAE Teacher License is free of charge at the moment.

You will be notified of your result through email in the next couple of months. Subsequently, in September, you will have to write a professional essay which will demonstrate your knowledge of UAE culture and heritage, teaching ethics, classroom management, and other standards related to pedagogy.

Not at the moment. Dubai has its own test, as does the Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC). The process currently is similar to what happens in the USA. If you teach in a particular state, you will be allowed to take the state exam, but there is recognition of people as they move between states. And if there is a national exam in the future, everyone will be required to take it. However, the predetermined national targets have to be met in four years’ time, which is why different states are conducting their own exams.

You will still have two more chances to pass. However, before you can retake the tests, you will be required to enroll in a training program designed specifically to take care of your unique needs (based on your test scores) and weak points. The training period will vary in length from one to six months.

The UAE Ministry of Education has developed a number of training programs in partnership with local institutions. These programs can be enrolled in before the tests are to be taken in April or September.

In case you are able to successfully pass the licensing exams, you will earn your UAE teachers license. In other words, you will become a TLS UAE certified teacher. The validity of this license will be between one to three years, depending on your qualifications, test scores, and professional experience.

Foreign-qualified teachers from a select group of countries will enjoy some exemptions at the Competent Teacher Status (CTS) licensing stage. While taking the TLS UAE exam for Standards 1, 2, 3, and 4, such teachers will be allowed to skip the exam for Standards 2, 3, and 4 depending on their teaching qualification and experience. Taking the Standard 1 exam, however, will be compulsory for all teachers. The list of countries whose teaching qualification holders are exempted from exams for Standards 2, 3, and 4 include USA, Ireland, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, England, Scotland, and Wales. However, this exemption privilege can only be utilized if a teacher has both the teaching qualification and teaching license from any of these countries.

The procedure for obtaining the Provisional Teacher License (PTL) takes about six months. Following that, all PTL holders will have one year to obtain their Competent Teacher Status (CTS) license. Plans are in the pipeline to extend this time period for obtaining CTS license to 18 months (1.5 years).

The major cost incurred will be for training. This will vary with each individual applicant as some will undergo more rigorous training programs compared to others. Apart from that, the cost of the Provisional Teacher License (PTL), the main assessment, and the whole process should be no more than AED2000.

That will not be necessary. However, you will have to notify the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) and obtain a new character certificate from the local police services. You won’t have to go through the entire testing process again.

The license is at a developmental stage right now, therefore, a level-6 in IELTS is needed for teachers that are using English as a medium of instruction. On the other hand, teachers that are teaching English as a subject will need at least a level-7 in IELTS.

To renew the license, teachers have to develop a portfolio over three years – and the portfolio has to be quality assured both internally and externally. There will be no specific assessments or exams. There will be permanently evolving areas of professional development. The main emphasis will be on happiness, tolerance, and moral studies.

Normally, the validity of a teacher license will be between one to three years, depending on the qualifications, test scores, and professional experience of a particular teacher. And he/she will have to get that license renewed accordingly.

The UAE Ministry of Education recently launched its website in both English and Arabic. Information about the TLS can be accessed here https://tls.moe.gov.ae/.