With its beautiful beaches, incredible food, and unique traditions and history, it's no wonder that people want to come and teach English in Mexico!
Mexico places great importance on the English language. Due to its proximity to the United States, English is commonly used to do business and there are an estimated 24 million English students in the country. This means that demand for TEFL teachers is high and you shouldn't face too many problems to find jobs teaching English here, even if you're just starting out in your teaching career.
Plus, you have South America and the Caribbean on your doorstep, which makes Mexico an ideal place to work and use as a base for traveling.
So, if you're interested in teaching English in Mexico, read on to learn more.
There are several types of jobs you can get if you want to teach English abroad in Mexico. Each has its pros and cons, so it is advisable to get to know them before choosing.
Teaching English to children at an elementary school in Mexico gives you a stable schedule and income, with working hours between 7 a.m. and 2 p.m. However, these jobs offer the lowest salary on average when compared to the other options, so if money is a concern you may want to look elsewhere.
You can easily find teaching jobs in one of the many language schools in Mexico. Speaking English is an essential skill for the majority of the professions in the country so a lot of Mexicans want to learn English. As an English teacher in a language school, you’ll be handling classes made up of students of all ages and could be teaching children or adults.
You'll get paid a bit more at language schools than you would in elementary schools, but the hours are variable. You could find yourself working from 7 a.m to 9 a.m and then again at 5 p.m to 9 p.m. You have to be comfortable with a flexible schedule that fits around your students if you want to work at a language school.
International schools can be found mostly in Guadalajara or Mexico City, but some can also be found at popular tourist spots like Puerto Vallarta and Cancun. You’d be holding classes for preschool to high school students.
To apply, you must be a certified teacher and have a valid teaching license from your home country. Some international schools also require a minimum of one year of previous experience.
While these positions do come with more requirements, they offer English teachers the chance for promotion to more senior and higher-paying positions.
If you are more comfortable teaching older students and have at least a Master’s degree and a TESOL or TEFL certificate, then you should consider working at a University. University jobs can be quite well-paid and look good on your TEFL CV.
You can also be a private tutor if you want to teach English in Mexico. This country has a high demand for English teachers so finding students should not be a problem, especially if you plan on staying in the bigger cities. You can charge your clients an hourly rate of $7 to $15 depending on the location.
Private lessons teaching adults in company classes are the most lucrative. This involves going to different Mexican companies teaching business English to the people who work there. Once you get your foot in the door, try to schedule several classes in the same location. This can significantly cut down on commuting time, which is important when these lessons tend to be before or after normal work hours.
As in other countries, the ESL teacher’s salary in Mexico varies based on the location, teaching position, and the experience and qualifications of the teacher.
A private language school will typically offer their ESL teachers a salary that ranges from $500 to $1,000 per month depending on the number of hours they spend teaching.
Universities and international schools offer salaries that range from $800 to $1,200 plus perks. These perks may include housing allowance, health insurance, holiday bonuses, paid vacation time, and free (or discounted) tuition for the teacher’s dependents.
Being a private tutor is another popular option for English teachers in Mexico and you can charge between $7 to $15 an hour. The rate mostly depends on the age of the student and the location. If you are in Guadalajara or Mexico City, you can charge higher ($20). English teaching jobs are easier to find in tourist-flocked destinations and big cities where demand is higher and you can charge more.
While the salary for teaching English in Mexico is quite low when compared to countries like Japan and China, you can still get by. Fortunately, thanks to the low cost of living in Mexico, teachers can live comfortably on their salaries. With some good planning, a teacher can even go on weekend leisure trips or set out to enjoy what Mexico can offer.
Before getting on the plane, it's important to find out what the requirements are for landing an English teaching job in Mexico. Mexican learning institutions are quite relaxed about who they hire, so the list of qualifications is much shorter compared with some other countries in Europe and Asia. Let's take a look at what you need to teach English in Mexico:
A TEFL certification is a must-have if you want to get a job teaching English abroad in Mexico. The country’s government passed legislation that ESL teachers must possess a TEFL certification or TESOL certification to be able to apply for the FM3 visa. The FM3 visa allows you to live and work in the country.
Most private language schools in Mexico do not require their teachers to have a bachelor's degree. This is great news for those without a degree, as it is a requirement in many other countries.
However, if you plan on teaching at an international school or even a Mexican public school, you will need a university degree (preferably in education). Applicants for English teaching jobs at the university level will need to have a Master’s degree together with an ESL teaching qualification.
You'll need a valid teaching license issued by your home country to work in any school. Previous in-classroom teaching experience is not necessary but it will be an advantage. Some schools do hire newly qualified teachers so don’t lose hope if you don’t have any prior teaching experience.
The most important thing when you plan on teaching abroad is to have a valid passport and a visa. To get into Mexico, you'd need a tourist visa. However, to be able to work legally in this country, you must apply for an FM3 visa.
To work as an English teacher in Mexico, you will need a visa known as the FM3. To apply for this, you’ll need to have an employment offer from any Mexican learning institution and a TEFL certification.
If you dream of teaching English and living abroad and decide that Mexico is the place for you, you’ll need to decide where exactly in Mexico you want to teach. You can go for a popular tourist destination or a busy major city.
Check out what these locations have to offer:
Mexico City is the country’s capital and is the location of numerous public schools, international schools, universities, and language schools. You will not have any problems finding teaching jobs here. You can choose to stay and find work in one of its popular neighborhoods (Xochimilco, Santa Fe, Chapultepec, or Zona Rosa) or commute to Polanco to try for a higher salary. Some private tutors based in Mexico City can charge up to $20 per hour, so this is the place to be if you want to make some money.
Guadalajara is known for its tequila and mariachi music. It is the perfect destination for those who enjoy going to parties every weekend to unwind. While it is considered one of the most expensive Mexican cities to live in, the average teacher’s salary is still more than enough to cover your expenses and a little extra for savings or entertainment.
Cancun is the perfect destination for beach lovers. Its world-famous beaches boast clear turquoise waters and pristine white sand. There are quite a few language schools based in Cancun since it is a huge tourist draw. Locals want to learn how to speak English to be able to communicate with their clients better.
One of the best and most effective ways to apply for an English teaching job in Mexico is to go there and submit your resume to various schools. You can do this on a tourist visa. Not only will you be able to scout out your potential workplace, but you’ll also be able to see some of the sights and gauge if it is where you really want to be (since teachers often sign a 1-year contract).
If you want to secure a teaching job before even boarding a plane, checking online is your best bet. Join forums for ESL teachers in Mexico. Other teachers often post about teaching jobs at their schools. You can also check job boards or search through job websites based in Mexico.
If you don’t have your TEFL certification yet, you can enroll with a TEFL course provider that offers job placement services once you're TEFL certified.
Most private language schools do their hiring year-round, so it is ideal to constantly check job boards and other online hiring platforms for any openings.
As for jobs at private schools, public schools, international schools, and universities, you can expect job openings to be listed around spring. You need to check posts for openings from late March to May. The school year begins in late August, so most openings will already be filled by then.
ESL teachers need an FM3 visa to legally work in Mexico. However, if you are already in Mexico using a tourist visa and happen to secure a job offer while you are visiting, you can apply for the FM3 visa during your stay.
After successfully going through the hiring process, your employer will send you a copy of the letter of employment printed on the institution's official letterhead. You will need to submit this along with the filled-out application form to the Mexican immigration office to apply for the visa.
Documents required for FM3 visa application:
Completed immigration application form
Valid passport (and a photocopy of every page)
Immigration card (the one you filled in upon arrival into the country)
Proof of residency
Passport photos (4 headshots and 3 side profile shots)
Notarized TEFL certificate
Letter of employment printed on the official letterhead of the institution
You will receive a confirmation of your application and a request for paperwork after 5 to 15 days. You will then have to pay a $90 application fee via direct deposit, credit card, or bank transfer.
You will receive a NUT Number from the immigration office. This will allow you to track your visa application online. Once cleared, you can contact a Mexican consulate to ask for a time when you can receive your FM3 visa. You have to do this in person. You’ll be asked to pay $290 upon your arrival to pick up your work visa. Remember that you only get 15 days to pick up the visa, otherwise, you'll need to go through the entire application process again.
Teaching abroad is always an exciting adventure. To make the most of your time in Mexico, you should research Mexican culture, customs, and the way of life of your new coworkers and students. Below are some important things to know to help make your stay in Mexico better:
Dressing well is of great importance to Mexicans. It is important to look smart in both social and business situations.
In Mexico City, the style tends to be a little more formal than in other cities. You often find that men wear suits and women wear long dresses or skirts paired with smart blouses.
While you may not need to speak Spanish inside the classroom, learning the language is going to be helpful in your everyday life. This is especially true if you are going to work in smaller towns or rural areas. It also makes it easier for you to make friends with your neighbors and coworkers.
Mexicans tend to give nicknames to people based on that person’s most prominent trait or feature. For example, if you are on the thin side, people may start calling you Flaco. The word means skinny. Asians may get called Chino, while fair-skinned people often get nicknamed Guero. While this may seem derogatory, you should know that the people do not mean to offend.
While it is generally safe in much of Mexico, you still need to be careful with your belongings. This is especially true when you are on public transport. You should also be aware that some areas in Mexico are much more dangerous than others, so make sure that you do your research before you travel.
Looking at the low salaries that ESL teachers receive from Mexican schools, you might be wondering how you could live comfortably there should you decide to work here. However, there is no need to fret. A teacher’s salary is more than enough to cover your monthly expenses.
The cost to rent a 1-bedroom house is around $300 per month. This does not include utilities. For heating, water, electricity, and garbage disposal, you will need to pay an additional $35 a month. If this looks a little too high, you can always consider sharing accommodation. Renting a bedroom in shared accommodation can cost as little as $160 to $170 a month. This amount already includes utilities.
Food in Mexico is highly affordable. The country is known for its fresh vegetables and fruits. You should take advantage of this and try to eat healthily if you can. A kilo of apples only costs about $2, for example.
If you enjoy making sandwiches, you’ll be happy to know that a loaf of bread only costs about $1.50 here. A dozen eggs cost the same. Splashing out for a bottle of red wine will not break your budget either as it costs around $8.
Should you decide to eat out, a three-course meal at a mid-range restaurant will cost you about $15. If you are trying to save, getting a meal off a street cart will only cost you $5.
Public transport is an amazing way to get to know the city well. In Mexico City, you can buy monthly passes for only $18. If you prefer to travel by car, you can buy a mid-range model for $15,000. Gasoline costs around $1 per liter.
Mexico is a treasure trove of things to do, places to visit, music to enjoy, and food to devour. You will never run out of new things to enjoy.
The first thing that most people think of when they think of Mexico is the food. Authentic Mexican cuisine is vibrant, spicy, and affordable. Mouthwatering enchiladas, tamales, and tacos can be bought from the local taqueria that you can find on every street.
You can enjoy your food while looking at magnificent artwork. Mexico is a place that lives and breathes art. And you don’t even have to go inside a museum to see them.
If museums are your thing, then you’re in luck, because Mexico is home to over one hundred and fifty of them. You’ll find the works of celebrated artists like Diego Rivera and Gerardo Murillo at the Museo Nacional de Arte: MUNAL or the Palacio Nacional.
If you want to see live performances, you can drop by the Palacio de Bellas Artes.
Nature lovers and history buffs will enjoy visiting some of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Mexico. You can truly be transported to a different time and see ancient relics that date back to the earliest Mexican civilization when you visit Teotihuacan. And if time on the beach is your thing why not visit Cancun or Playa del Carmen?
If you can do all of that while teaching English, then you will be living the dream of many.
Here are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions regarding teaching English in Mexico:
The average salary of English teachers working at a language school in Mexico is $500 to $1,000. Private tutors often charge $7 to $15 (higher if in the bigger cities) per hour.
Yes. When you factor in the low cost of living, all of the new experiences you can enjoy, the rich culture of the country, and the friendly people, you will see that teaching English in Mexico can be a highly appealing prospect.
You only need TEFL certification and an FM3 visa to teach English in a language school in Mexico.
Speaking Spanish is not a requirement to secure ESL teaching jobs in Mexico, especially in the bigger cities. However, you will find that it is easier to go about your daily life if you know some basic Spanish phrases.