The Complete Guide To Teach English in Mexico [Updated for 2023]
Do you like diverse, rich culture? How about friendly people and some of the most delicious food you’ll ever eat?
If so, welcome to Mexico!
One of the most amazing locations to teach English abroad, Mexico is a kaleidoscope of culture, food and people. And best of all, it has millions of people eager to learn English.
In this post, you’ll find everything you need to know about teaching English in Mexico, from ESL and visa requirements to how to find a job!
- 1. Essential ESL Teacher Requirements for Mexico
- 2. How To Obtain a Mexican Visa
- 3. Types of ESL Teaching Jobs in Mexico
- 4. Where To Find ESL Jobs in Mexico
- 5. How To Land Your First ESL Job in Mexico
- 6. Average Salary for ESL Teachers in Mexico
- 7. Costs for ESL Teachers in Mexico
- 8. Teaching in Mexico FAQs
1. Essential ESL Teacher Requirements for Mexico
To teach English in Mexico, you need to…
1. Have a TEFL certification
2. Speak English at a native level
3. Have a valid passport and visa
4. Have a Bachelor’s degree (though it’s not always essential)
One of the most common questions when it comes to teaching English in Mexico is, “Do I need a degree in teaching?” or “Do I need any degree at all?”
You might be surprised to learn that you don’t. However, a four-year degree will help you get higher paying ESL jobs, but it’s not a requirement. In fact, you really just need to be a native English speaker and hold a TEFL certificate showing you completed some form of teacher training.
You can easily sign up for a TEFL certificate course in Mexico before launching your teaching career. They are normally a month long and cover the skills you’ll need to be successful in any classroom setting. Expat website, Go Abroad, has a comprehensive list of TEFL courses in Mexico.
Additionally, the International TEFL Academy also offers a four-week training course in Guadalajara, Mexico, that provides a hands-on experience in the classroom. The program is internationally recognized and accredited by Training Qualifications UK (TQUK), which is recognized by the British Government.
If that doesn’t fit your schedule, try getting certified online instead. We’ve even got a guide on how to get an online TEFL certificate to help you get started.
2. How To Obtain a Mexican Visa
To obtain a Mexican work visa you generally need to have an employer or potential employer sponsor you. While that may sound like a pretty big obstacle, the process of getting a work visa isn’t typically as hard as it sounds.
Specific visa requirements can be different depending on your home country. Your sponsor may be able to help you with preparation, and you can also check with your local Mexican consulate at home for application and document requirements.
The best way to find out what you need is to go onto the Mexican Embassy website for your home country and find the visa information section. For further information, you can contact the Mexican Embassy or local consulate.
For example, on the Consulate General of Mexico in New York’s website you can find the different types of Mexican visas and the requirements. You can also find extra information about visas and immigration documents on Visasmex.
The most common visa for ESL jobs in Mexico is the Temporary Resident Visa. One of the main requirements to obtain this visa is to have proof of a job offer which is also referred to as an “invitation letter.”
It’s also important to note that the Temporary Resident Visa must be approved before you arrive in Mexico and exchanged for a Temporary Resident Permit Card within 30 days of arrival.
3. Types of ESL Teaching Jobs in Mexico
There are a number of English teaching opportunities in Mexico. Before you choose one, it’s best to understand what may be expected, like work schedule, hours and especially workload.
- Language Centers: Language centers have students of all ages. The typical schedule is early mornings and evenings, since this is generally when people have time to attend classes. Saturdays could also be a working day, depending on the institution.
- Public Schools: It’s hard to generalize about the types of ESL jobs you’ll find here, but they do usually offer a bit more of a fixed schedule and salary. The structure of a formal public school may be best for teachers with experience creating class syllabuses. This page offers a basic introduction to the public school system in Mexico.
- Company Classes: Company classes are pretty fast-paced and consist of serious students learning English for advancement opportunities within their professions. This type of English teaching job is one of the higher paying positions. Classes are usually in the evenings or during lunch periods to accommodate the students’ schedules.
- Private English Lessons: Private English lessons are great if you want to make your own schedule and curriculum. The stakes are a little higher with private lessons, as you’ll be wearing the hat of teacher, marketer, salesperson and business owner.
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to teach English in Mexico.
The truth is that teaching English abroad gives you the opportunity to diversify your skill set, which is why it’s common for teachers to work in elementary classrooms during the day, then give private lessons at night.
4. Where To Find ESL Jobs in Mexico
Finding ESL jobs in Mexico is pretty easy. To help, here’s a list of job boards and TEFL schools that highlight new English teaching opportunities in various parts of Mexico.
ESL teaching job boards for Mexico
- Teaching House: Teaching House is a great resource for anyone looking for international ESL jobs—especially in Mexico. The website is great for people who’ve already got some experience in the field, as preference is given to applicants with a CELTA certification
- ESL Employment Mexico: Be sure to check this website from time to time for jobs in some of Mexico’s bigger cities. While it’s not as active as Teaching House, there are a few high-quality positions that get posted every couple of weeks
- Transitions Abroad: Great for finding positions in Mexico and the surrounding areas, Transitions Abroad is an active job board that has a mixture of entry-level and skilled teaching positions available
- Mexico City Craigslist: You’d be surprised how many ESL positions get listed on Mexico City’s Craigslist page. While the site is best for finding people interested in one-on-one tutoring sessions, there’s the occasional ad for a language center that gets posted on Craigslist from time to time as well
- Teach Away: Teach Away is a job board and ESL resource site that’s consistently posting vacancies in Mexico and other top travel destinations. Perfect for the professional ESL teacher, Teach Away stands out from other sites by offering only high-quality positions to certified teachers and educators with years of experience.
5. How To Land Your First ESL Job in Mexico
Now that we’ve covered visas, types of teaching jobs and where to find them in Mexico, it’s time to look at how to land the teaching job.
Many schools in Mexico recruit English teachers locally and in-person. However, some English schools are open to online interviews as well. There are a few interview benefits when applying in Mexico, but also a few pitfalls to be aware of too.
As a general rule, the best route is to apply and interview in person. Most companies want to be able to contact you via a local number, and this can help you get preference over someone applying from overseas—especially if the school is looking to fill an immediate vacancy.
It should also be noted that Mexican companies prefer applicants to attach a professional photo to the resume, along with your local address and phone number. Don’t forget to highlight any teaching strengths, degrees and TEFL certificates to help you stand out.
Getting a good teaching job
Whether you’re applying for a job in-person or going on an interview, you’ve got to dress the part. The laid-back culture in the United States doesn’t apply in Mexico. Hiring managers prefer keeping things formal and professional, so wear a nice suit and keep a clean-cut appearance.
Men should be clean-shaven or have a neatly-trimmed beard, as well as a tidy haircut that’s properly styled. Women should put their hair up and also wear formal attire—dress as if you’re applying to a Wall Street company! This may seem a little traditional, but when in Rome.
6. Average Salary for ESL Teachers in Mexico
In Mexico, ESL teaching salaries can vary quite significantly depending on a variety of factors such as the type of school, teaching position, what your contract includes, what city you’re in and what country you’re from.
For many ESL positions at English language academies in Mexico, you might find that the salary is lower due to subsidized extras included in the contract, such as accommodation costs or flights from your home country.
If you have a degree or a professional teaching qualification from your home country, you’ll often have a better chance at securing a higher-paid teaching job in Mexico.
The salary of an ESL teacher varies greatly and can range from $500 to $1,200 per month (around $9,000 to $22,000 Mexican pesos), so it’s essential to have a few thousand dollars to carry you through the first month or two.
7. Costs for ESL Teachers in Mexico
Compared to other countries, Mexico is quite affordable. However, there are a few initial costs to consider before making the move.
For starters, you need to save up a month’s worth of rent to put down as a deposit when you find a place to stay. Naturally, the price you pay for rent depends on the city and neighborhood you live in, but here are some links to help estimate housing expenses:
- Mexico Craigslist: This site has plenty of apartments for rent, including shared apartments that are relatively cheap
- Airbnb Mexico: You are probably familiar with Airbnb. This is a great platform to find apartments or shared housing for rent, but it can be slightly more expensive than Craigslist
- Hostelworld: Keep it cheap until you find a permanent living situation by staying at a hostel. Hostelworld showcases the best hostels and has plenty of reviews for you to ensure you stay at a nice one
A safe monthly budget per month for an ESL teacher living abroad might be (very roughly) around $1000 per month, depending on where you live and how much you plan on going out. You can calculate your estimated cost of living more specifically with these charts.
8. Teaching in Mexico FAQs
Here, we will answer some of the most frequently asked questions about teaching English in Mexico.
Do I need a degree to teach English in Mexico?
To teach English in Mexico, it is not a requirement to hold a degree. You can land a teaching position without a degree or an official teaching qualification.
Although in saying this, it is often preferred, so you may find that some job vacancies will list this as a requirement.
You will however need to have TEFL certification to work as an ESL teacher in Mexico.
Do you have to speak Spanish to teach English in Mexico?
No, you don’t have to speak Spanish to teach in Mexico. As you will be teaching English, the main requirement is that you will speak English at a native level!
However, it’s definitely useful to know a little Spanish before starting—or else be prepared to learn in Mexico so you can help any students who struggle to use English!
If you want to learn some Spanish before traveling to Mexico, there are plenty of Spanish language learning apps you can use to learn important vocabulary and expressions.
Another useful resource is FluentU. This language learning program uses native Spanish content like movie trailers and inspiring talks to immerse you in the language, allowing you to see how Spanish is used by native speakers. The videos cover a range of topics and levels, and all feature interactive subtitles that you can hover over for word definitions.
By immersing yourself in the language and consuming native media, you’ll quickly become familiar with key phrases and vocabulary and be more prepared to travel to Mexico.
Is it safe to teach English in Mexico?
Mexico is a huge country and most people live a very normal life there.
Mexico has so much to offer and it’s not a surprise that it’s not only a top tourist destination, but also one of the most popular TEFL destinations!
As with any country in the world, the most important thing is to stay vigilant and avoid certain areas.
For more information about safety and living in Mexico, check out this post.
Do I need experience to teach English in Mexico?
No, teaching experience is not always essential.
However, as we mentioned above regarding a degree, the same applies to teaching experience: While it is often not a requirement, it is preferred and will help you secure a position.
Are you ready to take your ESL teaching skills abroad? Mexico couldn’t be a better choice.
Not only will teaching in Mexico provide you with wonderful memories and ESL experience, you also get to eat amazing food every day!