Guide to teaching English in Mexico
Mexico’s vibrant culture, beautiful landscapes, and incredible food are just a few reasons why it is one of the world’s best destinations for teaching English abroad. Whether you are teaching in a major metropolitan area or a small rural city, Mexico is sure to offer you a rewarding teach abroad experience.
Due to its close ties with the United States, Mexico places a great emphasis on the English language. English is commonly used to do business, leading to high demand for English language teachers in Mexico.
In order to teach English in Mexico, most teachers will require a university degree and a TEFL or TESOL certification. The average salary for teaching in Mexico is $500 - $1,000 per month.
Interested in teaching English in Mexico? We’ve got you covered! Keep reading to learn more about the types of teaching jobs, average salaries and benefits, and how to get a teaching job in Mexico!
Types of teaching jobs in Mexico
There are four main types of English teaching jobs in Mexico, each with its unique requirements and advantages.
Teaching children at a bilingual elementary school provides a very stable schedule and income. However, elementary school teachers have the lowest average salary out of these job types. Hours are generally from 7 am to 2 pm. Another difference between teaching at an elementary school instead of through other employers is that jobs are available that require you to teach particular subjects in English, rather than teaching English itself.
Additionally, because children require teaching methodology specifically targeted at their developmental level, it would be better if you had some prior experience.
English teaching jobs through local language centers will allow you to work with both adults and children while also providing networking opportunities. Language centers often cannot guarantee a stable schedule and income, however. Since these jobs require you to adapt to students' work or school schedules, a typical workday can be from 7 am to 8 am, then again from 5-9 pm on weekdays, and 8 am-2 pm on Saturdays.
Your workload will likely increase gradually after you gain more experience and have proven your capabilities and commitment level to the language center. The hourly salary in language centers is somewhere in between company classes and elementary schools.
Teachers of company classes work with highly motivated professionals who use their new English skills in their daily work. The hourly salary is the highest on this list, plus you will be exposed to great networking opportunities.
The schedule can be limiting and tiring as these classes occur either before or after work. You may also need to spend time and money commuting from one company to another.
Private English tutors are popular in Mexico. However, your salary will be based entirely on your ability to market yourself, retain customers, and grow as a small business. Starting out, it is unlikely you will be able to match the salaries of the other employers on this list, but the upside is the highest. Many teachers supplement their income with private tutoring instead of relying on it as their primary source of income.
Average salary and benefits for teaching English in Mexico
Salaries in Mexico are much lower than in the USA, but the cost of living is also lower. Salaries vary widely across and within cities, as well as different jobs. Depending on the number of hours you work and your location, expect to make between $500 - $1,000 USD a month.
Benefits packages will depend on your employer but often can include local transport, a housing allowance, or free accommodation.
Ensure you inquire about the hourly rates and benefits a specific employer offers before committing to a position.
Read more: How Much Money Can You Save Teaching Abroad?
Cost of living in Mexico
The average cost of living in Mexico is relatively low, so teachers can likely live off the salaries most employers provide. Finding a public school that offers free accommodation for TEFL teachers is a huge added bonus to keep your expenses down.
Another way to save money as an English teacher is to buy food from local produce markets and food stands.
Here is a list of common expenses and their average cost in Mexico:
- Meal at an inexpensive restaurant: $7.51
- Bus pass: $17.89/month
- Movie ticket: $4.09
- Housing (one bedroom apartment in city center): $444.95/month
Where and how to find housing in Mexico
The most popular way to find available housing in Mexico is through online classified sites such as Casas.Trovit. Always ensure you have all the required paperwork before attempting to sign a lease.
Here are a few resources to get started with your housing search in Mexico:
Where to teach English in Mexico
There are teaching jobs available in other cities throughout Mexico, but these are harder to find and require more research to ensure they are safe areas with reliable employers that fit your goals.
How to get a job teaching English in Mexico
For best results, apply for jobs in person. Bring your resume and ensure that you are well-dressed and respectful. Most schools will review your resume and contact you for an appointment if they are interested in hiring you and have an open position.
Where to find jobs
Since not everyone can travel to Mexico to apply for jobs in person, online job postings can help you locate opportunities.
In addition to directly contacting employers, third-party providers, such as the ones below, help place teachers with open positions in Mexico, and some even offer TEFL training and certification.
Job boards, like the one right here at Go Overseas, are another great way to find open positions, especially if you already have your English teaching certification.
When to apply
English teaching jobs are all available year-round throughout Mexico. However, monthly patterns still vary across different teaching job employers.
The school year starts in the last week of August, so if you're interested in teaching in public schools, you should begin your job search in July in preparation for the first semester and December for the second semester. Summer courses for young learners also take place in July and August, so you can start applying for these jobs in May and June.
For language centers, the best time to apply for jobs is August, in preparation for September. The month leading up to the holiday month is generally a bad time to apply for language center jobs. For example, try not to apply in November in preparation for December, as people will be off on Christmas vacation.
Common qualifications to teach in Mexico
Aside from being a native English speaker, many schools in Mexico require a bachelor’s degree or a TEFL certification to teach English. Even if not required by a specific employer, a TEFL or CELTA certification will significantly help your application (and your adjustment into the classroom), so it is highly recommended.
Work visas in Mexico
To lawfully work as an English teacher in Mexico, you will need a
FM3 work visa. Before applying, you are required to have already received a job offer. From there, you simply apply for the visa and pay a $90 application fee. Be sure to check with your employer if they will cover or reimburse the application fee for you.
Classroom culture in Mexico
It is imperative to research and understand the cultural nuances you will experience in the classroom while teaching abroad. There can be vast differences in the way students and teachers interact, so ESL teachers should be respectful and understanding while adapting to a new classroom environment.
Hierarchy is important in Mexican culture, and Mexican society and business are highly stratified and vertically structured. As such, always be respectful and be mindful of who is ranked above you.
Here are a few additional tips to know before teaching English in Mexico:
- Dress professionally in the classroom (and do not wear wrinkled shirts)
- Women greet each other by patting each other on the right forearm or shoulder, rather than shaking hands
- Men shake hands when greeting each other
- Don't call someone by their first name until invited to do so
- Anticipate students to be late (but be punctual yourself)
Ready to find your dream teaching program in Mexico?
Start researching and comparing teaching programs here at Go Overseas, in the Teaching Programs in Mexico section below.
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