Want to live in a beautiful nation with sparkling beaches, lush rain forests and colorful cities boasting centuries of history and culture? How about learning Spanish, discovering new cuisine and gaining practical skills and international work experience that will enhance your resume? Though often overlooked as a major destination for teaching English abroad, Mexico offers a fantastic international experience.
What’s more, Mexico is a great job market for those looking to teach English abroad who may not have a four-year degree or be from a native English-speaking country. While you don’t need prior teaching experience, or even a four-year degree to teach English n Mexico, earning an accredited TEFL certification is crucial. It will provide you with the training and qualification you need to get hired and, in fact, you will also need it get a visa to legally work in the country as an English teacher.
When considering your options for TEFL certification in Mexico, bear in mind that schools and language institutes in Mexico (and around the world) seek to hire those who hold at least a 120-hour TEFL certification. Your certification should come from an accredited provider and include live practice teaching. This equates to a four-week intensive class or a part-time equivalent. Receiving job placement assistance is also a key element that you should look for in a TEFL course.
In Mexico, the majority of accredited TEFL courses, which provide a professional level certification accepted by schools and language institutes and hire foreign English teachers, are four-week intensive classes. These courses incorporate 120-130 hours of training, including at least 6-10 hours of live practice teaching with local ESL students. All of these classes will cover critical teaching skills including teaching methodology and practices, lesson planning and classroom management.
Planning Your Trip
When and Where to Look:
Demand for English teachers in Mexico is so high and so strong that language schools and institutes are hiring new teachers year-round. Most jobs will be concentrated in large cities such as Mexico City and Guadalajara. If you are looking to teach in a beach resort like Cancun or Cabo San Lucas, there is a chance you can get a teaching job as many tourism-related jobs require strong English skills, but jobs are not as easy to come across as in major metropolitan areas.
Most TEFL certification programs in Mexico are open to fluent English speakers, ages 18 and older. However, those without a degree and non-native English speakers may be required to write an essay and/or interview with the course director.
No Degree? Not a native English-speaker? It is worth noting that while job markets have tightened somewhat in recent years due to the economic climate, Mexico and Latin America are generally more favorable job markets for those looking to teach English abroad without a 4-year degree or a passport from a native English-speaking country. Compared to the competitive job markets in Europe or Asia, a four-year degree and a passport from a major English-speaking nation is not often required to teach in Mexico.
Before enrolling in any TEFL class in Mexico (or anywhere else for that matter), you should inquire about job placement assistance, which can make or break your efforts to gain employment after your course. Top quality TEFL courses should be able to refer you to local language schools seeking to hire teachers and also to provide assistance in areas such as resume development or coaching you on the interview process. Well-established TEFL training organizations also provide worldwide job placement assistance for gaining employment teaching English in other countries.
English teachers in Mexico are typically paid by the hour (and in cash). Expect to make the equivalent of $8 - $10 USD an hour to start depending on the school, the job and your basic qualifications. That may not seem like much, but bear in mind that the cost of living in Mexico is considerably lower than in major American cities. You should look to work 25 hours per week (class time) to make the equivalent of $800-$1000 USD per month, which is enough to live comfortably and cover your expenses. Giving private lessons, for which you can usually receive $8-$12 USD per hour, is a great way to make extra money for travel and other pursuits.
Cost of Living:
The cost of living in Mexico is typically much lower than in the U.S., Canada or Western Europe. Count on needing at least $500 - $1,000 USD to cover monthly rent and living expenses both during your TEFL course and while living and teaching English in Mexico – of course living costs will vary by city and region. Housing is not typically included with tuition for a TEFL course, but most providers can assist with making housing arrangements in a local apartment (often shared by multiple students), a hostel, or possibly a home-stay with a local family. The local course staff can usually provide some guidance when it comes to finding a place to live after the course as well. Many English teachers share an apartment with other teachers, and given that English teachers are constantly coming and going, it’s usually easy to find somebody looking to share a flat. As a local, you will learn how to eat, drink and have fun at prices that are very cheap compared to the U.S. or Western Europe.