There are also some opportunities to teach English in international schools or universities – however you’ll normally need a Master’s degree and previous teaching experience to pick up one of these highly sought after posts. It is also possible to find work in an international school if you’re a licensed teacher. If you’re qualified, you can teach at primary or high school level in a Mexican international school.
Work visa in advance
Cost of Living
Business Professionals, University Students, Children
What Kind of Teaching Jobs Are There In Mexico?
TEFL teachers in Mexico usually teach at private language centres or universities. There are a considerable number of jobs at language centres and a handful of jobs at universities. Almost every language centre hires at least one foreign TEFL teacher whereas only a handful of universities hire foreign English teachers, and you will usually be expected to have a Master’s degree as well as a TEFL certificate.
Teaching at private language centres in Mexico
The majority of TEFL teachers in Mexico work in private language centres, schools or as private English tutors. If you’ve got training and/or experience in business English it’s also worth looking out for jobs teaching English in private companies. Mexico’s trade links with the US means that there’s a good market for teachers trained to teach business English.
Finding a job
Focus your search on the cities and touristy coastal areas, where there is a high concentration of TEFL jobs. Most schools like to interview candidates in person, so you’ll have the best chance of finding a job teaching English in Mexico if you’re already in the country. However, if you don’t fancy travelling on spec you can still apply for jobs by email, phone and Skype. Check out LoveTEFL’s jobs boards for the latest vacancies for jobs to teach English in Mexico. And remember to dress smartly – appearances matter here and Mexicans aren’t fond of crumpled clothes!
When to apply
Start your job search in late July and be ready to interview in August. This is the main recruitment period, ahead of the start of the new school year at the end of the month. However, it is usually possible to find teaching work in Mexico all year round.
Teaching hours & Class sizes
You’ll normally teach for around 20-25 hours a week. Even with lesson preparation this leaves you with plenty of time to relax on a sun-soaked beach at Cancun, hike through the rugged Copper Canyon or explore the impressive Mayan structures at Chichen Itza.
Salary & Bonuses
TEFL salaries vary widely in Mexico. On average, you can expect to be paid around $450 – $800 per month – but salaries can go higher if you’ve got the right blend of qualifications and location.
You’ll normally be expected to pay for your own accommodation in Mexico. However, schools do occasionally offer free housing as part of their salary package, as well as other benefits such as transport – it’s always worth asking.
Vacation days vary from employer to employer. Many employers will offer a handful of paid vacation days but could be required to work on public holidays. However, you’ll need to read your contract carefully to find out what vacation you’ll be entitled to.
- Low number of teaching hours and preparation
- Possible to find work year round
- Work visas are relatively easy to acquire once you have a job offer
- No accommodation included
- Low monthly salary
Other types of teaching work in Mexico
Am I eligible to teach in Mexico?
If you are a fluent English speaker and hold a TEFL/TESOL certificate, you’re eligible to teach English in Mexico! Many schools look for applicants with a Bachelor’s degree but this is not a legal requirement to teach in the country. However, if you’d like to teach at a university, you will usually need a Master’s degree, and to teach at an international school, you’ll need a teaching license from your home country.
How can I get a visa?
You will normally need a work visa (usually an FM3 visa) in order to legally work in a paid TEFL job in Mexico. You can apply for the visa online or at an immigration office and then arrange to pick it up from your closest Consulate.
In order to apply for your work visa, you’ll need proof of a job offer from your employer as well your TEFL / TESOL certificate and passport. The process normally takes up to 30 days so make sure you leave enough time for your application to be processed.
If you simply can’t wait to be in Mexico and you’ve got a US or UK passport, you can enter the country without a visa and then cross the border to the closest Embassy to pick up your visa once it’s ready.
Where can I teach English in Mexico?
With its great climate, stunning natural scenery, fascinating history and easy travel, Mexico is a great destination for TEFL teachers. The highest concentration of TEFL jobs is in the country’s large metropolitan areas including the massive capital, Mexico City, and regional centres such as La Paz, Guadalajara and Monteray. Mexico City is experiencing something of a cultural renaissance. Its intriguing museums, excursions down ancient canals, beautiful architecture and a fast-developing reputation as a top foodie spot mean you’ll always have fabulous ways to fill your time off. If you fancy life by the sea instead, you can also find a good number of language schools looking for TEFL teachers in tourist destinations such as Acapulco, Cancun and Puerto Vallarta.
The peak recruitment period is August, ready for the start of the school year at the end of the month. Language schools do recruit all year round however – although avoid the lead up to major holiday periods when schools can shut down.
TEFL employers prefer to interview candidates in person. If you can, head to Mexico before applying for jobs and you’ll have a better chance of getting hired. Otherwise, check out TEFL jobs boards as there are some opportunities to find work before you go.
Finally, it’s worth knowing that appearance is important in Mexico – so make sure you iron your shirt to make a good first impression!
What are the challenges of teaching English in Mexico?
Low pay can be a bit of a shock to lots of EFL teachers moving to Mexico. However, the cost of living her is extremely low and you should be able to afford to live a comfortable lifestyle on a standard EFL teacher’s wage. Do keep in mind that your savings will not go very far outside of the country though!
Some EFL teachers have reported that it’s taken them quite a while to gain the respect of their Mexican colleagues and acquaintances. Although Mexicans are extremely welcoming and hospitable, you may find that lots of locals consider English-speaking foreigners to be privileged and spoilt. The best way you can earn the respect of locals is by learning Spanish!
Cost of living in Mexico
While not amazing, the pay for TEFL teachers in Mexico is decent compared to the cost of living, allowing you to enjoy living comfortably. The cost of living in Mexico is considerably lower than most western European countries, the US and Australia – averaging around half the cost of living in the UK. However, you can use up the bulk of your TEFL salary on living costs if you don’t budget carefully. A relatively comfortable lifestyle will set you back around $450 – $750 per month – more if you eat out frequently and go for imported drinks.
If you want to save, share accommodation, use local transport and pick up your quesadilla or enchilada from a local street vendor and wash it down with a swig of local beer – you’ll enjoy a tasty meal for a fraction of the price you’d pay at a restaurant. Even better, most apartments come with a kitchen, so shop for super-fresh food in the local markets and learn to cook your own Mexican delights.
If you’ve ever experienced the taste bud tingling delights of freshly made quesadillas, enchiladas or tortillas, you’ll know it’s worth getting a TEFL job in Mexico for the food alone. However, this gorgeously diverse country has much more to offer.
Mexico’s close proximity to the US means that English language skills are in high demand. There’s a strong TEFL jobs market in both the cities and coastal resorts so even newly qualified TEFL teachers can pick up a job without difficulty and experienced teachers are spoilt for choice.
While salaries definitely aren’t at the top end for TEFL, the cost of living is relatively low so you can live comfortably on your teacher’s salary. Accommodation is on a par with the western standards, particularly in the main cities, and transport is both good and cheap – meaning you’ll have no excuse for being late to your classes (sorry!).
There’s so much to experience on your days off too – from bustling markets dating back to Aztec times to spectacular scenery including pink salt lakes (Yukatan Peninsula) and frozen waterfalls (Oaxaca) to sun-drenched beaches along both the Pacific and Caribbean coastlines to fascinating archaeological ruins seemingly around every corner to vibrantly beautiful colonial cities.
Top attractions include exploring ancient wonders from the Teotihuacán Pyramids (City of the Gods) to the Mayan ruins of Tulum, travelling the Chihuahua al Pacifico railway across the spectacular Copper Canyon, and discovering white, sandy beaches amongst the thousands of miles of gorgeous coastline.
The culture in Mexico has changed considerably over the past few years with massive variations across the country. Although there are large, bustling cities in Mexico, many Mexicans still live in small villages and rural communities.
The local language is Spanish and over 80% of the population identify as Catholic. The family unit is important in Mexican culture, and most Mexicans will be heavily involved with their immediate family as well as their extended family on a daily basis. Family parties and celebrations play a big part in Mexican culture and hosts are keen to make visitors feel welcome at these events.
You may find that your new Mexican friends are often late – try not to be offended as this is pretty normal in Mexico. And it’s a good idea not to criticise local food as Mexicans can take this quite personally!
Mexican cuisine has been around for approximately 9,000 years and is famous around the world. It’s likely you’ll have tried your fair share of Mexican food in your home country, though lots of ‘Mexican food’ is actually ‘Tex-Mex’, a combination of Texan and Mexican cuisine. Real Mexican food uses different cooking methods and uses many native staple foods, such as avocados, beans, cactus, cacao, chia, chili peppers, corn, squash, tomatoes and vanilla.
A few must-try dishes include tostadas – fried tortillas, mole – a sauce traditional with chili pepper, cinnamon, cumin, fruit, nuts and more, chilaquiles – fried tortillas with melted cheese, eggs and pulled chicken, pozole – hominy corn soup topped with chilli, lettuce, lime, onion and radish, and of course, fajitas and enchiladas! Lesser-known tasty dishes include pambazo – a sandwich filled with fried potatoes, fried beans, cheese, lettuce and shredded pork or beef then dipped in a spicy sauce, and gorditas – stuffed and fried blue corn cakes.
Accommodation in Mexico
Occasionally, schools may offer housing to EFL teachers, but generally teachers are expected to find and pay for their own housing. The cost to rent an apartment in Mexico tends to be cheap and living standards are relatively high.
In Mexico City, a one-bedroom apartment outside of the city centre can cost anywhere from $160 to $400 per month. Although there will be a difference in size and quality depending on the price you pay, you can expect to be perfectly comfortable in a flat at the bottom end of this budget.
Weather in Mexico
In the south of Mexico, the weather tends to be warm and sunny all year round. In the north of the country, it can be slightly cooler, particularly between November and February. Coastal areas tend to be hot and humid, whereas inland areas with higher elevation can be much cooler and dryer. There is also a rainy season between May and September.
In Mexico City, located in the centre of the country, the average temperature in the hottest month of June is 28°C, and the average temperature in the coolest month of January is 23°C.
Please note: The information in this guide is accurate as of the time of writing. However, the laws and requirements to teach abroad can often change. Make sure to check the latest advice from the local authority of the country you plan to work in.