Mexico is a country full of diverse cultural influences, from its ancient indigenous peoples, to its history of Spanish conquistadors. Mexico’s world famous beaches and old colonial cities make it a great place to live and teach English abroad. English is an important language to know in Mexico, because of its close proximity to the United States and the prominent English speaking tourists. Due to the great need for English teachers, Mexico’s teaching job market is very promising for those who earn their TEFL certification.
The country’s capital and the one of the world’s largest metropolitan areas, Mexico City, is located in the Valley of Mexico and has one of the best job markets for English teachers. Due to of the large number of schools and language centers seeking to hire teachers, Mexico city is a great place to start hunting for teaching jobs in Mexico. Full of museums and art galleries (including Frida Kahlo’s house), exciting nightlife, and cheap, delicious street tacos, Mexico City is perfect for anyone seeking a big-city atmosphere, low cost of living, and plenty of cultural activities while earning their TEFL certification abroad.
Located in the western-pacific area of Mexico, Guadalajara is the country’s second largest city and also has a substantial job market for aspiring English teachers. As a big city with plenty of schools and language centers, there is always high demand for English teachers. Guadalajara is known for its music scene, being an important art center, and having one of the largest public markets, the Libertad Market. This, along with Guadalajara’s pleasant climate, make it an enjoyable and exciting place to complete TEFL courses in Mexico.
Cancun, located in the Yucatan Peninsula, is a popular tourist destination with white sand beaches, all inclusive resorts, and a tropical climate. Since many jobs in the tourism industry require strong knowledge of the English language, there are many opportunities in Mexican resort towns to teach English to tourism professionals. Cancun is also a great place for teachers interested in outdoor activities, water sports, and warm weather. Furthermore, it is only a couple hours away from the ruins of Chichen Itza, an ancient Mayan city and important historical landmark.
Other common cities with TEFL courses in Mexico include Oaxaca, Riviera Maya, and Chiapas.
Courses & Programs
TEFL courses in Mexico can be completed online or in a classroom setting. The best bet is to look for a program with at least 120 hours spread out over four weeks, that includes classroom observation and practice teaching. Online students may do their classroom observation through online videos, but will still have to participate in practice teaching in-person. At the end of the course, students take an exam that they must pass to receive their TEFL certification. Teachers should also look for TEFL certificate programs with job assistance services.
In Mexico, most TEFL certification programs don’t require participants to be native English speakers, though non-native speakers may have to write an essay be interviewed before being accepted. Mexico-based TEFL courses also often don’t require participants to have a bachelors degree or previous teaching experience. The main requirement to participate in one of Mexico’s TEFL programs (and to work as an English teacher) are fluency in English and being 18 years of age or older.
Salary & Costs
Tuition for TEFL certification programs in Mexico range from $1,200 to $2,000 USD, and certified teachers can expect to make anywhere from $800 to $1500 USD a month, depending on their location. Bigger cities, like Mexico City, tend to pay higher salaries. Many teachers also supplement their salaries by teaching English privately, or tutoring.
Teacher salaries in Mexico may be lower than salaries in other countries, but teachers should only expect to need $500 to $1,000 USD to cover their living expenses. By giving private English lessons on the side and living economically, it is possible for teachers to save some of their earnings. Mexico has a lower cost of living than the United States, and teachers can easily learn to budget by discovering the cheaper shops and restaurants around town.
Accommodation & Visas
TEFL programs may provide housing assistance for their students while in the course. Some programs even provide accommodation in homestays for participants during their program. For the most part, however, TEFL participants are on their own and have to find a place to live once they start teaching. A lot of teachers will live with their co-workers or teachers working in nearby schools to save money.
To teach in Mexico, foreigners will need a work visa. US citizens can stay in Mexico with a tourist visa for 180 days, and many US teachers use a tourist visa to take TEFL courses and begin the hunt for a teaching job in Mexico. Once a teacher finds a job, they can apply for a work visa. To apply for a work visa, teachers need to fill out an FM3 (work visa application), which costs around $150 USD. Required documents to apply for a work visa include a valid passport (plus extra passport photos) and proof of employment.
Benefits & Challenges
Mexico has a fantastic TEFL job market and is a great place for certified teachers to look for jobs, and because it borders the United States, English is the most valuable foreign language for Mexicans to learn. Mexico’s growing tourism industry brings in plenty of Americans and Canadians, making it essential for those in the tourism field to learn English.
Some teachers may be concerned safety in Mexico, but many regions of Mexico are very safe. There are certain areas, like Chihuahua for example, that have higher levels of homicide and organized crime, so teachers should do research on the safety of the region they are planning to teach in.