The demand for TEFL teachers in Mexico remains high as more Mexicans want to learn English. English is the most commonly taught foreign language in Mexico, followed by French. It’s estimated that around 24 million people in the country study English in some way; however, only about 5% of the population have high proficiency in English. Mexico has a thriving tourism industry, and it’s beginning to export more and more each year to English-speaking countries, such as the US and Canada. Not only that, but the popularity of moving to the USA for better job opportunities is so strong that many Mexicans still choose to enter illegally. For those who can gain top English skills that enable them to apply for good jobs, they can find employment that will allow them to enter the country legally.

For many Mexican citizens who wish to advance in the professional world of business, speaking English is an absolute requirement. Many Mexican companies conduct a certain amount of their business in English because of their close ties with the United States, and it’s not uncommon for those wanting to get ahead to book English lessons during their lunch break, or to forgo their siesta for a language class. With the proximity to the USA, there is a slight preference for American English, although there is a high demand for English of any accent and if you’re a qualified, experienced TEFL teacher, you won’t struggle to find work. If you have experience as a business English teacher, this will put you in good stead when it comes to applying for jobs. However, there are also positions for those who’d prefer to teach children and young learners, with plenty of international schools across the country.

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Key Facts

  • Popular locations for TEFL jobs: Mexico City, Monterrey, Nezahualcóyotl, Tijuana, Cancún, and Queretaro
  • Average salary for EFL teachers: The basic monthly salary for full-time positions is likely to be in the region of 8,000 – 20,000 pesos (£300 – £730/ $400 – $1,000) per month. For freelance or hourly work, usual pay is 45-120 pesos (£1.60 – £4 / $2 – $6) per hour up to 250 pesos (£9 / $12) for private lessons in the city.
  • TEFL qualification requirements: A 120-hour TEFL qualification will be required for most positions
  • Prerequisite university degree: Not required, but employers often have a preference for one
  • Term times: The school year in Mexico starts in mid-August and ends in mid-July
  • Currency: Peso (MXN)
  • Language: Spanish
  • Teaching programmes: Public Schools, Private Schools, Universities, Corporate Teaching, Private Lessons, Volunteering
  • Age restrictions: None
  • Previous teaching experience: Experience isn’t always necessary but will offer you more opportunities, particularly if you’ve taught business English

Mexico has a high literacy rate and many good schools, with some of its private business schools standing out in international rankings. The innovative National Autonomous University of Mexico is the best university in the country, known for its research projects. In Mexico, basic education is normally divided in three stages: primary school (primaria – grades 1–6) junior high school (secundaria – grades 7–9), and high school (preparatoria – grades 10–12). Mexico has more than 150 international schools where lessons are taught partly or wholly in English.

Teaching English in an elementary school in Mexico is a stable job, but positions are often poorly paid, particularly if you aren’t experienced as a TEFL teacher. On the upside, the working day often ends at 2pm, so if you wanted to earn some extra income by taking on private students, you’d have free time to do that in the evenings after school. It’s also increasingly popular to book private language lessons during the lunch break. Working in a private language centre is less likely to give you this freedom, as your shift could involve teaching in mornings, afternoons, or evenings, depending on the age of your students. Some language centres will pay by the hour rather than a fixed salary, so you could always work this in your favour to build up a portfolio of private students while earning a guaranteed wage.

While full-time positions are the norm, it’s also possible to build up a host of different clients on a freelance basis while teaching in Mexico. Many teachers offer lessons to several different corporate clients as well as running private lessons. If you want to teach freelance on an informal basis, it’s possible to exchange casual lessons for room and board, a popular option for backpackers through Mexico.

Requirements for teaching English in Mexico

Country Avg. monthly salary Degree required Start of term Teaching experience Housing & flights included Suitable for non-native English speakers Age restrictions
Argentina £500 - £950
($600 - $1,200)
No March Preferred No Yes None
Bolivia £400 - £550
($500 - $700)
No February Preferred No Yes None
Brazil £650 - £900
($800 - $1,100)
No February No No Yes None
Chile £550 - £800
($700 - $1,000)
No March No No Yes None
Colombia £400 - £800
($500 - $1,000)
No January/February No No Yes Under 62
Ecuador £400 - £650
($500 - $800)
Preferred May Preferred No Yes None
Guatemala £400 - £550
($500 - $700)
Preferred January No No Yes None
Mexico £400 - £800
($500 - $1,000)
Preferred August No Sometimes Yes None
Peru £325 - £650
($400 - $800)
Yes March Preferred Sometimes Yes Under 70
Uruguay £325 - £800
($400 - $1000)
Preferred March Preferred No Yes None

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Living Costs

While the typical salary for TEFL teachers in Mexico isn’t great, the cost of living is low, meaning that even on a modest salary you can certainly get by. Full-time jobs are unlikely to offer accommodation but can help you find somewhere suitable to rent. Volunteer positions often come with free housing, and sometimes a modest monthly stipend is also provided. The cost of living in Mexico is cheaper than in 67% of countries in Latin America, and cheaper than in 79% of countries in the world. As such, even on a lower salary you can still enjoy an adventurous life in Mexico and spend your free time travelling and experiencing many of the most popular tourist attractions.

  • Accommodation: £371 – £694 / $509 – $952
  • Utilities: £38 / $52
  • Health insurance: Cost of typical visit to a GP: £19 / $26
  • Monthly transport pass: £19 / $27
  • Basic dinner out for two: £11 / $16
  • Cappuccino in expat area: £2.64 / $3.62
  • A beer in a pub: £1.41 / $1.94
  • 1 litre of milk: £0.77 / $1.05
  • 2 litres of Coca-Cola: £1.09 / $1.49

(living costs sourced from Expatistan)

Teacher Story

“Life in Mexico is also wonderful. I live in a beautifully colourful and relaxed city, close to the beach and surrounded by cenotes (clear water sink holes created by the meteor which killed the dinosaurs) and ancient Mayan ruins. Perhaps the best bit is it’s just a few hours drive from the Caribbean. Every day it’s warm and sunny and lovely and I have met some of the most amazing people in this surprisingly safe and friendly area of Mexico.

Everything that I’ve learned over the past couple of years has helped me to become more confident, knowledgeable and also more relaxed as an English teacher. There are more countries on my list to visit and in which I’d like to teach English. So I’m nowhere near ready to go back to the UK yet. TEFL really did open up doors for me and change my world and right now I couldn’t see myself doing anything else.”

Harriet, TEFL Org graduate teaching in Mexico

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