How does living in one of the world’s most popular holiday destinations sound? Picture palm-fringed beaches, ancient jungle ruins, colourful coral reefs, vibrant festivals and, of course, delicious authentic Mexican cuisine. If you choose to teach English in Mexico, you’ll have all of this and more on your doorstep. And, while Mexico might not be the most lucrative place to teach English abroad – at least in comparison to high salary countries like Japan and China – the great lifestyle, proximity to North America, South America and the Caribbean, as well as friendly locals make it an incredible place to live, work and use as a base for travelling.
English is the most commonly taught foreign language in Mexico. There are an estimated 24 million English students in the country, but with only 5% of the population speaking English at a high fluency level, there are endless opportunities for both new and experienced TEFL teachers. From young learners to business English students and those hoping to boost their chances of gaining legal employment across the border in the USA, no matter what kind of teaching position you are looking for, you’re guaranteed to find it in Mexico.
To teach English in Mexico, you will usually need a TEFL certificate and a bachelor’s degree as a minimum. The average salary for teaching in Mexico is £300–£730 ($400–$1,000) per month.
Take a look below at some of the key facts you should know before teaching English in Mexico.
- Popular locations for TEFL jobs include Mexico City, Monterrey, Nezahualcóyotl, Tijuana, Cancún, and Queretaro.
- Salaries will vary between cities and employers, however, TEFL teachers can expect a basic monthly salary for a full-time position to be in the region of 8,000 – 20,000 pesos (£300 – £730/ $400 – $1,000) per month. For freelance or hourly work, the usual pay is 45-120 pesos (£1.60 – £4 / $2 – $6) per hour up to 250 pesos (£9 / $12) for a private lesson.
- A bachelor’s degree is not a legal requirement to teach in Mexico. However, it is often a requirement from employers themselves.
- A minimum of a 120-hour TEFL certification will be required for most teaching positions.
- Previous teaching experience is not a requirement but will give you access to more opportunities, particularly if you’ve taught business English before.
- There is no age limit for teaching English in Mexico
- Opportunities for teaching in Mexico include positions at public schools, private schools and universities, teaching at elementary schools, teaching adults business English, private tutoring and volunteering.
- The school year in Mexico starts in mid-August and ends in mid-July. It’s possible to find work year-round but peak hiring usually happens in August and then again in December/January.
- You’ll be paid in Peso (MXN $), Mexico’s official currency.
- Spanish is the most widely spoken language in Mexico, spoken by 90% of the population.
One thing that makes Mexico such a popular teaching English abroad destination is the relatively relaxed set of requirements for teaching in the country. Compared to some places in Europe and Asia, it’s much easier to get a job and a work visa in Mexico. This is especially true for those without a degree or previous teaching experience, as well as older teachers and non-native speakers.
Let’s take a look at exactly what you do and don’t need to get a job teaching English in Mexico:
You must have:
- A TEFL certificate
You do not necessarily need:
- A degree
- Prior teaching experience
- To be a native English speaker
- To be under the age of 35
- To have a certain amount of money saved (but making sure you enough for start-up costs is highly advisable)
Remember that the requirement for a TEFL certification is only to receive an FM3 visa. Many schools and employers will have their own set of requirements on top of this.
You might not need a degree or any previous experience to teach English in Mexico but one thing you will always need is a TEFL qualification. Teachers are required to be TEFL certified to receive an FM3 visa, which you need to live and work legally in the country as a foreign teacher.
There are a huge number of TEFL courses on the internet but remember that most schools in Mexico will look for those with TEFL certificates from a 120-hour TEFL course as a minimum. For those who don’t hold a degree or teaching qualification from their home country, it’s worth considering a longer TEFL course or a more advanced certification. This can help your CV to get to the top of the pile and find better-paying teaching jobs in Mexico.
Teaching English in Mexico without a degree
Want to teach English in Mexico but don’t have a degree? No problem! Mexico is one of the most popular TEFL destinations for this very reason. There is no legal requirement to have a university degree before teaching in Mexico and it won’t affect your chance of getting an FM3 work visa. However, many schools and employers do prefer to hire ESL teachers with bachelor’s degrees, meaning you might have to work harder to make your application stand out.
An advanced TEFL course is a great way to give your CV a boost for those without a university degree or any previous teaching experience.
Teaching English in Mexico Without Experience
Are you a new TEFL teacher considering a move to teach English in Mexico? Great choice! Many of the teachers who arrive in Mexico have just received their TEFL certification. With a huge demand for English teachers and a large number of available teaching jobs in the country, Mexico has great opportunities for first-time teachers and those just starting their teaching career.
While those who do have previous teaching experience are more likely to get higher-paying English teaching jobs at the best private language schools in the country, there are plenty of fantastic opportunities for those just setting out on their teach abroad journey.
Visa for teaching in Mexico
As mentioned earlier, to legally teach English in Mexico, you will need what is known as the FM3 work visa. These are relatively easy to obtain once you have received an offer of employment from your school.
Most ESL teachers will arrive in Mexico on a 180-day tourist visa, secure a job and then apply for their work visa. It’s worth knowing that, unlike some other teach abroad destinations, you’re often expected to do the legwork and cover the fees for your work visa in Mexico. This isn’t always the case – the top international schools will usually provide support for their teachers – but making sure your start-up funds have enough to cover any visa-related fees is a good idea.
The visa process itself isn’t usually too taxing. After receiving a job offer, you’ll get an official letter from your school. You can then apply for the visa, pay the fees and submit all of the required paperwork, which will usually include:
- A copy of your passport
- Your tourist visa (if you are already in Mexico)
- Proof of residence in Mexico
- A legalised copy of your TEFL certification
- Passport photos
Visas usually take around 5 – 10 days to process, following which you have 30 days to enter Mexico.
Teach English in Mexico: Salary and Cost of Living
There are few countries in the world that are more exciting to live in as an English teacher than Mexico. You’ll get to sample amazing food, a fascinating culture, see the ancient ruins of the Mayans and the Aztecs, and visit some of the best beaches the Caribbean and Latin America have to offer. But exactly how much can English teachers make in Mexico? And how much are you likely to spend living in the country?
While a typical teaching job at a Mexican school isn’t going to see you bringing in the big bucks, the cost of living is incredibly low. This means that even new ESL teachers on a modest salary can get by and enjoy the exciting lifestyle this country has to offer.
Take a look at salaries and living costs in more detail below.
How much can you make teaching in Mexico?
Interested in teaching English in Mexico but wondering how much you might be able to earn? While it’s true that salaries can vary greatly between different schools, employers and locations, most ESL teachers will receive a basic, monthly salary in the region of 8,000 – 20,000 pesos (£300 – £730/ $400 – $1,000) for a full-time job.
As an ESL teacher in Mexico, you’ll also have the chance to boost your monthly salary with freelance work. Almost all teachers in the country end up offering lessons outside of their main teaching jobs – whether that’s a quick lesson with a neighbour at lunchtime or providing business English classes to adults in the evenings. For freelance or hourly work, the usual rate is 45-120 pesos (£1.60 – £4 / $2 – $6) per hour up to 250 pesos (£9 / $12) for private English lessons.
How much does it cost to live in Mexico?
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 relatively low teaching 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.
Of course, where you live in Mexico will have an impact on your monthly expenses. For example, ESL teachers with their hearts set on working in the major cities – like Mexico City or Guadalajara – will find their daily expenses are much higher than those who live and work in one of the country’s smaller towns or rural locations.
Take a glance at the table below for a few examples of daily living expenses in Mexico:
|Country||Avg. monthly salary||Degree required||Start of term||Teaching experience||Housing & flights included||Suitable for non-native English speakers||Age restrictions|
|Teach in Mexico||£400 - £800
($500 - $1,000)
|MXN ($)||USD ($)||GBP (£)|
|Inexpensive restaurant meal||150||7.37||5.96|
|Domestic beer (0.5 litre)||40.00||1.96||1.59|
|Water (0.33 litre)||13.00||0.64||0.52|
|MXN ($)||USD ($)||GBP (£)|
|Regular milk (1 litre)||21.87||1.07||0.87|
|Loaf of white bread||34.71||1.70||1.38|
|Regular eggs (1 dozen)||31.99||1.57||1.06|
|Apples (1 kg)||47.73||2.34||1.90|
|MXN ($)||USD ($)||GBP (£)|
|One-way ticket (local transport)||10.00||0.49||0.40|
|Monthly pass (regular price)||350.00||17.19||13.90|
|Taxi start (normal tariff)||40.00||1.96||1.59|
|Gasoline (1 litre)||22.15||1.09||0.88|
|MXN ($)||USD ($)||GBP (£)|
|Electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage (for a regular apartment)||993.86||48.82||39.48|
|Regular prepaid mobile tariff (per minute, local without discounts)||1.32||0.06||0.05|
|Internet (60 Mbps, unlimited data, cable/ADSL)||525.35||25.80||20.87|
|Clothing and shoes||Cost|
|MXN ($)||USD ($)||GBP (£)|
|Pair of jeans (Levis 501 or something similar)||841.16||41.32||33.41|
|Summer dress in a chain store||648.54||31.85||25.76|
|Nike running sxhoes (mid-range)||1,459.34||71.68||57.97|
|Men’s leather business shoes||1,292.07||63.46||51.32|
(Source: Cost of Living)
Before setting off on an adventure teaching English in Mexico, it’s worth weighing up your priorities. You won’t struggle to pay rent, eat delicious Mexican food or travel domestically. But, don’t expect there to be much money left at the end of each month. If you’re hoping to save a large amount while teaching, Mexico might not be the right teach abroad destination for you.
What benefits do employers in Mexico offer teachers?
Teaching jobs in Mexico are generally less likely to come with extra benefits than those in Asian countries. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t some schools willing to sweeten teaching jobs with some extra perks! You’re more likely to receive these if you work at one of the well-known international schools. They will often help teachers with their visa costs, provide private medical coverage and even include round-trip flights to their home country if they agreed to extend their contract.
However, even an ESL job in a good school is unlikely to come with free accommodation. But most schools will at least help their teachers to find somewhere suitable to rent.
Benefits will vary greatly between employers and locations, and those who are certified teachers in their home country or have some experience will find themselves better placed to negotiate extra perks.
English Teaching Jobs in Mexico
With such a huge demand for English teachers across the country, it usually isn’t too hard to find ESL teaching jobs in Mexico. But what is the education system like in Mexico? And what kind of school might you end up working at?
Mexico has a high literacy rate and many good schools, with some of its private business schools and language schools standing out in international rankings. The country has more than 150 international schools where lessons are taught partly or wholly in English, making these a great choice for English teachers.
Take a look below at some of the different teaching opportunities available in Mexico:
English Teaching Programmes in Mexico
While there is no official government-backed teaching programme, type ‘teach English Mexico’ into any search engine and you’ll be inundated with results from programme providers. These vary greatly, with some providing initial help to secure a placement and little else, to those that will continue to support their teachers throughout their entire teaching English in Mexico experience.
For brand new TEFL teachers or those who have never travelled abroad before, an English teaching programme can be a great, stress-free choice. But they’re by no means the only option. Read on to find out about other types of TEFL Jobs in Mexico.
Teaching English in Mexico City
One of the most popular places to teach English in Mexico is in Mexico City – the country’s sprawling capital. Home to some 25 million people, Mexico City is one of the largest metropolises in the world, which can sometimes make the crowds, traffic and noise overwhelming for those visiting for the first time.
If you can get past the initial culture shock, you’ll discover a city filled with friendly locals, a thriving expat scene and seemingly endless places to eat, drink and unwind. You’ll never run out of tourist attractions to visit on your time off from school either – Mexico City is packed with historic sites and museums. And, if the busy streets get too much, you can always escape the city with a day trip to see some of the nearby ruins, pyramids and national parks.
Job-wise, Mexico City has the largest number of schools and therefore the biggest number of available teaching positions in the country. However, teaching jobs at Mexico City’s top international schools can be highly competitive, even for those with some experience. New TEFL teachers and those looking for a slower pace of life may want to consider looking for teaching jobs in some of Mexico’s other incredible cities, towns or villages.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How much can you make teaching English in Mexico?
How much you can make teaching English in Mexico will depend on what city you work in and your employer. However, as a guide, most ESL teachers will make around 8,000 – 20,000 pesos (£300 – £730/ $400 – $1,000) per month in a full-time position. For freelance or hourly work, teachers can charge 45-120 pesos (£1.60 – £4 / $2 – $6) per hour up to 250 pesos (£9 / $12) for private lessons.
Q. Can I teach English in Mexico without a degree?
In short, yes! As there is no legal requirement to hold a degree to teach English in Mexico, it is possible. However, many employers will themselves prefer TEFL teachers who have a degree, meaning those without may have to work a little harder to find a position.
Q. Is there a demand for TEFL teachers in Mexico?
There’s a huge demand for English teachers in Mexico, with a particular focus on those wanting to learn business English and improve their chances of living and working across the border in the USA.
Q. Do you need a visa to teach English in Mexico?
To legally work as an ESL teacher in Mexico you will need a work visa, also known as an FM3. Most teachers will come to Mexico on a tourist visa, receive a job offer and then apply for a work visa. A degree is not required but you must have a TEFL certification and proof of employment from your school.