|Salary range (USD/month)
|Mexico City, Chiapas
|$800 – $1500
The level of demand for native speakers in Mexico is very high.
Unfortunately, TEFL salaries are relatively low and despite reasonably low living costs you certainly won’t be able to save much, if at all. As in most Latin American countries, the students are lively and sociable and therefore a pleasure to teach.
There is a high turnover of staff at many language centers which says a great deal about the pros and cons. Employers can be unreliable and have unreasonable demands such as the common one that you are effectively ‘on-call’ from 8 am to 8 pm or similar. You are rarely paid for traveling from one location or class to another and this can take up a significant chunk of your daily schedule. There are lots of other native speakers looking for short-term employment but many leave after just a few months due to the poor pay and the fact that many private students cancel at short notice (and therefore don’t pay you). If you are experienced and hard-working then you may be lucky to find one of the few well-paid positions, such as those at bilingual schools.
For the majority, however, teaching English in Mexico is a fun experience for a short period of time but certainly not a serious career option.
Typical Requirements and Tips
A CELTA or TEFL certificate is not strictly necessary, but you will find that if you have one you are eligible for better jobs and better pay. You’ll also be a more confident teacher.
Given the low salaries, you may need to supplement your income with extra, private one-to-one tuition. Contacts are essential and found via word of mouth and through local adverts and websites.
American and Canadian teachers may be at a slight advantage.
Your employer is responsible for obtaining your work permit (FM3 visa). However, in reality, many work illegally. Despite the flexibility this allows, this is not recommended for obvious reasons. Mexican bureaucracy can drive even the most patient person insane and you should expect to have original documentation translated into Spanish in order to process your work visa. Most teachers arrive on a tourist visa because finding work before you arrive is very rare.
The cost of living is low but you will probably have to share accommodation with another teacher at first.
Pros of Teaching in Mexico
- High demand
- Overall, fantastic and sociable students
- There are plenty of other teachers in Mexico so you should have a good social network with both foreigners and locals alike
Cons of Teaching in Mexico
- Generally, low pay and many employers are reluctant to offer proper, full-time contracts
- Teachers are usually expected to work split shifts and spend a lot of time traveling (which is unpaid)
- It is very difficult to find work unless you are already in the country