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How Much Do English Teachers Make in Mexico?
Learn how much money you can make as a TEFL-certified teacher in Mexico across various job types and explore recommended start-up costs and cost of living expenses.
Written By: Lynda Galea | Updated: November 19, 2021
Written By: Lynda Galea
Updated: November 19, 2021
In addition to offering a broad array of fantastic culture and history, diverse landscapes, dynamic cities, and thousands of miles of beautiful coastline, Mexico represents one of the largest job markets in the world for teaching English abroad. Its proximity to the USA and cheap flight prices make it a perfect option for TEFL-certified teachers wanting to teach English abroad but remain somewhat close to home.
In this article, we explore how much money you can make teaching English in Mexico and the expenses you will need to consider both in terms of start-up costs and your monthly cost of living.
Salaries for Teaching English in Mexico
There are several different teaching opportunities available for TEFL-certified teachers in Mexico and, unlike a majority of Latin America, Mexico offers a wide range of student groups from children and university students to adults and business professionals. ESL (English as a second language) teachers who ultimately spend time teaching English in Mexico do so via one of the following avenues:
- Teaching English at a language school or university while on a work or tourist visa;
- Teaching Business English to adults while on a work or tourist visa;
- Teaching English online or via private in-person tutoring while on a tourist visa;
- A combination of any of the above options.
Your salary will fluctuate depending on which teaching route you choose to pursue. On average, English teachers in Mexico can expect to make anywhere between $500 - $800 USD per month from working at a language school with the option to earn additional income through private tutoring ($7-15 USD per hour depending on your location) and teaching English online ($5-$20 USD per hour).
Let's explore each option and what you can expect to earn from them:
1. Mexico Language School Salaries
Teaching at private language schools and universities are amongst the most popular job types available for ESL teachers in Mexico. Pay will fluctuate depending on where you are located, with teachers in larger cities like Mexico City, León, and Guadalajara earning more than those teaching in smaller cities and towns like Oaxaca and Puerto Vallarta. English teachers working at a language school or university in Mexico can expect to make anywhere between $500 - $800 USD per month.
Work Visa for Teaching English in Mexico
While some teachers choose to teach on a tourist visa, it is common and routine for those teaching English in Mexico to be able to process a work visa, known as an FM3, that not only enables English teachers to work, but also provides other benefits like access to the national health care system.
The FM3 can be processed both from your home country (for those that secure employment remotely) or once in Mexico. If you plan to look for work on the ground while in-country, you will enter Mexico on a tourist visa and once you have secured a job, your employer will sponsor your FM3.
Additional Reading: How Can I Get a Work Visa to Teach English in Mexico?
2. Mexico Private English Tutoring Salaries
Private tutoring ESL students is one of the most common job types amongst English teachers in Mexico. Teachers that choose this route are often:
- Teaching English in Mexico at a language school or university and taking on some private tutoring students to help supplement their income;
- Teaching English online and seeking supplemental income by privately tutoring students in addition to their online teaching job.
Getting clients for private lessons is a marketing exercise, and all the avenues that seem appropriate to your circumstances have to be explored. Here are some ways you can market yourself:
- Post notices in schools and universities, coffee shops, supermarkets, or corner shops;
- Run an advertisement in the local paper;
- Send notices to local public schools, announcing your willingness to work with local students on their English;
- Compile a list of addresses of professionals (lawyers, architects, etc.) who may need English for their work and have the resources to pay for it and then contact them;
- Call on export businesses, distribution companies, perhaps even travel agencies;
- Get ESL business cards made before you leave your home country that has your name, email address, and phone number on them.
How much money can I make private tutoring ESL students in Mexico?
As a private ESL tutor in Mexico, you should expect to charge and make around $7-15 USD per hour. Your rates should reflect your location, with teachers in larger cities like Mexico City and Guadalajara being able to charge towards the higher end of that pay scale. If you are located in a smaller city or rural location, your rate of pay should be at the lower end of the pay range.
Something to keep in mind - a student may only be after a single private tutoring lesson, or a handful, and can withdraw from their lessons with you at any time. As a result, you should be cautious when trying to budget your private tutoring income too far into the future.
3. Mexico Teaching English Online Salaries
Like private ESL tutoring, teaching English online is an extremely popular way for teachers to make money. Many ESL teachers in Mexico teach online as their sole job and income, while others do it to supplement the income they earn from teaching at a school or university.
Teaching English online provides TEFL-certified teachers with the opportunity to make money from the comfort of their own home, with most teachers being able to make anywhere from $5-$20 USD per hour. Hours are flexible and it is up to you how much or how little you teach - you are in total control of your schedule.
If you are looking to ensure students are within your same timezone, check out these three online ESL schools based in Latin America:
- Beyond English - starting pay is $17 USD per hour taught for U.S. teachers
- Open English - earn up to $15 USD per hour
- Latin Hire - compensation varies depending on the total amount of hours you are available to work
A key advantage of teaching online is that you can begin teaching and making money before you move to Mexico. This is a great way to help cover the start-up costs of your move and will ensure that you have an income immediately upon your arrival to Mexico.
Additional Reading: To learn more about how much you can earn from online ESL teaching, please read How Much Money Can I Make Teaching English Online? Need help finding an online teaching platform? Check out Non-Chinese ESL Companies to Teach English Online With.
Expenses for Teaching English in Mexico
There are two categories of expenses that need to be taken into consideration for those looking to teach English in Mexico:
- Start-up costs
- Cost of living
Let's explore each of the two in more detail.
1. Start-Up Costs for Teaching English in Mexico
Start-up costs are expenses you will incur from your arrival in Mexico until you receive your first paycheck and may include things like a security deposit and first month's rent, apartment supplies, transport, groceries, getting your new local cell phone number set up, etc.
Start-up costs should be enough to cover your first month of living in Mexico and will range somewhere between $1,300 and $1,800 USD (this includes a $400 work visa fee). This is the minimum amount of savings you should have on hand before leaving home and arriving in Mexico. If you have more, great, but if you have less, you may be setting yourself up for failure from the get-go which can cause unnecessary added stress during an already stressful period of adaption and change.
2. Cost of Living for Teaching English in Mexico
Cost of living refers to everyday monthly expenses you will incur during your time in Mexico. The most popular expenses that fall under this category include:
- Monthly rent expenses
- Utilities (electricity, gas, water bills, etc)
- Food and grocery expenses
- Health insurance
- Internet bill
- Cell phone bill
- Transportation (transit card, ride-sharing services, etc)
- Travel/entertainment expenses
Your cost of living expenses can vary drastically based on where in Mexico you are based. For example, those living in larger cities like Mexico City and Guadalajara can expect to have a higher cost of living compared to those located in smaller cities or towns. As a general rule of thumb, you should budget $500 - $800 USD per month to cover your cost of living.
Mexico is very much a break-even country, meaning you can cover your rent and bills, support yourself, live comfortably, and enjoy your life abroad to the fullest, but you shouldn't expect to save money at the end of each month. If you are hustling and taking on private tutoring lessons and/or teaching English online in addition to your regular teaching schedule, you may increase your ability to save and come out on top at the end of each month.
Cost of Living Comparisons Across Cities in Mexico
To provide a clearer picture of what the monthly cost of living across various cities in Mexico may look like, here are the expense breakdowns of some of our International TEFL Academy (ITA) alumni that have lived in or are currently living and teaching English in Mexico.
Please note: These snapshots should be used as an example and not an exact representation of what your expenses will look like. Everyone lives a different lifestyle and what is a necessity to one person, may not be to another.
Tulum, Mexico Cost of Living
This monthly expense breakdown comes from ITA alumnus, Zach Kukla. Zach teaches at a private language school in Tulum.
Bonus: Want to check out what a day in Zach's life is like teaching English in Tulum? Watch his video.
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico Cost of Living
This monthly expense breakdown comes from ITA alumna, Alex Wilson. Alex teaches English online for two schools that are based outside of Mexico in Costa Rica.
Bonus: Want to check out what a day in Alex's life was like teaching English in Puerto Vallarta?Watch her video.
Mexico City, Mexico Cost of Living
This monthly expense breakdown comes from ITA alumnus, Garrett Bjork. Garrett teaches exclusively online with Open English.
Bonus: Want to check out what a day in Garrett's life looks like teaching English in Mexico City?Watch his video
Colima, Mexico Cost of Living
This monthly expense breakdown comes from ITA alumna, Fallon Mahwinney. Fallon was teaching English online exclusively with VIPKID before they had to cease their operations within the young learner market in China.
Bonus: Want to check out what a day in Fallon's life looked like teaching English in Colima? Watch her video.
Querétaro, Mexico Cost of Living
This monthly expense breakdown comes from ITA alumna, Ashleigh Hatcher. Ashleigh taught English at a private language school.
Bonus: Want to check out what a day in Ashleigh's life looked like teaching English in Querétaro?Watch her video.
An accomplished traveler (she's visited 40 countries!), Lynda hails from Melbourne, Australia. Since she joined ITA in 2017, Lynda has become a primary expert on the field of teaching English online. Not only has she published numerous articles on the topic herself, but she has worked with International TEFL Academy alumni around the world to produce an entire library of information and content about teaching English online. Lynda also serves as a primary organizer of ITA's ground-breaking Teach Abroad Film Festival.
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