With a population of 128 million and an economy heavily dependent on tourism and trade with countries like the U.S., Mexico offers one of the largest job markets in Latin America for TEFL-certified teachers. With its proximity to the U.S., many American ESL teachers enjoy that it is only a short and cheap flight away from home, affording them the convenience of traveling to and from as they please. However, convenience isn’t all Mexico has to offer. Throw in fantastic history and culture, a low cost of living, a warm climate, delicious cuisine, and a laid-back lifestyle, and it’s not hard to see why so many ESL teachers make Mexico their home away from home.
How Do I Become an English Teacher in Mexico?
To get a job teaching English in Mexico, you must follow a number of steps, including researching your options, getting a TEFL certificate, preparing for your move overseas, getting a work visa, and applying for English teaching jobs.
How to Apply as an English Teacher in Mexico in 2023
Now, let’s take a detailed look at the following 6 steps to help you teach English in Mexico:
1. Call an Advisor and Begin Your Research
Not sure where to begin? Request a copy of our free Teaching English in Mexico ebook or give us a call at 773-634-9900 to speak with an ITA expert advisor to discuss your options and questions. All of our Admissions Advisors at ITA have spent time living, traveling, and teaching abroad, and they understand the rewards and challenges of living and working in a foreign country. They will work with you throughout your research. They will answer questions on up-to-date teaching market information, hiring procedures and timelines, average salary and living costs, TEFL certification options, education requirements, visa eligibility, and more.
If you have already been assigned to an advisor, send them an email or give them a call to set up a time to talk.
To learn more about teaching English in Mexico specifically, check out the following resources:
Additionally, check out the Mexico section of our blog and video library where you can discover hundreds of FAQs, Q&As, articles, and day-in-the-life alumni videos giving you a firsthand glimpse into what life teaching English in Mexico could look like for you!
2. Enroll in a TEFL Course
Successfully completing a TEFL certification course will provide you with the skills and qualifications needed to teach English in Mexico. This certification is a recognized qualification that thousands of schools and institutes, not only in Mexico but also worldwide, seek and require when hiring new English teachers. Even if you are a certified or experienced teacher, unless you have a degree in TESOL, you will still want to get TEFL certified.
Because many schools in Mexico conduct on-the-ground, in-person interviews, most Americans and Canadians take our 170-hour online TEFL course or our in-person TEFL course in Guadalajara, Mexico. Both courses are excellent options that cater to different learning preferences and timelines. So let’s take a closer look at the two:
- 170-hour Online TEFL Course
- Part-time: This course spans 11 weeks offering you the flexibility to get TEFL certified while working or going to school full-time.
- 20 Hours of Hands-On Live Practice Teaching: This course includes a mandatory live practice teaching component that you will be expected to complete to fully prepare you for the classroom.
- One-on-one lifetime job search assistance is guaranteed whether you just graduated or are looking for a teaching position a few years down the road.
- The online TEFL class is the most cost-effective way to earn your TEFL certification.
- Guadalajara, Mexico In-Person TEFL Course
- Full-Time: This course spans 4 weeks (40+ hours a week) with required class time typically being anywhere from 6-8 hours each day.
- Classes are capped at 12 students.
- Hands-On Live Practice Teaching: This course includes a mandatory live practice teaching component with local ESL students.
- Spend 4 weeks in one of Mexico’s most vibrant and historic cities.
- Receive job search guidance in Mexico and one-on-one job search guidance for life!
Looking for other TEFL certification options? Check out ITA’s complete index of online and in-person TEFL courses around the world.
3. Prepare for Your Job Search & Make Travel Arrangements
ITA’s Student Affairs team will help you conduct your job search successfully, showing you everything you need to do and know to become an English teacher in Mexico. You will be teamed up with your own personal Student Affairs Advisor that can help you with:
- Preparing your resume and cover letter;
- Resources to connect you with recruiters, job listings, and recommended schools in Mexico looking to hire;
- Visa information, processes, and much, much more.
Most schools in Mexico conduct face-to-face interviews, meaning you will need to be on the ground and in Mexico to apply and interview for jobs. Although rare, some schools will interview in advance over Zoom.
If you plan to find work in person in Mexico, make any necessary travel arrangements including flight and accommodation, and enter Mexico on a tourist visa.
Learn more about International TEFL Academy’s lifetime Job Search Guidance.
4. Apply for Positions and Interview
ESL teachers in Mexico can expect to find jobs year-round (though major holiday periods like Christmas & Easter will be slow).
The most common teaching jobs in Mexico consist of teaching adults or children in English language schools or teaching Business English to adults. Many ESL teachers also teach English online or take on private students to supplement their income.
While there are some opportunities to interview in advance via Zoom or email, most English teachers in Mexico interview on the ground, in person.
Remember to keep your options open. If you have the opportunity, interview at a handful of different schools and compare the offers you receive to see which school best fits you and provides the best benefits. As part of ITA’s lifetime job search guidance, our Students Affairs team can review your contract to ensure it is fair and in line with pay averages based on where you plan to teach English within Mexico.
5. Sign a Contract and Make Visa Arrangements
Once you’ve accepted a job offer and signed your contract, you must file documents to receive your work visa. To teach English in Mexico, you will require a work visa known as an FM3. This visa not only enables English teachers to work, but also provides other benefits like access to the national health care system. Two scenarios can play out here:
- The visa can be processed in your home country if you secure employment in advance.
- Most people enter Mexico on a tourist visa and find a job on the ground. In this case, you will apply for your work visa in Mexico. Once you are cleared for an FM3 visa, you must leave to pick up your visa from a Mexican consulate outside of Mexico. Many teachers go to the consulate in San Antonio, Texas, but other options in surrounding countries like Guatemala or Belize are also options.
- You will have 15 days to pick up your visa, or you must start the entire process all over again.
- You have 30 days to return to Mexico after picking up your visa.
An FM3 visa is valid for 12 months but can be renewed easily in Mexico. If a teacher renews their FM3 visa three times, they are granted residency in Mexico.
For a detailed breakdown of the FM3 visa process for Mexico, including all the documents needed, please read How Can I Get a Work Visa to Teach English in Mexico?
6. Begin Your New Job!
While it may seem like the adventure has already begun, that was just the beginning! You’re about to put all that training into action and help change lives! Congrats and best of luck with your English teaching job in Mexico.