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Teaching English in Mexico City: How to Get Started

Found yourself in Mexico City and need a job? For many expats, teaching English in Mexico is a great way to pay the bills. Here’s a couple things to know:

Found yourself in Mexico City and need a job? For many expats, teaching English is a great way to pay the bills.

But before you get started, there’s a couple things you need to know:

Do I need to get certified?

Yes, probably. Almost all English teaching jobs in Mexico City are going to require a Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) or Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) certification (TEFL and TESOL are virtually the same thing).

The most popular and most prestigious certification is the Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, or the CELTA, moderated by the University of Cambridge. There are plenty of spots in Mexico City to get certified, too. A few of the most popular spots are International House, the Anglo, or the British Council.

Make sure to check out which has a session that fits with your schedule. Pro-tip: compare CELTA course prices in Mexico City to courses where you live now. You may save yourself quite a bit of money by taking it in Mexico!

But I don’t want to get certified!

Okay, then don’t! I get it -- the CELTA certification is expensive and time-consuming. You may not be able to get a job at the city’s top universities, but options still exist for you. When I, an American expat, arrived in the city six months ago, I found myself scrambling for an easy way to make cash. Luckily, my journalism background transferred over well into teaching private lessons.

The only caveat: many professionals will be looking for certified teachers. My current gig is more informal and only works as a part-time method to make ends meet. I’m also not able to charge as much as a professional teacher.Other options for those lacking a formal teaching background include working as an English-speaking nanny or as English teaching assistants.

Formal teaching opportunities

So, you took the CELTA course and you have your certification -- now what? It’s time for you to get a job! If you took your CELTA course in Mexico City, many teaching centers that offer CELTA courses will also offer employment (or offer to help you find employment elsewhere) after the class.

Here are a few of your options:

Mexico City is huge, and sometimes it may feel like every expat you know is an English teacher. While many do offer lessons on their own, they’re not all certified -- getting a certification only means better chances for you at getting a formal, better-paying job. Early-career teaching jobs can bring in between 18,000 and 25,000 pesos a month.

If you’re looking for a more flexible option instead of formal classes, think about private lessons! Plenty of businesses and business people in Mexico are constantly looking to improve their English, so there’s always demand. Teachers I know who offer private lessons can charge anywhere from 300 to 500 pesos an hour, usually depending on class size.

Many English teachers will also turn to Facebook groups like Foreigners in the City (Mexico City) and English Teaching Job Listings in Mexico (TEFL | TESOL | ESL) to find jobs or tutoring gigs. If you want to know more about one English teacher’s experience living and working in Mexico City, check out a Q&A with her here.

Teaching online

Lastly, many teachers turn to the internet to supplement their income. A quick Google search turns up online options that can pay upward of $30 an hour, which can go a long way in Mexico City. Furthermore, you can set your hours to fit your schedule. It’s a win-win!

While the work upfront may be daunting, it’s a worthwhile investment to become an English teacher. Pay for English teachers in Mexico City is competitive with the cost of living, and is a fun way to experience a new culture.

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