Speaking English is an absolute requirement for Mexican citizens who wish to advance in a professional field. Because of close ties with the United States, many Mexican companies conduct a certain amount of their business in English. So, if you've decided to teach English in Mexico for a living, you can rest assured that you've chosen a profession that's high in demand.
If you choose to teach English in Mexico you'll have the chance to experience firsthand the rich Mexican culture. Teachers are generally expected to live in the country for at least a year, and many choose to stay beyond that because Mexico is a truly beautiful place to live. Whether you're teaching in a major metropolitan area or a small rural city, you'll find the Mexican experience uniquely enlightening and enriching.
In order to teach English in Mexico, you must be certified in TEFL or CELTA. These certifications qualify native English speakers to teach in a classroom setting. Getting certified is fairly easy- most colleges and learning centers offer short-term programs that can earn you your certificate in a matter of months.
Most importantly, you will be required to get a work permit in order to work in Mexico. It's vital to make sure your immigration papers are in order, because working illegally in Mexico leaves you open to deportation. Keep in mind that most Mexican work passes are good for only up to six months; at that point, you will most likely have to cross back into the US. Even entering the US for a matter of hours will reset your pass, and you'll be able to re-enter for another six months.
Application requirements in Mexico are sometimes inconsistent, and it's best to be over-prepared. Arrive with all possible paperwork in hand- bring your birth certificate, college transcripts, reference letters, and anything else you might possibly need. It's difficult to predict what you'll be asked for, and you'll want to spare yourself the expense and trouble of having to return home for something you didn't bring.
Finding a job
Those who plan to teach in Mexico should not plan on being hired before they arrive. Although in other countries you can often find a job before you head over, this is not common in Mexico. Your best bet is to research possible employment before you leave, and then get ready to interview once you arrive in Mexico.
Most English teachers in Mexico are employed by schools. English is taught from elementary school on up through college, and native English speakers are always in high demand as teachers. However, you do have other options. Some companies will hire English teachers to train their employees in English communication. There are also numerous private language institutions that hold English classes, which any citizen can attend.
Depending on what type of teaching you wish to do, you may want to centralize your job search around a particular area. Mexico City and other large metro areas are the easiest places to find English teaching jobs. This is also where you're most likely to find good pay, decent hours, and acceptable housing.
There is honestly no real shortcut when it comes to finding a teaching job in Mexico. There are plenty of jobs available, but information is sometimes unreliable and you won't really know what you're getting into until you actually arrive at the location and apply for the job. This is another reason why finding a job before you get to Mexico just isn't feasible. So prepare yourself to do some legwork once you arrive.
Teaching English in Mexico is a real challenge, and you should be prepared for some obstacles. If you can secure yourself a good job, if you have a sense of adventure and aren't afraid of some new experiences, it can be an amazing time. Our best advice is to arrive prepared... and don't give up!
By Michelle Simmons