Let's Teach English

Does Age Matter When Teaching English Abroad?

Teaching English abroad is an excellent job if you love traveling, exploring new places, meeting new people while helping the locals out. Yet many candidates worry that they will face an age restriction to become ESL teachers.

Are You Too Young For ESL Jobs?

The minimum age requirement for TEFL and CELTA courses is usually 18 years old. Most English schools abroad want their teachers to be at least 21 years old, however, with an additional credential like a college degree. But it doesn’t mean that young people cannot do it!  

If you’re 18, 19 or 20, you can still get an ESL teaching job in places like Latin American countries. You just need to behave professionally for people to take you seriously. Volunteer programs, summer camps, and tutor projects, on the other hand, may not be as restrictive of how old you must be. Your TEFL certification doesn’t expire, so it’s wise to get certified early in case an opportunity opens up later on.

How Old Is Too Old To Teach English Abroad?

Being an older applicant can actually be advantageous since many schools are eager to hire candidates with a level of maturity in life and professional experiences. However, there are certain concerns over health issues and higher costs of an older ESL teacher. Health insurance skyrockets for people over 60 years old. And while younger candidates are willing to do odd shifts for a livable but modest salary, older candidates probably want more.

Older ESL candidates should watch out for rules surrounding age limits in the particular region they are heading to. For example, many Asian countries have a compulsory retirement age of 55, 60 or 65. Most Middle Eastern countries require new employees to be under 60 years old. Meanwhile, Latin America seems much more flexible.

The schools may also have specific age restrictions for teaching English overseas or mandatory cut-off age, depending on their preferences and the characteristics of their target students. It’s best to openly ask the particular school or program you are applying for.

Besides showcasing wisdom and experiences, older ESL teachers must be able to demonstrate physical fitness as well as sufficient energy to do the job. If their manner and attitude are young enough, they can easily adjust to new situations and handle teaching English abroad well.

Go For It, Don’t Worry About Age!

Overall, age shouldn’t matter if you are enthusiastic and truly serious about teaching English abroad. Go wherever the market appreciates what you have to offer! Frankly, being an ESL teacher requires lots of energy, patience, and optimism, not to mention an open-minded attitude to constantly adjust to new things. Thus, it can be very overwhelming at first. But if you’re up for the challenge, you can even create an opportunity for yourself such as doing private lessons, opening classes, or starting your own independent online English teaching business.

Are you a younger or older teacher? Has it been challenging for you to find an ESL job? Join our Teach English Abroad Jobs Facebook group to start the conversation. We may be able to help!