Are there age restrictions for TEFL?

Am I too old to TEFL? Am I too young to TEFL? We’re here to answer your age-related TEFL questions!

There are no strict age limits for TEFL but that’s not to say there aren’t some things you should be aware of if you’re an especially young or a more mature aspiring EFL teacher. For any teaching position, regardless of your age or experience, you’ll need a TEFL qualification from an accredited, internationally recognised provider.

Am I too old to TEFL?

You’re never too old to TEFL! We’ve trained teachers of all ages – take Diane, for example, who completed her training just before turning 62 and went on to teach in Germany.

You might be under the impression that TEFL is a young person’s game, and while it’s true that our courses are popular with 20 and 30-somethings, the fact is we’ve trained teachers of all ages who’ve gone on to work across the globe. For the most part, it’s only if you’re over 50 and looking to teach in specific parts of the world where you may come across challenges based on your age.

There are some countries in Asia such as South Korea, China, and Japan where it can be difficult to find work if you’re over 55/60 – this is because in certain countries there are strict retirement rules and because of this employers aren’t allowed to sponsor work visas for teachers who are above the local retirement age. Asia can be more challenging for older teachers, so bear this in mind. Make sure to look into retirement ages and, as always, research visa requirements! This way you’ll be able to determine where you are able to teach and focus your job search only in places where you’re eligible.

Yes, there can be age discrimination in the EFL jobs market – whether it’s legal or not – so if you’re over 50 then be prepared to be more persistent in your job hunt than someone in their 20s would have to be. It might take you a little longer to find work, but as long as you’re TEFL qualified and focusing your search on countries where you’re legally able to teach then you will be able to find work!

The advantages of being an older EFL teacher

Your life and professional experience (whether teaching-related or not) are real assets, so make sure to sell them! You might be new to teaching, but you likely have a whole range of skills and experience you can tap into in the classroom.

Consider your work history and whether you can use that to specialise within the TEFL industry. Business English is a popular specialist area (and one where older teachers are often preferred) and finding your niche can help you to stand out and, potentially, earn more. If you have direct experience in the same industry as prospective students then you’ll be a much more attractive hire.

A teacher standing in front of a classroom of adult students

Does age discrimination exist?

Unfortunately, there can be age discrimination in the TEFL industry. While many countries do have laws tackling ageism bias does still exist, and you may come across adverts for jobs looking for teachers in their 20s or 30s.

You’re more likely to see a preference for younger teachers for roles working with young learners. It’s much less of an issue for jobs that involve teaching older teenagers and adults. However, if teaching young learners is what you want to do don’t let this hold you back! TEFL Org graduates, Yvonne and Louise, have both found work they love teaching English online to kids.

Where can older teachers find work?

As we’ve mentioned, Asia can be more challenging for teachers over 55/60, but that’s not to say there aren’t opportunities there. While some countries have visa restrictions that prevent teachers of a certain age from getting a work permit, there are still plenty of options all over the world. See below to see the requirements for dozens of countries across the globe.

Country Avg. monthly salary Degree required Start of term Teaching experience Housing & flights included Suitable for non-native English speakers Age restrictions
Cambodia
Guide
£680 - £1,000
($900 - $1,300)
No November No No Yes Under 65
China
Guide
£1,000 – £2,000
($1,300 – $2,575)
Yes September No Yes Yes, if degree obtained from an English-speaking country Under 55
Hong Kong
Guide
£1,550 – £6,300
($2,000 – $8,380)
Yes August No Not usually Yes Under 60
India
Guide
£120 – £775
($150 – $1,000)
Yes April Yes No Yes None
Indonesia
Guide
£565 – £1,030
($745 – $1,355)
Yes July No Not usually No Under 60
Japan
Guide
£1,600 – £2,000
($2,100 – $2,675)
Yes April No Sometimes Yes Under 65
Kazakhstan
Guide
£360 – £470
($465 – $600)
Yes August Yes Yes Yes None
Malaysia
Guide
£550 – £1,450
($720 – $1,900)
Yes January Preferred Sometimes Yes Under 65
Myanmar
Guide
£600 – £1,500
($800 – $2,000)
Yes June Preferred Sometimes No Under 52
Mongolia
Guide
£630 – £1,000
($875 – $1,400)
Yes September Yes Sometimes Yes None
Nepal
Guide
Voluntary No April No Sometimes Yes None
South Korea
Guide
£1,280 – £1,600
($1,670 – $2,000)
Yes March No Yes No Under 62
Taiwan
Guide
£1,335 – £1,735
($1,700 – $2,220)
Yes September No Sometimes No Under 65
Thailand
Guide
£740 – £980
($1,000 – $1,280)
Yes May No Sometimes Yes None
Vietnam
Guide
£920 - £ 1,500
($1,200 to $2,000)
Yes August No No Yes Under 60
Country Avg. monthly salary Degree required Start of term Teaching experience Housing & flights included Suitable for non-native English speakers Age restrictions
Austria
Guide
£700 - £2,600
($850 - 3,200)
Preferred September Preferred No Yes None
Belgium
Guide
£1,455 - £1,780
($1,800 - $2,200)
Preferred September Preferred No Yes None
Czech Republic
Guide
£500 – £1,285
$600 – $1,450)
Preferred September Preferred No Yes None
Denmark
Guide
£2,900 - £3,900
($3,600 - $4,800)
Preferred September Preferred No Yes None
Estonia
Guide
£720 - £900
($920 - $1,150)
Preferred September Preferred Accommodation sometimes included Yes None
Finland
Guide
£700 - £3,050
($900 - $3,850)
Preferred August/September Preferred No Yes None
France
Guide
£926 – £1,852
($1,082 – $2,164)
Yes September Preferred No Yes None
Germany
Guide
£1,1123 - £1,872
($1,297 - $2,162)
Preferred August No No Yes None
Greece
Guide
£630 – £900
($790 – $1,100)
Yes September No No Yes None
Hungary
Guide
£390 - £650
($500 - $830)
Preferred August/September Preferred No Yes None
Italy
Guide
£1,054 – £1,229
($1,312 – $1,531)
Preferred September No No Yes None
Netherlands £1,300 - £2,600
($1,600 - $2,800)
Preferred September Yes No Yes None
Norway
Guide
£2,100 - £2,500
($2,580 - $3,090)
Preferred August/September Preferred No Yes None
Poland
Guide
£400 – £700
($480 – $850)
Yes September No Accommodation sometimes included Yes None
Portugal
Guide
£616 – £880
($756 – $1,080)
Yes September Preferred No Yes None
Romania
Guide
£200 - £460
($260 - 580)
Preferred September No Accommodation sometimes included Yes None
Russia
Guide
£800 - £1,300
($1,000 - $1,600)
Preferred September Preferred Sometimes Yes None
Slovakia
Guide
£330 - £900
($400 - $1,120)
Preferred September No No Yes None
Slovenia £550 - £950
($700 - $1,200)
Preferred October Preferred No Yes None
Spain
Guide
£614 - £1,317
($758 - $1,623)
Preferred September No No Yes None
Sweden
Guide
£1,100 - £2,400
($1,400 - $3,000)
Preferred September Preferred No Yes None
Switzerland
Guide
£1,850 - £2,475
($2,260 - $3,015)
Preferred August/September Preferred No Yes None
Turkey
Guide
£170 - £575
($220 - $730)
Yes September No Accommodation sometimes included Yes None
Ukraine
Guide
£215 - £920
($260 - $1,125)
Preferred September No Accommodation sometimes included Yes None
Country Avg. monthly salary Degree required Start of term Teaching experience Housing & flights included Suitable for non-native English speakers Age restrictions
Argentina
Guide
£500 - £950
($600 - $1,200)
No March Preferred No Yes None
Bolivia
Guide
£400 - £550
($500 - $700)
No February Preferred No Yes None
Brazil
Guide
£650 - £900
($800 - $1,100)
No February No No Yes None
Chile
Guide
£550 - £800
($700 - $1,000)
No March No No Yes None
Colombia
Guide
£400 - £800
($500 - $1,000)
No January/February No No Yes Under 62
Ecuador
Guide
£400 - £650
($500 - $800)
Preferred May Preferred No Yes None
Guatemala
Guide
£400 - £550
($500 - $700)
Preferred January No No Yes None
Mexico
Guide
£400 - £800
($500 - $1,000)
Preferred August No Sometimes Yes None
Peru
Guide
£325 - £650
($400 - $800)
Yes March Preferred Sometimes Yes Under 70
Uruguay
Guide
£325 - £800
($400 - $1000)
Preferred March Preferred No Yes None
Country Avg. monthly salary Degree required Start of term Teaching experience Housing & flights included Suitable for non-native English speakers Age restrictions
Algeria
Guide
£550 - £900
($700 - $1,100)
Yes March No No No None
Bahrain
Guide
£1,200 - £2,500
($1,500 - $3,000)
Yes January Yes Yes No Under 60
Egypt
Guide
£400 - £700
($500 - $900)
Yes September Preferred No No None
Jordan
Guide
£500 - £950
($600 - $1,100)
Preferred August No No Yes None
Kuwait
Guide
£1,200 - £2,000
($1,500 - $2,500)
Yes September Yes Yes Yes Under 60
Lebanon
Guide
£650 - £1,200
($800 - $1,500)
Preferred August No No Yes None
Morocco
Guide
£400 - £800
($500 - $1,000)
Yes September No No Yes None
Qatar
Guide
£1,200 - £2,800
($1,500 - $3,500)
Yes September Yes Yes No None
Saudi Arabia
Guide
£1,600 - £3,200
($2,000 - $4,000)
Yes August Yes Yes No Under 60
UAE £1,600 - £4,000
($2,000 - $5,000)
Yes August Yes Yes No Under 65

Top tips for older TEFL teachers

  • Manage expectations: unless you’re an experienced EFL teacher you shouldn’t expect to be earning a lot of money in your first TEFL job. Salaries in the TEFL industry are determined by teaching experience.
  • Be flexible and open about your destination
  • It can be more difficult to find work in Asia for older teachers (although not impossible!) while there are more opportunities in South America and Europe
  • Thoroughly research visa requirements and retirement ages
  • Persevere: don’t let rejections get you down, keep on sending out those applications!

Am I too young to TEFL?

Anyone from the age of 16 can take our courses, and it can be a great idea to get qualified and start building up experience from a young age. If you’re under 18 then, realistically, it’s unlikely you’ll find paid working teaching English but you may be able to start building up your teaching CV at this age by volunteering locally! Talk to your school and local organisations working with refugees and asylum seekers to explore opportunities.

What if you’re in the 18 to 20 age range? You can TEFL, but it’s important to be aware of a few factors. Firstly, unless you started university very young then it’s unlikely you’ll have a degree at this age. Most countries outside of Europe and South America require a degree for visa reasons, so without one these countries are ruled out for you. It’s always important to research the visa requirements for any country you’re interested in teaching in – this way you can find out if you’re ruled out due to age, education, or any other factors.

If you fall into this age bracket then we recommend looking into summer school work in Europe, teaching English online, considering jobs in South America, and volunteering, which will build up your experience and help you find a full-time position.

If you’re a student then be sure to take a look at our Guide to TEFL for Students for more tips and advice.

A young teacher with a child

Top tips for younger teachers

  • Build up teaching experience through voluntary work and short-term contracts
  • If you’re 18 to 21 and don’t have a degree South America is your most likely option for finding full-time work
  • Thoroughly research visa requirements

Find out more about teaching English abroad and download our FREE guide to teaching English online.

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7 thoughts on “Are there age restrictions for TEFL?

  1. Is the certificate with a university or is it just TEFL.
    For example my english teacher has a certificate with Leeds or Newcastle university (I think). Is that the case with the online only courses?

  2. Which TEFL .org are considered more than others. I have noticed costs vary from Cambridge being over £2000 and short 4 week intensive. Also are there jobs in Turkey ? Many thanks

  3. Hi there, I am a 16 year old student currently studying my SQA Higher in English hoping to leave to university next year. Can I take these courses or am I better to wait until I have finished both high school and university?

    1. Yes, you can complete your TEFL training while you are still at school or university. We train many sixth form students and undergraduates as most want to teach during their summer breaks, teach online to earn extra money, and be ready to apply for TEFL jobs and programmes abroad when they graduate. Check out our Guide to TEFL for Students to see how you can use your TEFL qualification while you are still studying.

  4. This is a great article. I am now 65 and retiring next year I am tefl qualified, with advanced business English qualifications. I want to be able to teach abroad, but find that age restrictions are a pain. If anyone has ant further suggestions do please let me know.

  5. I took the 120-hour class here, and got Job Offers from private schools in Quito and Cuenca (Ecuador) on my first job-hunting trip. Just a note: in South America, they love to see the actual certificate, so print it on nice, heavy paper in color.

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