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Does TEFL have an age limit?


If you’re thinking of teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) abroad, you might be wondering if there are any age restrictions. Whether you’re an older or a younger applicant, we’re here to answer all of your age-related TEFL ponderings.

Does TEFL have an age limit?

Age isn't a significant factor. Although being a teacher requires a certain level of fitness, and health checks may be conducted as part of the recruitment process, there is no upper age limit for teacher training.

Are there age restrictions for TEFL?

Whilst anyone over the age of 18 can teach English as a foreign language, there are some things that it’s good to be aware of if you’re a little younger or older than most applicants.

The majority of people who enrol on our courses are in their twenties or thirties, but we have trained teachers of all ages who have gone on to enjoy teaching positions all over the world.

Am I too old to teach English abroad?

There is no upper age limit to enrol on a TEFL course, and being an older teacher has some notable advantages. For example, you will have life experiences that can be a real asset in the classroom, and help you adjust to life in a new country.

You’re likely to also have more work experience than many younger applicants, so be sure to use this to your advantage. Employers who are recruiting for subjects such as Business English often actively look for older applicants, with more experience in the world of work.

It’s worth noting, however, that if you’re older than 55-60, you may struggle to find work in countries such as South Korea, China and Japan. These countries have very strict rules on retirement, and this is the reason that employers can’t legally sponsor a work visa for any teacher who is over retirement age. Research the visa requirements of countries you’re interested in before applying.

You may come across some age discrimination when searching for a TEFL role. Whilst it’s not usually legal to discriminate based on age, it doesn’t always stop employers from doing it! Some advertisements will specify that they’re looking specifically for applicants in their twenties or thirties. Don’t let this put you off though – there are many other countries where age is not an issue, and as long as you’re TEFL qualified, you should be able to find work.

Use your work and life experiences to your advantage when applying for TEFL positions and remember that your advanced years are not necessarily a negative point!

Am I too young to teach English abroad?

We accept anyone over the age of 16 on our courses.

Getting qualified early and building experience in voluntary roles in the UK is a great idea.

If you’re under 18, you can build your teaching CV by working with refugees and asylum seekers locally – just ask around local charitable organisations. Once you’re 18, you can find paid work teaching English abroad.

Do I need a degree to teach English abroad?

You don’t necessarily need a degree to teach English abroad.

However, regardless of your age, you’ll be looked on much more favourably by employers if you have a TEFL qualification from an internationally recognised, accredited provider such as TEFL UK. This will also give you a better idea of what to expect and make the whole experience more straightforward.

Tips for older TEFL applicants

  • Manage your salary expectations. Unless you’re experienced in TEFL, you probably won’t earn a lot in your first role. Your salary will be determined largely by your teaching experience.
  • Be flexible about your destination, as older teachers sometimes must be a little more persistent in order to find work. Whilst age discrimination is illegal in many countries, this doesn’t mean it won’t happen!
  • Research the visa requirements and the legal retirement age in the country where you wish to TEFL.

Tips for younger TEFL applicants

  • If you’re under 18, expand your TEFL experience through voluntary work with refugees and asylum seekers.
  • If you don’t have a degree and you’re under 21, South America is probably the best place to find work teaching English as a foreign language.
  • If you’re under 21, you may have more success finding opportunities teaching with volunteer programs, summer camps, and possibly as a nanny or au pair that also tutors children in English.

Enrol on a TEFL course today

TEFL UK provide a variety of online TEFL certification courses, which vary in length. View our courses page to find the one that’s best suited to you. If you’re unsure which course would be right for you, we recommend the 120 hour Professional TEFL course for the majority of applicants.

If you need any advice about your TEFL journey or would like some help in selecting the right course for your needs, please don’t hesitate to call us on 0800 368 9848 or email us at [email protected].