TEFL Age Requirements To Teach English Abroad

Stop all rumors about TEFL age requirements! There are TEFL opportunities for everybody! The first question we usually hear from TEFL enthusiasts is “how old do you have to be to teach?”. This is a loaded question and we’ll go into detail below, but first, all you have to know is that once you have your TEFL certification, you CAN teach and there IS an opportunity for you. 

Are There Any TEFL Age Requirements?

Before jumping in and finding out what age you can become a teacher, remember to also check out the other requirements, such as your TEFL certification, degree, and experience. These can be dependent on the country or job posting. Now it’s time to skip down to your TEFL age restrictions and see the best opportunities for you! 

TEFL Opportunities: Below 18

If you’re looking for some experience traveling abroad before hitting the college scene, there are ways to do it. If you are under 18, we don’t know of any opportunities that will allow you to go on a salary. This is because of laws about working hours put into place and this can vary from country to country. There are lots of volunteer opportunities though! Take a look at summer camps close to home. If you’re from the UK or Ireland, you’ll have nice options in places like Spain. The US is a vastly multicultural country, so you might be able to get the opportunity to volunteer at language centers too. 

TEFL Opportunities: 18-21

If you’re between the ages of 18 and 21, it’s unlikely that you’ll have a Bachelor’s Degree, so there are some countries where you won’t have access to get a work permit, such as Japan, South Korea, Thailand, and UAE. Other than this, you are able to work anywhere in the world! As a young adult heading out on your first adventure, your best bet is to sign up with a program, so experts in the field will help you get set up and no experience is required! At your age, you’ll most likely be teaching young learners in a public school setting, and sometimes even with a local teacher in the classroom to help. 

TEFL Opportunities: 21-30 

You’re in your 20s and looking for a couple of years to explore different opportunities. The great news is that you will fit into nearly every category of TEFL opportunities because you are not too old to study abroad. You are at the prime age to start your TEFL career, and there’ll be no stopping you! You are young enough for student visas and old enough to have some experience behind you. There are a  lot more factors, like your education, to consider, so if you are unsure, call an expert today. If this is your first time traveling, your best route is to go on a program to get the support you need to make the move. 

TEFL Opportunities: 30-50

A lot of TEFL enthusiasts ask us if 30 is too old to teach abroad. Well, we can put these rumors to rest. Not only is the average age of starting teachers, but it’s also actually looked at favorably by a lot of employers teaching english abroad over 40. At your age, you are experienced, confident, and professional. This means that doors open for you such as business English positions, exam preparation, and management jobs. You’re also more likely to get a permanent position too. One thing to watch out for are programs that use the student visa route as you may be ineligible. 

TEFL Opportunities: 50-65

If you’re looking to get into the TEFL world later in life, you’ve most likely had a career behind you and becoming a teacher at age 50 is going to be easy for you. You may have grown-up children and it’s time to get out there and see some of the world. Great news! There are TEFL opportunities for you. We do suggest looking at other places rather than Asian countries as their retirement age is strict and really low, and the opportunities there are mostly young learners, so you might come across some employers looking for a younger teacher. It’s age discrimination, we know, but it happens! Your best bet is to look for professional jobs in Europe, South America, and even your home country for exam preparation. 

Senior TEFL Age Requirements

Good news – you’re never too old to teach English abroad! While there can be a few restrictions worldwide to be aware of, there are still plenty of options. TEFL teaching has to follow retirement laws set in place by the country the school is in. Asia in particular has these. If you’re looking to go to Asia, a great idea is to volunteer, while you’re getting a pension. Latin America is also famous for hiring mature teachers of all ages, so definitely a place to check out! 


Absolutely not! 35 is a great age to teach at. You’ll be open to a lot of opportunities. For younger programs, 35 is normally the max, and for permanent opportunities, 30+ is preferable. 35 years old is actually a really nice age to teach English abroad or online. The only issue you may run into is if the opportunity you see uses the student visa/internship root. This normally will have a lower age requirement depending on the country you are looking at.

TEFL teachers globally range from 18 all the way up to retirement age and beyond. Like it or not, your age will be a determining factor in the niche of TEFL you choose to teach and in some cases the country. This can be due to a lot of things like visa requirements, student preferability, and program requirements. Program providers want you to have the best possible experience, and they know first-hand, the type of program they run. For example, they might have shared accommodation set up, and this wouldn’t really be the best for families. Also, the country the program is in might be a little untouched and hard to get accustomed to. In these cases, they will raise the age requirement so they know that younger teachers won’t get homesick or have culture shock. Have a read of our blog and see the best choices for you.

Definitely not! If you are 55 or older and looking into teaching English as a foreign language, you have half a lifetime of experience behind you and this is looked favourably. The best option for you would be to go into TEFL teaching in a more professional setting. What we mean by this is that most internships do have a maximum age due to student visas and program requirements. The best route is to complete a TEFL course and apply for permanent positions. With your experience, you’ll be able to go straight into business English teaching or exam preparation (yes, the higher-paid jobs!).  With these types of jobs, your age is an asset. Students prefer an older teacher when they are adults as being taught by someone in their young 20s can be a little demeaning. Use this to your advantage!

TEFL teachers online range anywhere from 18 to 60 years old. Like teaching English abroad, teaching online has amazing opportunities for every type of teacher, from part-time to full-time, from Beginners English to Business English, and of course, from 18 years old to 60+ years old. In terms of legality, check out the online company’s registered headquarters. Most likely, they will follow the rules of this country. Depending on your age, there are better online companies to go for depending on your needs. Check out the right ones for you in our blog above.

In general, no there’s no age limit. Why? Because being a TEFL teacher means that the world is your oyster. Certain countries or schools will have their own set of rules, but no matter your age, there is an opportunity for all. As a rule of thumb, TEFL teachers are most likely between the ages of 18 and 60.  18+ means that you can legally work for a certain amount of time, get vetted and get visas. If you are looking to go away for the summer before college or university but you’re 17, there are some lovely summer camp programs where you can work as a language assistant and be part of a group. You’ll get accommodation, meals, and a little stipend.  Around 60 to 65 is the age of retirement in most countries, so this is where you’ll see a drop in opportunities. However, if you’re over this age, there will be lots of volunteering opportunities for you AND you’ll get to keep your pension rolling.  There are some countries or schools that require you to have a Bachelor’s degree as well, so naturally, the age limit would be around 21 as a default. You can find this type of restriction in more developing countries too, as younger TEFL teachers can be subject to culture shock and they look for more experienced and traveled teachers who are more likely to complete their contracts.

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