A common question encountered is whether age matters in TEFL. Older people often wonder whether their advanced years will preclude them from working in certain countries. Similarly, younger people wonder if their inexperience will count against them.
Does Age Matter?
The minimum age requirements for TEFL and CELTA courses is usually 18 years old. A qualified candidate is always in with a chance. However, employers in many countries require their teachers to possess a university degree, which boosts the minimum age effectively to 21. It has to be said, then, that finding jobs for people under the age of 21 is a difficult task. Your best chance to get some experience is by taking a TEFL course with a guaranteed placement.
For those in the upper age bracket, things can be equally challenging. If you are new TEFL, you may well have noticed the upper age limit on many job advertisements (the Japan JET program, for example, has an upper age limit of 39). Again, a TEFL course with a guaranteed job placement may be the easiest way in. The more experienced teacher should have little difficulty finding jobs in well-established TEFL locations such as China, Mexico and even Russia. It might be generic advice, but it is true that it’s best to send your CV around and apply for the jobs that appeal to you and see what comes back.
Going it alone
A final option is to go private. There is no upper or lower age limit as you work as your own boss, but there is the pressure to find your own students and set yourself up in a new country – a daunting task for anyone or any age.
Are you a younger or older teacher? Has it been a challenge to find a job?