Never Too Old to TEFL!

By Jennifer Collis
August 31, 2012


It may be true that the typical profile of an average TEFL teacher abroad is someone in their twenties who has just graduated college or is taking a year off to get international experience.  However, that doesn’t mean that teaching English as a foreign language is a field just reserved for the young! Opportunities exist for people of all ages to get English teaching jobs abroad. The key is matching your skills and experience to the right destination for you.

Are people my age really teaching abroad?

Yes, they are! People of all ages take our TEFL courses and find work abroad as teachers. We’ve profiled course graduates of all ages who have taught in places like ThailandBrazil, and Morocco.

In what parts of the world are older teachers most welcomed?

We recently signed up a 69 year-old trainee for our CELTA course here in Denver, who planned to teach in South America. Concerned about his chances of getting a job there, he asked me to speak to the staff at BridgeChile, BridgeArgentina and BridgeBrazil for some first-hand advice. The resounding response from each location was “Tell him to come down!” Schools in South America, as well as in Latin America in general, put value on the experience older teachers bring to the table. This is an especially great place for teachers beyond traditional age to find positions!

What do I have to gain from teaching abroad?

I’ve spoken to plenty of career changers, empty-nesters and retirees who see teaching abroad as the fulfillment of a longtime dream that may have been put on the back burner over the years. Getting certified to teach abroad offers the opportunity to pursue a new career, learn a foreign language or simply experience immersion in a new and different culture. Most of all, teaching English is a chance for adventure–and you are never too old for that!

Many people choose to enter the TEFL field late in their careers. For one example, hear George’s story. Also, check out the top places to TEFL after retirement!