Travelling abroad to teach for a year or for a long period of time takes planning. Teaching English abroad over 60 years old or 50, 40 is achievable, although age restrictions exist in many countries depending on factors including work/residency visa, and school employers views.
You can find good jobs that pay well working abroad as you get older as a senior teacher in good desirable countries overseas in different school types.
You are never too old to teach, although be prepared to search for an appropriate job in a less desirable city if required.
Older teachers in 60, 50, and 40s are in demand, citizens from USA, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada, Australia, Ireland and UK.
Why native English teachers that speak clear English are desired in 2021, less so a non native English speaker? They have English as mother tongue and should be good with grammar and pronunciation.
I’m 56 and in the past I have taught in UK schools and been a teacher abroad. Why become an English teacher overseas?
My aim is to generate additional income if I decide to move abroad again.
Below is what I have found in my research and past experience as a teacher.
You of course have to decide if the decision is right for now and for the future?
Challenges older teachers face in a foreign country
First, you are an older foreign teacher in another country with different traditions, expectations of employees, less residency and worker rights than locals or younger ESL teachers.
English language teaching industry is viewed by many teachers and school employers as a young persons teaching role.
Age bias towards younger teachers is common in some south East Asia countries, including Thailand, China/Hong Kong for working in language schools.
Nursery and elementary schools often advertise for a teacher below 35 years old. Kindergarten and language centres look for energetic young recent graduates to employ as they are seen to be able to keep up with child role play and fast pace of working.
All you’re life skills, knowledge and experience are not useful to many employers as they see a younger TEFL teacher as a better fit for their organisation.
Another big obstacle is work visa, residency permit and employer medical insurance for mature ESL or English teachers.
Countries have mandatory work age limit cut off where you will not qualify for a work visa or renewal, loose you’re job and possible accommodation, for example in Thailand.
You will find a number of schools will not employ a teacher in their senior years as the school can not get employer medical insurance for teachers 65, 70 over or it is expensive.
I’m I too old to teach English in another country in 2021? No
There are many happy teachers that I have taught with at the same school that were in their 50s and 60s.
Some school employers and governments perceive you as too old as an employee.
In fact, there is no age limit for an English teacher to teach or work, so teaching afer 60 is happening for many male and female teachers.
Is 60 years old too old to become a teacher?
No. Taking early retirement you just need to be realistic about the type of teacher job offers you expect to receive, country and educational setting.
Look at teaching adults; conversation English, work at a public, independent or international school, age friendly language school in a smaller town or city less desirable to young teachers.
Let’s talk more about age requirements for jobs, visa, work and residency in countries.
For me at 56 years old my options are good as a native speaker, although for many employers being over a certain age matters.
Forget Thailand, Kuwait, Oman, Philippines and Saudi Arabia if you are 60 + governments will not issue a work visa and residency permit to foreign teachers.
Once you reach 60 the best options to start or continue as an English teacher is to apply for jobs in North & South America, European countries & central Asia.
South East Asia is still an option; look at Vietnam, Japan & China with a foreign expert certificate to 65 yrs.
Think first before leaving home and have a plan working as an English teacher in different continents around the world.
Can I obtain a job teaching English overseas as an older teacher?
Yes, of course. Native English language teachers have the best opportunities for gaining employment.
University, independent, public & international school English teachers with a good command of the language can get jobs in over 50 countries including Mongolia, Thailand, Argentina, Morocco, United Arab Emirates and Ukraine.
An every increasing demand for students to learn English means at anyone time there are in excess of 200,000 teachers of English required abroad.
There are not enough native English teachers to fill the teaching posts advertised.
Looking for English teaching work abroad? mature and retired language school teachers can secure a job without a bachelor’s degree in over 60 countries including:
- Russia, Taiwan, Peru, Spain, France, Germany, Moldova, Turkey, Morocco, Italy, France, Saudi Arabia, Portugal, Greese, Argentina, Mexico, UK, Cambodia, Ukraine, Poland, Brazil.
Laws and regulations change over time with individual countries teacher work permit and residency requirements.
Yes, many countries including China require foreign teachers to have at least a bachelor’s degree in any subject.
English language teaching qualification such as a CELT or TEFL, can also get you a job in China also.
How to find a job as an overseas senior teacher of English
Finding and accepting an English teacher job: Qualified TEFL/CELT English language teachers that have the required soft skills, manners and reasonably groomed can find full or part time work any time of the year abroad.
Overseas jobs long term or temporary without teaching experience are available to start every month depending on location.
Travel jobs for seniors 60, 70 plus could be for 3, 6 or 12, 24 month contract or with a summer school or camp in Spain, UK, France Brazil or Mexico.
Teacher paid work abroad for over 50 year old is becoming more popular with early retirees and people changing lifestyle.
How do I find a job after 70s, 60s or 50 plus? Search online for ESL teaching jobs and you will see many vacancies around the world in different school age and curriculum types.
Match you’re skills, qualifications and experience to the school job requirements.
Applying direct to employer’s advertisements with you’re resume/cv could give you negotiating room for a better salary package as they will have less employment costs.
Be prepared for rejection, keep applying and think about where and what schools or training companies would desire from retired teachers overseas.
Older and senior teachers could have a better chance of securing a job by attending interviews in person at the school and offering demo lessons.
Also, create a short video about yourself that showcases what you have to offer to the school as a teacher.
Going through a recruitment company is another option where you can state what, where, when, salary and they will contact prospective employers on your behalf.
Online job boards also provide the chance to upload your resume and schools contact you direct.
Teacher personal traits
What type of qualities do mature English language teachers require? depends on the school type, age of students and what you will be teaching.
Being able to plan, organise, motivated, independent thinker, considerate, good communicator, initiative, time management are just a few.
Getting on with others at different age levels and backgrounds is also required.
Language schools and training companies also look out for TEFL and university teachers that have no experience or a number of teaching years that provide a mature and committed work ethic.
You are also an asset as a senior teacher and generally seen as stable and will act appropriate with colleagues & students.
English teacher job requirements
Depending on the country you wish to teach. Common are:
- Native English speaker
- Must be from USA, South Africa, UK, New Zealand, Canada, Ireland Australia
- Recognised teaching qualification
- Recent criminal record background check
Resume, photograph, medical report, education certificates + transcripts, data page passport copy.
Documents also require to be certified and legalised for some countries.
Look at job descriptions and see if you could meet all the requirements of the employer, work permit and residency.
Good idea to also check on the embassy website for residency documents, age, experience needed for foreign teachers.
Best countries for older mature teacher of English abroad?
No best country depends on you and other requirements of each country.
Saudi Arabia offers English ESL, international schools and other work places that older teachers are welcome with a positive teaching job environment, Employers prefer mature stable workers and are willing to offer top salaries to recruit you.
English is an official language in KSA and there are many keen learners and other people that must learn as part of their job or government training program, such as pilots, oil industry, business people and armed forces.
Advantages: Pay top salary package with accommodation, health insurance, return flight.
Disadvantages: No work visa/renewal official after 60 or even 57, restrictive travel for woman, comprehensive medical check.
Kuwait and Oman Both countries encourage learners of all ages to acquire English language skills. Universities & colleges offer lectures and language instructor’s long term contacts as well as international schools.
Advantages: Package of salary benefits are good, flight paid and accommodation.
Disadvantages: New teacher recruitment work permit & residency must be under 60 years. Requirement for work visa is formal training & certification, such as BEd, Master of education, TEFL or CELT.
United Arab Emirates Dubai and Abu Dhabi cites are internationally recognised and especially welcome worldwide visitors. Options to teach English including nurseries, universities, training centres, primary and secondary international schools.
Advantages: Generally well paid with a good benefits package, work/residency permit to 65 years, always jobs all year round.
Disadvantages: Require/prefer experienced teachers with TEFL/CELT, MA in English, also requirement for a work visa, expensive living costs.
South East Asia
Popular region of the world to retire and travel for older teachers in their 40, 50s, 60s. With a warm climate and rainy season you’ll experience something different daily to your own country. Choose from Thailand, South Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Japan, Taiwan and China.
Advantages: Lower cost of living in some countries including Thailand, Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam. Work visa max 65 in Vietnam, South Korea, Japan.
Disadvantages: You loss you’re job and accommodation at 60 years old in Malaysia, Thailand, China/Hong Kong, Lower salary compared to other country regions.
Rich diverse multicultural nations European countries provide a vast array of school and training options. Depending on the school type you may need a BEd degree, PGCE or other teacher license to get a job, work permit & residency.
Advantages: Non native English speakers with fluent language skills are teaching in training companies and language centres Germany, France, Spain. Jobs part or full time in cities, towns in every country. Qualified school teachers are employed at public and independent school in Switzerland, Belgium, Greece, Italy, UK, Portugal. No age work limit.
Disadvantages: Difficult to get a residency/work visa non EU citizen if not a qualified school age 3-18 years teacher, Expensive living costs in larger cities, high income tax.
Almost all the countries in South America welcome senior teachers to teach at language schools and international school for children and adult teaching.
Popular countries Argentina, Peru, Uruguay, Brazil, Mexico (North America) provide residency to people of any age and work permits to retired teachers in their 50s, 60s. 70s. You can get an ESL job teaching adults English or children part or full time.
Disadvantage: low salaries paid to teachers, especially by language schools.
Countries with better salaries for English teachers
United Kingdom provides a skilled education visa for a qualified licensed teacher for secondary and primary school age children, salary £26,000 to £49,700 basic pay per annum depending on location and seniority. Income tax is deducted.
Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Belgium countries international, state and independent schools basic pay 1850 euros. You must be a qualified teacher with a BA, BEd or other teacher license. Language schools pay 1,100 euros plus depending on location. Tax on pay is payable.
South Korea 1.8 to 4 million won depending on type of school from public, hagwon or university teaching. Other salary benefits paid, including flight and accommodation.
China 14,000 to 35,000 rmb month depending on school type and management position. Universities and small town language schools pay the least.
Saudi Arabia 2.800 to 6,000 US dollars per month, international schools and government operated organisations pay the highest.
Kuwait and UAE 1,500 to 5,800 US dollars per month depending if university lecture, training company or school.
Japan 2,100 to 5,700 US dollars per month
English language teacher certification
Good idea for you to gain an accredited language teacher’s qualification that will provide you with a greater amount of job opportunities as a teacher.
Recognised qualifications such as a CELT or TEFL are required by many employers and to secure a work permit.
You’ll learn about planning lessons, presenting, group work, pace and general instruction of how to be an effective English teacher to students.
Attendance in class TEFL120 hours is your best option as you will find an ever decreasing pool of countries where an online TEFL for example is accepted as a teacher qualification.
Aim for a course that provides 120-140 + hours of course work and assessment. Europe, Middle East, Gulf and Korea employers generally only accept classroom based assessed certificates.
CELT: Rigor in relation to written assignments, class hours and assessed teaching observations accredited by Cambridge English. Used for teaching adults English
TEFL: Best known. Teaching English as a foreign language certification for all age learners and required for a work visa & residency in some countries.
TESOL: Teaching English to speakers of other languages. Good for many countries and possible for your home country also. Not always accepted for a work visa and by employers.
TEFL certificate training course
TEFL is recognised, requested by employers in language centres and learning institutions around the world.
The language teacher certification course can qualify you to teach English at a language, training company or state school without a degree in a number of countries.
Is TEFL hard to pass? No, depends on you the learner. Courses take commitment, study, good grasp of English grammar and writing (No like mine, you are reading).
Study time length of a TEFL
Study full time or part time. Courses can be completed in as little as 1 week classroom intensive training.
Part-time study is available from providers such as local colleges and language schools that allow up to 6 months to completion.
Online courses for a TEFL or other English language teacher qualification can be completed in 2 weeks if you wish from providers.
What will I learn on a TEFL training course?
Many aspects of teaching & learning as a language teacher from classroom management, board work, marking, assessment, lesson planning, testing, designing resources and others.
You’ll take part in group work, practice lessons, assessment of your teaching ability for the award of your qualification. This is classroom based of course.
How much is a language teacher course?
Depends on the provider and if you are on a residential course and intensive training. £370 for 1 week class based course via many providers.
Can be as much as £2,300 full time with accommodation. Part time with a private language centre or through a collage takes longer.
4 week intensive accredited good course expect to pay around £1,800 to £2,200. You’re course certificate training can be in the UK and Western Europe.
Online 120 hours courses can be as little as £100, or in some cases providers are offering the training for less.
Language teacher training courses are also provided by employers where you are employed as a teacher and train on the job with a salary at the same time from Hess (Taiwan), Language link (Russia), ESL Starter (China), Bridge Abroad (Brazil).
Accreditation of TEFL courses
Check and see if the course is accredited to award certificates or at least well establish and respected with 100s of previous students.
Accreditation essentially shows that a training provider has been externally inspected. Also, a centre is assessed for quality assurance and delivery of good teaching & learning.
At this time, there does not seem a formal certificate accreditation body in 2021.
- How long is the TEFL or CELT course
- Qualified and experienced trainers
- Classroom-based and theory with practical training for a certificate that was studied over 120 at least via classroom-based learning or mixed online.
Choose a course and provider that is actually accredited by a recognised body:
Countries no work permit or residency after 50, 60
Qatar has an age limit of less than 50 years old for workers including teachers.
Saudi Arabia maximum age is 60, although 57 is generally the cut off age for ESL and university English lecturers.
Oman you should be under 60 for a work permit.
United Arab Emirates, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, 65 is the official retirement age.
South Korea has a max age of 60’s.
Malaysia mandatory retirement age is 60 years.
Is teaching English overseas a good career for older teachers?
Decide for yourself what your goals are, make extra money working part time or require a full time wage.
English teaching in another country can provide a stable income, job security if you choose the right employer, such as a primary or secondary school or kindergarten.
As an older worker abroad it would be 10-20 years providing an education career you are interested in and other employment benefits.
Starting costs as a senior teacher relocating overseas
A budget of around £1,500-£2000 will help you to your first wage payment for many countries. Think about:
- Cost of flight you need to pay yourself up front, not all schools provide a flight ticket, only when you complete your contract
- New clothing for the job and change of climate
- Documents & processing, medicals, criminal background check
- Food, travel and spending money until you receive you’re first salary
- Medical insurance initially until an employer provides cover
- Accommodation rental you might have to fund and find yourself
Moving overseas to a foreign country teacher tips & answers
- You don’t require to speak a foreign language as a English language teacher, although it would help.
- Voluntary work overseas for over 60s or 50 is possible with programs offered by a number of organisations.
- New teacher’s and first time overseas travellers are welcome.
- What will you do with your home and possessions when you are away?
- Always have a backup plan and enough finances if things go wrong, loss of job and accommodation.
- Conduct research to see if the country you choose issues work permit and residency permits to teachers in 60’s, 50’s before you go.
- Study and get a TEFL or CELT certificate before you leave making sure you pass and teaching it is something you wish to do after trying, and you meet the requirements.
- Do not expect that as you are a senior English teacher with little or no experience of teaching you will find a job easily. Life experience helps, but not always to secure a job.
- Check to see if accommodation is provided, flight ticket, medical insurance in advance and other benefits, and contract terms & conditions.
- Research the location of the school depending on town, city, rural and transport.
- Never sign or agree to a contract until you have asked questions/receive answers and are happy with the terms and conditions.
- Remember you may require a work visa/permit issued by the foreign government embassy in your home country before you leave, for example Z visa for China. or for Saudi Arabia.
With a realistic plan that includes allowing enough time to become qualified as an English teacher you can set yourself up for years of sustainable teaching in the countries of your choice.
Take time to find out what age group and type of employer works for you from schools, training centres teaching English abroad at 60 + to adults & children.
Disclaimer: This is my own research and opinion mixed with official sources.
The page contents are for information purpose only. Always conduct your own research from official sources.