Too Old, No Degree, Want To Teach English?

One of the best things about this blog is that I get great questions from people who want to teach English abroad, but wonder about their circumstances and if they can make it happen or not.

Here is a recent email:

I have been considering teaching English in a Spanish speaking country, preferably Spain. If not there then Central or South America. I am 62 yrs old and in excellent health. I have been with [a major international bank] for 11 plus years. I am semi-bilingual, since my wife is Colombian. What do you think of my age? Am I too old? How do I find out if I would be eligible to teach in Peru for instance? I have an Associates degree only (a two-year vocational type degree). I have taught a little in a voluntary setting. Can you share your thoughts with me?

My response follows – and I want every person reading this blog and thinking about working abroad to apply such thinking to their job search.

Hi Bill,

You wrote:

What do you think of my age? Am I too old?

You are only a couple years older than me – not too old – you have a lot to share.

And . . .

How do I find out if I would be eligible to teach in Peru for instance? I have an associates degree only. I have taught a little in a voluntary setting.

For Peru specifically contact Sharon – she is a bit of a Peru specialist – but she also knows Latin America well: naturegirl321 @

You can tell her Ted sent you.

BUT – I would say that you can create your eligibility – you have eleven years with [a major international bank]? Teach Business English, teach Banking English, create a few courses, sell yourself to corporations, banks, etc as someone who knows business and Business English – see this page:

Yes, you are going to be limited by your two-year degree if you just go and search for any old regular English job, so focus on your Special Skills.

Start here: — get that ebook and start to create a few courses for the specialties you already know. Go to a new country offering something (specialized knowledge and training) rather than going asking for something (a job).

Good luck! Go get what you want.

TED’s Tips™ #1: Most people have some sort of work history. You can CREATE a demand for your specific skills if you focus your job search in that area. Again see: Special Skills.

TED’s Tips™ #2: Search for a job OFFERING something: special skills, special knowledge or if nothing else flexibility and a willingness to adapt – rather than searching for a job just asking for a job.

What’s up in China? Learn about a great internship program on offer if would like to Teach English in China

How to Teach English Overseas and Secrets to Success Abroad
TEFL Boot Camp  is offering a free download of their new publication Seven Secrets of Success Abroad – and along with it comes a bi-weekly installment and revision of their eBook called How to Teach English Overseas.

Great reviews for the Secrets of Success eBook – in spite of the hokey name – and the How to Teach English eBook is being updated and rewritten and sent out in installments as it is ready.

Here they are – click on the eBooks to get your FREE copies! Great information and the price is right, from our friends at TEFL Boot Camp – CLICK HERE FOR THE FREE EBOOKS.



Please let me know what you think of the ebooks – use the comments section below.

I confess both eBooks are written by yours truly – hoping to inspire others to head overseas and live life BIG out in the real world. I would value your feedback!

Author: Ted

Semi-retired EFL teacher/teacher-trainer working and living abroad since 1989 in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

104 thoughts on “Too Old, No Degree, Want To Teach English?”

  1. Hi Ted,
    Thank you for this blog. It’s very informative! Is there a TEFL and/or CELTA course(online school) you would recommend? Not sure if accreditation is important, but I prefer not to waste my time if the course is not recognized internationally. My other question is whether schools prefer a teacher certification or a tefl certification or both?
    My husband and I are in our late 30’s and looking to teach english abroad as a way to travel, meet new friends, learn the culture. We both have our BA’s. He has been in the corporate world for a long time and is looking to change into a career that helps people and to give back. I am a hairstylist looking to travel and teach (I began in the corporate world a long time ago). I long to teach in France, but as you have mentioned in your previous blogs, it’s difficult. Is it not possible at all? Thank you for your time.

  2. Hi Katy,
    It is rare that a certain kind of certificate would be rejected. And if so, more than likely it would be for one of two reasons: 1. The employer was looking for a cert from an in-classroom course or 2. It looks counterfeit. Though you hear a lot on the issue – non-acceptance is quite rare. France? I tend to believe anything is doable, but if you want to work in Europe, a CELTA is a better bet and take the course IN FRANCE, so they can help you find a good situation. Ask them BEFORE you go if they will help place you.
    I hope that helps.

  3. My husband is worried about our financial future. Because the economy is bad, he feels we need to be financially secure(save money), esp when we reach the age of retirement(we can’t count on social security at all). Is this something we should worry about? I would like to put him at ease. I’m the type to go with the flow so anything goes with me, but I do understand his concern.

  4. It is important to pay attention to your future when you are overseas. This is some of the best advice for anyone/everyone: LONG-TERM future in EFL. I think it will help you think about it. If you teach in countries like Korea you will find it easy to save US$1000 a month EACH. In other places you will likely save less, but many of us head to countries where the net take home pay/savings is good to refill the bank account from time to time and to help with investments for old age. Go get ’em!

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