Age Restrictions in TEFL - China, Taiwan & Vietnam
Question: What opportunities are available for a young looking 66 year old certified teacher?
Answer - Age Restrictions in China
There are teachers working in China in their 60's and 70's, so it is possible, but more perseverance is needed. However, ageism does exist - as it does elsewhere in the world - it is easier for an English teacher under 40 to find a TESOL job in China.
The more experienced you are in teaching English the better, and the better certified you are in teaching English the more opportunities you will have. This is true for all teachers regardless of age - but it's especially important the older you are.
Some language schools will not consider anyone over 40, others will be quite happy to consider teachers in their 60's. It is easier for teachers already working in a school or university to continue teaching, than it is for an old newbie to enter the market.
In China the interpretation of laws and rules is quite flexible. There are many teachers in their 40's, 50's, 60's and even 70's still teaching. Much is left up to the discretion of the employer.
I've heard that the central government of China does not have a statutory upper age limit for foreign experts. However, local governments often have their own rules.
It's a good idea to search for TESOL jobs in China before arriving.Age Restrictions in TEFL - Taiwan
In Taiwan there's no law to say that older teachers (under 65) cannot be hired, but it is the preference of many - but not all - employers, to hire younger staff. There are teachers in their 50's and 60's teaching English in universities in Taiwan; and there are many teachers in there 40's working in language schools. However, these teachers are usually experienced, good at their job and have held their job for a number of years.
If you have no experience of TEFL, and you are over 40, it will be extremely difficult to find a job in Taiwan. You may have to consider going to live in a smaller city where there are few teachers.
If you do have good experience of teaching English, and TEFL certification, then it is possible to find a job, despite the fact that most language schools
prefer young applicants.
Remember that there are more teachers than jobs, which adds to the difficulty.
Finding work in universities is a better option for teachers over 40, but you will still need experience, as well as a masters degree, preferably an MA TESOL. A PhD TESOL is increasingly being asked for.
The upper age limit for a teacher on a full-time contract in a university in Taiwan is 65. In practice it would be very difficult to find a position after 60. Some heads of university language departments who I asked, told me that many universities don't like to hire anyone over 50 - regardless of experience. I spoke to one head of a language department who told me 60 would be acceptable, but no older. The preferences of individual heads of departments accounts for some variation.
If you have the right experience and qualifications it is possible, but increasingly difficult - even for younger applicants. Once you are in the system it becomes much easier. Finding part-time work is easier than finding a full-time post.Age Restrictions Teaching English in Vietnam
Teaching English in Vietnam may be a better option for older teachers than Taiwan. In Vietnam it's best to arrive in the country and search on the spot. It's hard to find ESL jobs in Vietnam online.
While I don't have personal experience of teaching English in Vietnam, all the reports that I've heard indicate that it is a better market for English teachers, which means that older English teachers stand a much better chance of finding employment.Getting Around Age Restrictions in TEFL
If you are teaching English and over 50 it would help you to find a job you like and stay in it. Most institutions are happy to continue employing a good and proven teacher, even when they get older. In some countries you can also get around the official retirement age by staying on in your job as a part-time teacher.
There are alternatives to finding an ESL job, One is to work freelance, taking privates, company classes, some part-time work in language schools, and possibly online work instead. Another option is to set up your own business. If you have experience of teaching and an entrepreneurial nature setting up your own school would get around any problems of ageism.