Am I Too Old to Become a Teacher? | Aging Greatly (2023)

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Have you always wanted to teach or need a new career path and are thinking about teaching? It can be daunting to go back to school later in life, but it’s absolutely possible.

Am I too old to become a teacher? No. You’re never too old to be a teacher. As long as you’re able to do the work and have patience with the students, you can be a teacher. Becoming a teacher later in life can benefit you because you’ll have more life experience than young teachers.

If you’re thinking about becoming a teacher, continue reading to learn about what you need to do to be a teacher, and whether or not this is the right path for you.

Am I Too Old?

You’re never too old to become a teacher. Besides, it can be a fulfilling second career if you’re looking to do something different. Some people say it isn’t worth pursuing later in life, however, so this section will look at the reasons you should become a teacher and concerns that many people have.

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Reasons to Become a Teacher

Teachers are always needed. As long as there are children, there will be a need for teachers. Many school systems don’t have enough teachers because they are retiring while the number of students is increasing. More and more teachers are needed. So there will almost always be a job opportunity for you.

You have life experience. Maybe it’s a cliche that older people are wiser, but it’s said often because it’s true. Your experiences will help you while obtaining your degree and while you’re teaching. As a student in search of a teaching degree, you will most likely be more focused on your work than your peers, resulting in higher grades. Your time is valuable to you, and you know that hard work will eventually pay off.

As a teacher in the classroom, your life experience will help you teach students. You’ve had more opportunities to meet people from all walks of life, so you will be able to understand your students better and integrate your own experiences into your lesson plan.

There are plenty of teaching programs to choose from. Whether you want to teach kindergarten or high school, learn in the classroom or online, there’s bound to be a program that’s perfect for you. There are also plenty of scholarship opportunities and financial aid available for adult students, so you shouldn’t have to worry too much about the financial aspect.

Common Concerns

Am I Too Old to Become a Teacher? | Aging Greatly (1)

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Not fitting in with the younger students

This is often a reason that people don’t want to go back to school to be a teacher. You risk distancing yourself from your classmates with your outdated references and not understanding the latest technology. If this is your concern, you need to think about if it’s really enough to stop you from pursuing a goal that will result in a career you might love.

Being set in your ways

Being set in your ways is another common concern. As a teacher or a student studying to become a teacher, you must be willing to adapt to whatever situations are thrown at you. New ideas and new processes for tasks you’ve always done will be presented to you, and you’ll need to adapt to them.

What if it’s not what you thought it would be?

A quick look at teacher forums online will show that many older teachers say teaching isn’t what they imagined it to be.

They will warn you that if you’re passionate about a subject, you won’t get to teach it like you want to if you become an elementary, middle, or high school teacher. Young students are often forced to go to school and have no desire to learn, which can be discouraging to the passionate educator.

Don’t let your concerns overwhelm you and talk you out of becoming a teacher. Have you always wanted to teach? Are you passionate about learning and helping students learn? Weigh your desires against your fears and see which is more important to you.

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How to Become a Teacher

Becoming a teacher requires a Bachelor’s degree, although you might be able to teach preschool with just an Associate degree. You will need to research what degrees your state requires for each position, as it may vary from state to state.

  1. Earn a Bachelor’s degree. A degree in education should be sufficient for teaching elementary school, but high school will most likely require that you earn a major in a specific subject.
  2. Gain student teaching experience. Student teaching is required for all students studying to be a teacher. You can gather student teaching experience while obtaining your degree or in the few months after you graduate.
  3. Obtain certification or a license. Public school teachers must receive a certification or a license. Each state will have different requirements, so make sure you research what you need to have. There are alternative options, and some private schools don’t require certification.
  4. Continue learning. Public school teachers are often required to take courses to keep their teaching certification. You can also continue your education to obtain a Master’s or Doctorate degree if you want to teach in high schools or universities.

You can obtain your degree online, but remember that student teaching is a requirement, so you will have to find a local classroom to teach in. Teaching programs are flexible, so if you are still working or have a family to tend to, you will be able to take classes when you’re available.

What Should I Study?

The U.S. Department of Education has a website where you can learn what teacher shortages are in your area. You can pick your state, and it will show which subjects and grade levels need teachers. Keep in mind that this is always changing and isn’t necessarily a guarantee that you will find a position.

You don’t have to limit yourself to what your state needs, of course. If you are truly passionate about a subject and think you’ll be disappointed if you decide to study a different subject, then it might be best to follow your interests.

What Degree Should I Get?

If you’re not fully committed to the idea of becoming a teacher, aim for an Associate degree. You might be able to teach preschool after earning the degree. And if you enjoy the courses you take, you can decide to continue learning for the Bachelor’s degree.

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If you’d like to teach elementary, middle, or high school, a Bachelor’s degree is what you should obtain. Remember that most teaching positions require this degree. You can choose to major in education or a specific area.

A Master’s degree will allow you to teach in colleges and universities or work in administration. With this degree, you will have better job prospects, and it should be easier for you to find the position you really want.

A Doctorate degree will allow you to research and change the education system and teach in universities.


While considering the pros and cons of becoming a teacher later in life, you should also think about the financial aspect, how long it will take you to obtain the degree, and how many years you want to work after receiving your degree. If you want more information about this topic, read our other articles here:

  • Becoming a Teacher at 60: A Step-by-Step Guide
  • Going to Graduate School at 50: Is It Worth It?

If you don’t see yourself teaching long enough to make good use of the degree, then you might consider substitute teaching as an alternative. It might not be as fulfilling, but it could at least give you the teaching experience you’ve wanted.

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Are you ever too old to become a teacher? ›

Wherever you are in your journey to becoming a teacher, don't let your age be a factor. Students and schools need all kinds of teachers. Your experience will most likely be an asset: part of what makes your teaching and your classroom uniquely valuable to your school community. In short, it's never too late to teach!

Is 60 too old to start teaching? ›

I've had many teachers who were 60+ and they performed as well as any other teacher or even better. To be a good teacher, age doesn't matter that much and what does matter is that you teach the subject(s) well and that you are a good person that students can come to for help and support.

What is the most common age for teachers? ›

StateAverage age of teachersMale
United States42.423.7
62 more rows

How do you know if teaching is for you? ›

Do you love sharing knowledge with people and helping them to explore their own curiosities? Are you good at explaining things in a way that makes people feel encouraged to learn more? Does the idea of helping to shape minds excite you? If you answered yes to these questions, you may be a teacher in the making!

Can I become a teacher at age 40? ›

While becoming a teacher at age 40 may present some challenges, pursuing a new career that excites or fulfills you can offer numerous advantages. This transition also may not take as long as you might think and offers several opportunities to grow and develop.

How old is the average teacher in the US? ›

There are over 587,684 high school teachers currently employed in the United States. 53.5% of all high school teachers are women, while 46.5% are men. The average age of an employed high school teacher is 43 years old.

At what age do most teachers retire? ›

This means that someone who enters teaching before age 25 with a bachelor's and accumulates 30 or more years of service can usually retire sometime between age 55 and 60. In most states teachers are eligible for retirement without penalty once they turn 60 even with less than 30 years of service.

Can I train to be a teacher at 55? ›

Am I too old to be a teacher? The answer to that, quite simply, is no. Many people make the move into teaching after having fulfilling careers in various other industries.

What is the average age of a new teacher? ›

In both those states, more than 70 percent of teachers begin their careers by age 25, and more than 85 percent enter the profession at some point in their 20s. In contrast, states like California and New Mexico have very different patterns.

What year of teaching is the hardest? ›

The first year of teaching is the hardest. While being an educator is never without its struggles, the first year is by far the most challenging — pieced together with idealism, confusion, good intentions, excitement, fear, and expectations. But fear not.

What is the average teacher salary? ›

Find out what the average Teacher salary is

The average teacher salary in Ireland is € 37 538 per year or € 19.25 per hour. Entry-level positions start at € 30 000 per year, while most experienced workers make up to € 48 812 per year.

How do I know if I have a passion for teaching? ›

How to Know If Teaching Is the Right Profession for You
  • You Are Passionate About Young People.
  • You Want to Make a Difference.
  • You Are Skilled at Instructing People in a Variety of Ways.
  • You Are a Team Player.
  • You Can Handle Stress Factors.
Jan 28, 2019

What is the best type of teacher to become? ›

No matter where you are, it's a great time to become a teacher.
  • English as a Second Language (ESL). ESL educators are some of the most in demand teachers. ...
  • Math Teaching. Another teacher subject in demand is mathematics. ...
  • Science Teaching. What about science teachers? ...
  • Social Studies Teaching. ...
  • Special Education Teaching.
Dec 18, 2020

What is the best career to start at 40? ›

9 of the best careers to start at 40
  • Medical administrative assistant.
  • Patient care technician.
  • Event planner.
  • SEO specialist.
  • Translator.
  • Dental assistant.
  • Human resources manager.
  • Web developer.
Mar 6, 2023

Is 50 too old to be a teaching assistant? ›

They are all great and have loads of life experience to pass on to the kids. Age shouldn't be a barrier at all. Don't let age put you off. I work in the learning support department in a secondary school and most of the teaching assistants are in their 40s and above including a couple of ladies over retirement age.

At what age is it hard to find a job? ›

Research shows that it's often harder for older workers to secure new jobs. One 2020 study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that workers over age 40 are only about half as likely to get a job offer as younger workers if employers know their age.

Which state pays teachers the most? ›

Highest pay for teachers by state
States 1-12Teacher SalaryStates 13-25
New York$87,738Illinois
District of Columbia$80,659Michigan
9 more rows
Jan 24, 2023

What state is the lowest paid for teachers? ›

The state with the lowest average teacher salary in the US is Mississippi, at around $48,000 a year.

What teachers are in demand? ›

According California's reported statewide academic disciplines or subject matter areas most in need are: English/Drama/Humanities, History/Social Science, Math/Computer Education, Science, and Special Education.

Who is the oldest public school teacher? ›

Agnes Zhelesnik, fondly referred to as “Granny” by her students and coworkers, is widely considered to be America's oldest schoolteacher. At 102, she still works almost full-time teaching preschool and elementary-aged pupils how to cook and sew.

What state has the best retirement for teachers? ›

States Ranked by Best Retirement Plan Available to New Public School Teachers
RankStateOverall Retirement Benefits Score
1South Carolina94.20%
3South Dakota78.70%
47 more rows
Jun 29, 2022

What age do female teachers retire? ›

Your Normal Pension Age (NPA) depends on which scheme your benefits are in in. Your NPA for your career average benefits is either your State Pension age or age 65 whichever is the later date. Your NPA for your final salary is 60 or 65 depending on when you entered pensionable service.

Can I teach at 70 years old? ›

You are never too old to pursue a career in teaching. I know a teacher at my past school who only taught for the first time in his 60s. The most important thing is deciding what subjects you want to teach and what grade level you would like to teach at.

Do you get paid for teacher training? ›

You would receive a salary at the same levels as a normal salaried teacher training course, i.e. commonly the lowest point on the 'unqualified teacher pay range'. All programmes will lead to QTS but the apprenticeship qualification may also include a PGCE.

How long must you study to become a teacher? ›

You may follow one of two routes in becoming a teacher, namely: a four-year Bachelor of Education degree (B. Ed.); a three-or four-year Bachelor's degree, followed by a one-year Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE). Once completed, both routes lead to classification as a professionally qualified teacher.

Do teachers live the longest? ›

An apple a day. Nationwide, Teachers have the longest average lifespan of any public employee, according to the Society of Actuaries. Men who teach live on average until nearly 88 years old, while women who teach live on average to be 90, according to a Society of Actuaries study.

Is it too late to become a teacher at 45? ›

Not at all! Three years ago I went back to school to get my credential and met many people in their 40s and 50s. They wanted to become a teacher as well. For some, it was new found interest that they wanted to pursue and try out,for others it was an aspiration they had put off until that moment.

How long does the average teacher last? ›

Years of teaching experience and grade level taughtTotalSuburban
Average number of years14.314.0
Years of teaching experience
34 more rows

What is the hardest part being a teacher? ›

One of the hardest aspects of teaching is that you only have them for a short period of time to prepare them for the next level. You do the best you can when you have them, but in the scope of things, you have only a small amount to give them what they need.

What is the most difficult thing as a teacher? ›

10 Challenges Of Teaching & How To Overcome Them
  1. Understanding the different learning challenges amongst students. ...
  2. Student family problems & bullying. ...
  3. Lack of funding. ...
  4. Lack of effective communication. ...
  5. Being encouraging and motivating under challenging times. ...
  6. Disciplining students. ...
  7. Endless paperwork & extended working hours.

What is the hardest thing about becoming a teacher? ›

Many said they struggle with the emotional burden of teaching children going through difficulties at home. Other issues include having parents berate them for their child's bad grades, and constantly needing to teach to a standardized test.

What is a good GPA for a teacher? ›

Applying for Teacher Education Programs

I've found that most schools require at least a 2.75, but the exact GPA varies.

What states are easiest to get a teaching job? ›

For a teacher willing to relocate, there are schools that are hiring now. In most states, there is a severe need for bilingual, ESL, special education, math and science credentials.
The 10 Best States To Find A Teaching Job
  1. North Dakota. ...
  2. Alaska. ...
  3. Illinois. ...
  4. Florida. ...
  5. Arizona. ...
  6. Connecticut. ...
  7. Alabama. ...
  8. Arkansas.

Who are the highest paid teachers? ›

Highest-Paid Teachers By State
RankStateAverage Teacher Salary
3New York$57,919
46 more rows
Dec 4, 2022

Do teachers make a good living? ›

Yes, educators absolutely do and can live well on a teacher's salary. It's all about what you value. If after reading this post you feel that teaching is not the best career choice for you, that's fine. It's good to know what you want vs.

How much do most teachers make a month? ›

As of Mar 7, 2023, the average monthly pay for a Teacher in the United States is $2,743 a month. While ZipRecruiter is seeing monthly salaries as high as $4,500 and as low as $1,292, the majority of Teacher salaries currently range between $2,000 (25th percentile) to $3,083 (75th percentile) across the United States.

How often do teachers move up the pay scale? ›

Teachers are awarded a pay rise when the pay scales and allowances are updated. Each September, teachers on the main pay scale move to the next point on the scale, subject to satisfactory performance, and may even advance by two points if their performance is excellent.

How should teachers dress up? ›

Most school policies explain that teachers should wear an innovative business or professional attire. This will often involve wearing smart suits or different jacket/trouser/skirt combinations with formal footwear. Male teachers may also be required to wear ties or jackets when outside the classroom.

Why am I suited to be a teacher? ›

Your excellent communication and interpersonal skills. Your strong work ethic and dedication to students. Your innovative and enthusiastic approach to teaching. Your passion for helping students learn and grow.

What is the motto of teacher? ›

Teachers have three loves: love of learning, love of learners, and the love of bringing the first two loves together. Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today. I am not a teacher, but an awakener. The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery.

What personality type is a teacher? ›

ENFJs are sometimes referred to as Teacher personalities because of their interest in helping others develop and grow.

What are the 3 indicators of a great teacher? ›

Top 5 Qualities of Effective Teachers, According to Teachers
  • Ability to develop trusting, productive relationships. The most frequent response is that a great teacher develops relationships with students. ...
  • Patient, caring, kind. ...
  • Knowledge of learners. ...
  • Dedication to teaching. ...
  • Subject matter knowledge.

What are the 5 qualities of a good teacher? ›

Characteristics of a good teacher.
  • Patient and approachable. They say that 'patience is a virtue', and this couldn't be more true for teachers. ...
  • Enthusiastic. ...
  • Strong communication skills. ...
  • Strong knowledge and a solid education. ...
  • Disciplined and professional.
Mar 1, 2022

What is the easiest subject to teach? ›

10 Easiest Subjects to Teach
  • Physical Education. ...
  • Art. ...
  • Music. ...
  • Science. ...
  • Health. ...
  • Spelling. ...
  • History. There are several reasons why history is the easiest subject to teach to students. ...
  • Cooking. Cooking is an easy subject to teach to students for a number of reasons.

What state has the highest teacher shortage? ›

For the 2022-2023 school year, Michigan had the most teacher shortages in math, science, world languages, health and physical fitness, art and music, language arts, English as a second language, special education, social studies and career and technical education, according to U.S. Department of Education data.

Why is there such a teacher shortage? ›

Low pay and high stress are, and have been for many years, the major barriers to meeting the national demand for teachers. A shortage of this nature––driven by poor pay and stressful working conditions––will not be ameliorated simply by increasing the potential number of qualified teachers.

Can I train to be a teacher at 50? ›

People in their 50s make excellent teachers for many reasons. The teaching profession greatly values 'real world' experience as it benefits both students and teaching colleagues. It gives you a useful sense of perspective and insight..

Can I become teacher at age 35? ›

Yes of course, you are eligible to apply for teacher job, but you need to crack the entrance examination which is conducted by their respective state or central board. Let's see eligibility criteria to apply for teacher job.

Is 27 too old to become a teacher? ›

Is it too late to become a teacher at 27 years old? Not at all. Many teachers start later in their life. They can bring life experience with them into the classroom.

What is the age of oldest teacher and that of the youngest teacher? ›

Age of oldest teacher = 54 Years. Age of youngest teacher = 23 years. (ii) what is the range of the ages of the teachers? = 31 years.

How quickly can you train to be a teacher? ›

Full-time courses usually take three to four years, while part-time courses take four to six years. If you have undergraduate credits from previous study, you might be able to complete a course in two years.

How do I become a primary school teacher in later life? ›

If you already have a Bachelor's degree, you can choose from a number of post-graduate teacher training programmes. A common pathway to becoming a teacher later in life is to do a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE).

How do I start a teaching career at 50? ›

You'll need to use your strong suits -- life experience and learned strategies -- to land that job and begin to shape young minds.
  1. Investigate the field or school districts by substituting or working as a teacher aide. ...
  2. Go back to school to hone your skills so you're more irresistible to potential employers.

What is the best age for a teacher to retire? ›

Using 30 to 35 years of service is a good rule of thumb for comparing pensions from various states. This means that someone who enters teaching before age 25 with a bachelor's and accumulates 30 or more years of service can usually retire sometime between age 55 and 60.

What is teachers retirement age? ›

Your Normal Pension Age (NPA) depends on which scheme your benefits are in in. Your NPA for your career average benefits is either your State Pension age or age 65 whichever is the later date. Your NPA for your final salary is 60 or 65 depending on when you entered pensionable service.

Is 30 too old to start teaching? ›

The short answer is: no, it's never too late to become a teacher. But you probably want a little more reassurance than that.

Is it true you can't learn anything after 27? ›

Although you may face some extra difficulties at 30, 50 – or 90 – your brain still has an astonishing ability to learn and master many new skills, whatever your age. And the effort to master a new discipline may be more than repaid in maintaining and enhancing your overall cognitive health.

Is 25 too late to start over? ›

25 is a great age to decide what you really want to do. You're still young enough to go in any direction, and old enough to have the maturity you didn't have at 20. In that sense, you now have the opportunity to become anything you want. 1 25 Is a Great Age for a Career Change!

Who is the oldest teacher in America? ›

At 102 Years Old, America's Oldest Teacher Is As Vivacious (And Adorable!) As Ever. And she has some wonderful advice on how to achieve happiness. At 102 years old, Agnes Zhelesnik is not like many of her peers.

Who is the youngest head teacher? ›

The Stray Ferret

Lauren Simpson joined the village school as a teacher in September 2016 and became acting head when the previous headteacher left just two laters in September 2020. She secured the position of headteacher full-time in March 2021 at just 25-years-old.

What is the age of the youngest teacher in years? ›

We find that the age of the oldest teacher is 54 years and the age of the youngest teacher is 23 years.


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