I am 50 years old and plan to work in Japan when I’m 55. Would a CELTA make me more marketable?

by Cindy

Hi I love your site. I am 50 years old and plan to work in Japan when I’m 55. (I’m saving up to quit my current job). I have been told I look much younger, but I also know on paper 55 looks “old”.

Would a CELTA make me more marketable?
I am a medical Social Worker by profession, so I’m not sure about other jobs in Japan for someone who doesn’t speak Japanese. Social Work does require flexibility, educating others, and customer service, so I will investigate the eikawas.
Thank you

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Dec 03, 2019
Finding Work as a Mature Woman
by: John

Hi Cindy,
Thanks for contacting us. We are glad you found the site useful. Um... your question is a bit general but I'll do my best.
As soon as you say "mature" the first thing that will pop into the hiring managers head is "how mature"?

The second thing he/she will think is if you are in good health. They may very well ask you for medical evidence.They will more than likely require that you report problems with your medical conditions. I've seen 40 year olds who look like they were thrown into a meat grinder and 60 year olds who look like they are 40.

If you are fit and your doctor says your good to go then you're good to go. And to shed a bit of reality on this cover your butt thing Aeon, JET and company mechanically do, they should just eat this:

Tzou WS, Douglas PS, Srinivasan SR, et al. Increased subclinical atherosclerosis in young adults with metabolic syndrome: the Bogalusa Heart Study.

What does this study say? Kids with clogged arteries in their hearts. Yup 7 year olds careening towards their first heart attack.
Heck, I have sore knees. Does this mean I can't teach kindergarten?

About your maturity and your expertise - eikaiwa is considered an entry level position so get set to smash your head on the glass ceiling. Not to waffle but large eikaiwas generally don't hire mature women so much. There are many reasons and most are as shallow as a birdbath.

Now, smaller eikaiwas will and do employ mature women because they want emotional maturity in their teaching staff. So when you say "eikaiwas" you're really talking about a broad spectrum. Want some interesting reading on market breadth?
Check out this article our staff writer Drunken Billy (not his real name) wrote about market size - ESL jobs in Tokyo, this English teaching market is one big monster. Mind you this is just Tokyo.

About your CELTA question, yes it will make you more marketable. But you don't need to spend so much money on teaching certification. Mytefl 120 Hour TEFL has a good accredited course with a practicum (hands on experience doing actual teaching for a fraction of the price. Well recognized and it will open doors for you. And definitely give you an edge.)

Regarding your other question about Japanese speaking ability, take this quote from their official site and shred it.

" Japanese language experience is helpful for daily life, but not necessary. Teachers speak English at the schools."

Not studying the language before going over is a radically stupid idea. As long as you are cutting out the cultural beauty of Japan, its language, why stop there? Cut out sushi, karaoke, meeting fun and wonderful people, eating unique foods and seeing breath taking temples and shrines.

You could study 6 months there and not spend a dime. Then when you need a tutor to answer questions they will hook you up in their dirt cheap yet high quality programs. Their basic plan is only $8 a month. Unlimited usage. Free lessons, free pod casts etc. JapanesePod101.com - Learn Japanese with Free Daily Podcasts Definitely worth checking out.

You have 5 years of prep time. My advice to you is to get on it right now. The language is radically different from English and will take time to master. You have time. Many don't.

And lastly you have other skills there are things you can do in Japan besides teach English as I am assuming that with your maturity comes experience and value in your time. You may be selling yourself short. In short yes you can find work. And because your background is in social work you have the skill set that makes great teachers.

Don't worry about your age - you got what it takes.

My apologies for the length of the e-mail.

Best of luck,


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