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Home / Teach English in Japan: The complete Guide for TEFL Teachers | Reviewed May 2022

TEFL Jobs In Japan

Overview

Would you like to teach English in Japan? Japan is one of those TEFL destinations where ex-pats are often stumped. Many TEFL students expect jaw-dropping technology, futuristic experiences, and robots around every turn when they visit the Land of the Rising Sun. The truth is that much of Japan’s modern technology has become obsolete, and while you can surely locate a robot or two, it’s more of a tourist attraction than a day-to-day experience. The spectacular landscapes of natural beauty, the immaculate countryside and humble abodes of the inhabitants, and a country rich in history, tradition, and culture will leave you more amazed when you teach English in Japan, mainly once you leave the capital.

Japan’s incredible blend of old and new has a long-lasting attraction for both new and experienced TEFL teachers. Despite its busy modern cities, Japan is anything but cosmopolitan, and while English is now taught in schools, proficiency is not high. As a result, English teachers in Japan are in high demand, and you can find work all around the country. Jobs range from ‘English assistant’ positions, where you’ll feel like a human CD accompanying the textbook, to independent kindergartens and bilingual schools, where you’ll have the opportunity to pursue academic success.

Adult business English classes are in high demand, as are children’s classes. As a result, there are opportunities for everyone. So, no matter where you are on your TEFL journey, you can find a way to visit if Japan appeals to you.

Types of teaching jobs in Japan

The JET programme

Since the late 1980s, the Japanese government has run the JET programme. JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching) is an acronym for Japan Exchange and Teaching. In public schools in Japan, native English speakers are employed as Assistant Language Teachers. JETs typically work 35 hours a week, Monday through Friday. To be considered, you must have a bachelor’s degree; this is a requirement to teach English in Japan. The hiring schedule differs depending on the applicant’s home country.

Private language schools 

Companies like AEON and ECC are always on the lookout for qualified teachers. Many of these jobs demand you to work long hours, and some of them will require you to work nights and weekends. You are more likely to be placed in a large city with these private companies than with JET. To teach English in Japan’s programs you must have a bachelor’s degree. The hiring calendar differs from firm to organisation.

Public schools

Some public schools hire teachers privately or through companies like Interac. Workweeks of 30 to 35 hours are typical. The amount of time off you are entitled to depends on who hired you. Some public schools prefer teachers who have completed a CELTA/TEFL course and/or have prior teaching experience. You can apply for work at any time of year, although the busiest hiring season is from January to April.

Private tutoring

Many foreign nationals teach individual classes, often one-on-one with students at cafes. There are no prerequisites for this position, so you can teach English in Japan without a degree this way. However, you must ensure that any job you conduct is compatible with your immigration status. Large cities provide more potential business, especially those wishing to pursue this as a full-time profession.

When and where to look for TEFL Japan jobs

Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya are the three largest cities in Japan, and they are home to a considerable number of foreign teachers. As a result, these cities’ job markets are highly competitive. However, if you are ready to be flexible and explore chances elsewhere, you will find a vast array of options throughout the country. Jobs are available on Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu, the four main islands. Many of these positions are listed online and accept applicants from all over the world.

Work visa 

In general, if you want to be an English teacher in Japan, you’ll need a working visa. A number of language schools will sponsor your visa application. A bachelor’s degree is usually required to obtain a working visa. Some nations also allow you to apply for a working vacation visa, which permits you to teach part-time. Finally, if your contracting organisation sponsors your teaching in Japan, you can go on a tourist visa and then change to a working visa once you are there.

How to Teach English in japan: Qualifications

A bachelor’s degree is required for any official teaching position in Japan. However, some public schools and private recruiters prefer candidates with a CELTA/TEFL Japan qualification and/or previous teaching experience. Although Japanese language skills are not needed, they can help you get a better-paying job.

Salary 

The average wage for teaching English in Japan varies depending on the position. If you enter without teaching experience, you may expect to earn between 2.5 million and 3.5 million yen (about €21-31,000) per year. Those with prior teaching experience and/or a TEFL certification can earn more money.

Work Culture

While teaching English in Japan, you’ll be exposed to a distinct culture, work environment, and social conventions, such as bowing, gift-giving, and complimenting manners. It will take some getting used to, and no one will expect you to get it perfect the first time, but you will be expected to try. Also, keep in mind that the Japanese work environment is professional and punctual. Therefore, you should examine if you would feel at ease in that setting.

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LIVING COSTS

Tokyo, in particular, has a reputation for being an expensive city to live in, with even a working couple struggling to find more than a leased room with shared kitchen facilities. However, once you leave the metropolis, Japan becomes highly affordable. Some chain schools pay the same regardless of which branch you attend, so you can live like a king on ‘Tokyo wages’ in a tiny city or town. It’s also important to know where you’re going.

You can get a good deal on fruit, vegetables, meat, and seafood in local markets, and you can get some good deals at supermarkets after eight o’clock at night. When dining out, look for great lunch specials, which are frequently half the price of evening menus, and choose affordable ‘family restaurants’ to stretch your dollar further. When you shop wisely in Japan, you can save a significant amount of money each month.

The cost of transportation can add up quickly if you commute every day, but many employers will cover the cost of your travel card. If you live in a city with a city tram, as well as local train lines, they are generally relatively inexpensive to use – it’s only when you use the metro or go by bullet train on a regular basis that rates skyrocket. Renting is extremely expensive in Tokyo, but it is far more inexpensive in smaller cities, with decent discounts available on the fringes of bustling districts. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to get a large apartment because space is scarce.

The cost of living below is taken from Numbeo.com, the world’s largest cost of living comparison website.

  • Accommodation: €797-€1470
  • Utilities: €145
  • Meal for 2 People, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course: $36
  • Health insurance: Cost of a typical visit to a GP: €85
  • Monthly transport pass: €62
  • Basic dinner out for two: €26
  • Cappuccino (regular): €2.61
  • A beer in a pub: €3.66
  • 1 litre of milk: €1.24

TEFL Jobs In Japan: KEY POINTS

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AVERAGE SALARY

220,000–280,000 Yen

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EDUCATION NEEDED

Prerequisite university degree

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TEFL CERTIFICATE NEEDED

120 Hour TEFL Certificate

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MAIN JOB TYPES

The JET programme

KEY FACTS

  • Popular locations for TEFL jobs: Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Fukuoka, Nagoya, Yokohama, Nagasaki, Sapporo, and Sendai
  • The average salary for EFL teachers: The basic monthly salary for full-time positions is likely to be in the region of 220,000–280,000 Yen (£1,600–£2,000/€2,000–€2,450) per month. 250,000 Yen (£1,820/€2,390) is a standard rate. International school jobs may pay as much as 600,000 Yen (£4,360 /€5,330) per month. Freelance or part-time hourly rates start at 2,000 Yen (£14/€16) per hour, up to 6,000 Yen (£44/€55) per hour.
  • TEFL qualification requirements: At least a 120-hour TEFL qualification
  • Education requirement: Prerequisite university degree
  • Term times: In April, the Japanese school year begins. The first term lasts until roughly July 20th, when summer break begins. Early September marks the start of the second term, which lasts until around December 25. Early January marks the beginning of the final term, which will last until late March.
  • Currency: Yen(¥)
  • Language: Japanese
  • Previous teaching experience: Useful but not necessary for most jobs

While Japan may not be precisely what you expect, preconceptions about its students are accurate: the average Japanese student is introverted, quiet, humble about their abilities, and brilliant at reading and writing but unwilling to talk and voice comments. Teaching children can be a lot of fun, but adult classes can be difficult if the pupils refuse to speak up! However, there are always kids that defy the pattern, and a lot depends on the class dynamics. Students in Japan expect their teachers to be formal, respectful, and professional and encourage and support their learning without being overbearing.

Compared to your previous teaching experience, Japan has a plethora of unconventional teaching opportunities. For example, you can be given a job teaching English to bartenders so that they can attract more foreign customers. You might be offered a one-time job teaching Christmas carols to children in a non-bilingual kindergarten so that they can perform them at a Christmas talent show. You might teach ‘parent and baby lessons’ at your private language school, where you’re educating someone who doesn’t even understand Japanese. When presented with such a lesson, the best thing to do is laugh it off and go with the flow — that’s simply part of the job in Japan.

Facts about Teach English in Japan: The complete Guide for TEFL Teachers | Reviewed May 2022

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LANGUAGE

Japanese

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POPULATION

125 million

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TEFL TEACHERS DEMAND

High

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CURRENCY

Japanese yen (¥)

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CAPITAL

Tokyo

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OUR SPAIN TEFL RATING

3.8/5

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TEFL Jobs In Japan: FAQS

Q:

What are the requirements for teaching in Japan?

The specific requirements will vary depending on the school, but most programmes will require a Bachelor’s degree and a clean criminal record. As well as a minimum of 120 hours of TEFL qualification.

English teachers, particularly native speakers or those with native-level fluency, are in high demand in Japan.

To teach English in Japan, you don’t need any prior knowledge of the language. Many of the teaching programmes, in fact, provide free Japanese classes to teachers.

Depending on the type of school you work for, you may expect to earn anywhere from €1,500 to €5,000 per month as an English teacher in Japan.

When thinking about teaching English in Japan, think about where you’d like to work, what type of school you’d like to teach in, and what age group you’d like to work with. After that, you can start applying for employment on job boards, through recruitment agencies, or by contacting certain institutions directly. Check out our jobs board here!

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