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Teaching Jobs in Japan

English Teaching Jobs in Japan

A brief guide to finding jobs teaching English

The JET Program(me)

The JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching) Program (or Programme as it is also spelled), initiated in 1987, brings thousands of young people to Japan every year. In 1999, some 5,800 people from 37 countries took part in the program. By 2010 the total number of participants was down to about 4,300 though the international divesity remained. The basic requirements are given below (from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs):

Applicants must:

  • Be interested in Japan, and be ready to deepen their knowledge and appreciation of Japan after arrival.
  • Be both mentally and physically healthy.
  • Have the ability to adapt to living and office conditions that could be significantly different from those experienced in the applicant's home country.
  • Be a citizen of the country where the recruitment and selection procedures take place, on the closing day of recruitment for the year. (Except those holding Japanese nationality in the month of arrival in Japan.)
  • In principle, be under forty years of age. The main purpose of the programme is to foster ties between Japanese youth and JET participants composed of young college graduates as described above.
  • Hold at least a Bachelor's degree or obtain one.
  • Have excellent English pronunciation, rhythm, intonation and voice projection skills in addition to other standard language skills. Have good writing skills and grammar usage.
  • Not be a current or former participant of the JET programme.
  • Not have declined, without justifiable reason, a position on the JET programme after accepting an appointment as a participant.
  • Not have lived in Japan for three or more years in total during the last ten years.

In addition to the above, applicants from non-English speaking countries must have a functional command of English or Japanese. Successful applicants are expected to make an effort to learn or continue learning the Japanese language prior to and after arriving in Japan.

As well as positions as ALT's (Assistant Language Teachers) in public schools, the program also offers positions as SEA's (Sports Exchange Advisors) and CIR's (Coordinators for International Relations) who work at local governments around the country. Extra requirements for ALT's (or JET's as they're often called) are that they must:

  • Be interested in the Japanese education system and in the Japanese way of teaching a foreign language.
  • Be interested in working actively with students.
  • Be those who already have qualifications as language teachers or who are motivated to study the teaching of a foreign language.

Applications are made at the Japanese Embassy in your country. Suitable candidates are invited for an interview and the final results are announced by the end of March. Chosen participants arrive in Japan at the end of July. The deal is better than at the eikaiwa schools - as long as you don't hate kids! In terms of qualifications, as far as we know, a degree from a reputable online college is just fine.

Related pages:
Teaching Jobs in Japan | Eikaiwa Schools | Private Schools