How to Look for Teaching Work in Japan

Looking for teaching work in Japan is competitive and hard work in itself. If you really want to proceed, however, be ready for a lot of effort and perseverance. Oh, and be patient too.


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    Join the JET Program.
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    Hope to get in. Regarding participating countries, the Jet program recruits the greatest number of teachers from the U.S. with a whopping 2879 recruits in 2006. More on participating countries and do's and don'ts in the Jet application process at
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    If JET doesn't work out for you, try one of the major English schools, like Aeon, Geos, or ECC They are always looking for new recruits. But keep in mind that these companies generally offer entry level positions.
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    There are also job postings to be found on the Internet at places like - lots of English teaching jobs. The free electronic newsletter O-Hayo Sensei -- -- reports 100+ currently available positions every two weeks; it's available by email or ftp. Also, do a search for "EFL job Japan" and see what you can find.
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    Freelance teaching is another option if you want to earn some extra money and have more flexibility. It is normally done through teacher-student matching websites where you can make an online teaching profile for any language including English, French, Spanish, German, Italian and many more. Lessons are normally conducted in coffee shops and restaurant but can also be done at the teacher or student's home.
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    Additional search items are "jobs in japan", "jobs overseas", "teach English in Japan"


  • JET = Japanese Exchange and Teaching
  • Almost anyone who hires you will sponsor your work visa. Some times, but not all the time, the company you hired for will pay your fare to and from Japan, but not always. Several of the Big Three Japanese English schools require you to get to Japan on your own dime.
  • JET is one of the most renowned programs for teaching English in Japan, but there are also several companies that regularly recruit English teachers from around the world (see above). The benefits and support usually aren't as good as with the JET Program, but the opportunity is there if you want it.
  • Interviewers are on the lookout for people with approachable personalities, good spoken English and a high level of adaptability, among other things.
  • Private schools and small hiring companies like ALTAI may provide you with a higher salary and an overall better situation than larger companies can guarantee you. Their needs may also be more specific, and they may be searching for people with more qualifications than the average JET teacher.
  • Before you decide to take any job in Japan, take a look around the internet and see what comments you can find about others who've taken the same sort of job. Recruiters for the big English schools have a reputation for making things seem rosier than they really are. You will do yourself a favor if you research the good, the bad and the ugly before consenting to anything.


  • Be aware that JET will make the selections on where you'll be stationed. It is a very real possibility that you'll be put in a rural location. Although JET pays quite a bit more than Aeon, Geos and ECC, be aware that despite being a government backed program they are not without their problems.
  • Don't apply to the JET Program or for jobs in public schools unless you're willing to take your job seriously. If you're just looking for a vacation in Japan, take a job where you won't be interfering with the education of children.
  • The JET program is quite competitive. Don't worry and don't take it personally if you aren't accepted. The decisions can seem arbitrary at times, and it does happen that perfectly qualified people don't get accepted, for reasons that are rarely clear. Interviews are usually the applicant and three interviewers. New York, Washington and Los Angeles have the highest number of applications, but also the highest number of spots to send. However, Tokyo has the final say in all postings. The rumour that it is easier to get a spot through less used consulates has not been proven.

Things You'll Need

  • In the United States, applicants to the JET Program are required to have a four-year college degree, be under age 40, and have an interest in Japan. That's about it. TEFL/TESOL certification is not necessary. Interviews take place at Japanese embassies around the country. However A TEFL / TESOL certification is highly encouraged to get to the top of the list of candidates.

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Categories: Teaching