TEFL jobs in Japan
Private language schools are big TEFL employers in Japan. There are numerous chain companies that hire across the country, and with all materials provided, it’s a great choice for new teachers. Eikaiwa is the name given to English conversation schools where students go for classes after school or on the weekend. Another popular choice for newbies is the JET Program – assistant language teachers might be in one school or, more likely, travel often between several, providing assistance to local teachers in the classroom. Working at a public school is often arranged through another company (such as Interac) but some will hire privately, and you’ll be hired directly if you apply to an international or bilingual institute.
Experienced, professional teachers can struggle with some positions in Japan, where making money for the business is valued above academic excellence. There are also all sorts of cultural customs you’ll have to get used to – the strict hierarchy, bowing, always agreeing with your boss, doing what you’re told, ticking the boxes… Japan is a place where traditions and customs don’t bend easily, and you’ll get much further being likeable, compliant, and respectful than trying to buck the trend.
Where to find work in Japan
Working at a private language school (eikaiwa) in Japan, most will provide flight reimbursement, health insurance, pension, social insurance, and local travel reimbursement. Some provide accommodation (at a cost) or can assist in finding somewhere to rent. For some jobs, you’re required to hold a driving licence to travel between corporate gigs and schools. If you’re finding it hard to get interviews without being in the country, see if you qualify for a working holiday visa – it’s a great way to get into the country and give you time to find work, and your employee can switch your visa once you start working full-time, or you can use the working holiday if you’re just doing part-time work. Another good way in would be on a short-term contract in Tokyo, then you can find something elsewhere in the country once you have your feet on the ground.
Employers in Japan
AEON has hundreds of school branches across Japan. Work 40-hours a week (25 teaching hours), teaching adults, kids, and even ‘parent and baby’ classes. You need a degree, and it’s beneficial to have a TEFL and teaching experience. 275,000 Yen per month, housing provided at a cost of 55,000 Yen per month.
Amity has over 80 branches in Japan, teaching kids aged 6 months to 15 years.
For a list of highly-rated bilingual or international schools in Tokyo, visit the Good School Guide.
ECC provides lessons for kids (and babies, from 18 months plus) and adults. You’ll work 35-hour weeks, pay is 270,000 Yen per month, and contracts are for one year.
Gaijin Pot is a great place to find current listings for jobs in Japan. Note that many positions require you to already live in Japan to apply.
Similar to the JET Program, at Interac you’ll be an Assistant Language Teacher working in elementary, junior high, and high schools. You’ll teach around 20-25 classes of about 45 minutes per week. You need a degree. Salary starts at 2.4 million yen per year.
The JET Programme is popular with new teachers – you need a degree and they prefer candidates who have never lived/worked in Japan but have a keen interest in the country. Those with years of previous teaching experience will find the ALT role stifling and frustrating. Work 35-hours per week (plus some weekend events) for a 1-year contract, earn 3.36 million yen in your first year (around 280,000 yen per month). See our post for more info about the programme.
Visit The TEFL Org Jobs Centre to see listings of current job opportunities in Japan.
Westgate offers 3 to 7-month contracts teaching in universities and elementary schools. Starting salaries range from 260,000 – 280,000 Yen per month, depending on experience. Accommodation can be provided at a monthly cost of ¥81,000.
Part of the Yaruki Switch Group, Winbe English is a large chain with branches across Japan. You’ll be teaching kids and so prior experience is beneficial. Comprehensive initial training program provided. Salary starts at 250,000 Yen per month, working 8-hours a day, usually Tuesday – Saturday.