Ultimate Guide to Teaching Jobs in Japan

Teaching English in Japan

So you want to start teaching in Japan?

This article is part of our series on finding a job in Japan and Tokyo

You've come to the right place! We cover just about everything you need to know, so unless you have a very specific and unusual teaching request, you'll find all the information right here in our Ultimate Guide to Teaching Jobs in Japan.

When you think of teaching jobs, you might first think of the major English conversation schools, but most foreigners are actually employed to teach at regular public schools. We'll cover the ten most common types of teaching jobs in this post, so buckle up, kids. We're going on a field trip!

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Guide to English teaching jobs in Japan

This post covers all the teaching jobs in Japan and Tokyo. Learn about what English teachers do in various schools, how much the positions pay, and where to find those teaching jobs. You can click on the link to skip to that section.

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    Assistant Language Teacher in Japan

    Teaching Children in Japan

    There are many ESL jobs in Japan for teaching children, and you can have a great time while making a living. Full-time teaching positions are relatively easy to find because the demand for English is not going away anytime soon. Teaching is a great place to start your career in Japan when you don't have the N3 level Japanese Proficiency or massive computer programming skills. It pays a decent wage and offers some great opportunities.

    What are the requirements to be an ALT?

    This will come as a surprise to some, but you can teach English to children at a public school in Japan with a University degree in a field unrelated to education. You're not in charge of the class but rather are teamed with a licensed Japanese teacher. Ergo, you don't need a Japanese teacher's license, education degree, or master's degree. Another surprise is that over half of the English teachers here in Japan are ALTs and number about 10,000 - 13,000. 

    Specific requirements will vary between schools, and you, of course, will want to ensure that the school or teacher dispatch agency meets your requirements for an employer. But the base entry level is a completed education at a higher-learning institution, primarily because you must have a degree to get an instructor's visa. This instructor visa allows you to work in a Japanese public and private school, and you may have to change your visa type to instructor in order to work there.

    Japanese public school ALT schedules

    Most public schools start around 8:30 AM and finish around 3:30 PM. Depending on the region, there will be several days a week where the students finish earlier than 3:30 PM. For example, most days will have six periods, but one or two days where there are only five periods. Please note that this only applies for the children, because you will probably be required to stay until 4:30 or 5:00 PM, regardless of the students' schedule.

    On a side note, first and second graders often get to leave earlier than the older children. Again, regional variances apply.

    Public junior and senior high schools start around the same time as elementary schools in Japan, and sometimes a little earlier. Once lessons are done, students usually remain at school and participate in club activities organized by the school and managed by one teacher. Clubs range from sports, music and the arts, to educational themes. You sometimes have a kendo club, sumo club, judo club, or even board games club which students actively participate in.

    Benefits of teaching as an ALT in Japan

    There are several major benefits to teaching as an assistant language teacher at a public elementary school in Japan. The main benefit is that you are essentially a celebrity to the children. You're likely to be the only foreign adult, and children are very curious and will want to know more about you. Some schools let you sit with the children during lunch. For the kids, this is often a special moment.

    The second benefit of being an ALT in Japan is the push you'll get to quickly improve your Japanese. You'll need to communicate with your co-workers; the more Japanese you speak, the smoother things will go. This is the best out of all the English teaching jobs in Japan to improve your Japanese speaking skills.

    The third major benefit are the school vacations, which can last up to one month in summer and two weeks in winter. Some companies will require you to work during the break while others make you “kinda” work, so be sure to check out the requirements for the break during the interview.

    The fourth major benefit is saving money. School lunch is around 250 - 300 yen and is filling, so you will have a somewhat healthy meal while keeping funds in your pocket.

    The main benefit to being an ALT at a public junior high school is that you get to experience a part of Japanese culture that most outsiders never see. You can see the school club atmosphere and the relationships between people based on seniority and the focus on doing things together. This development of culture and social interaction reveals much of the heart of Japanese society, which is frequently baffling to Westerners. 

    The second benefit is that you can have a big impact on certain students. You won't be able to mentor all of your students, but you can answer many of their questions about foreign cultures and hopefully find those who are truly interested in life outside the empire. In the future global society, it will be critical to have a broad viewpoint, and you can instill that in your students.

    The third benefit is that vacation periods are similar to the elementary schools, and you often have additional down time. Most public schools will not have you teaching more than 4 lessons a day, so you have a lot of time to prepare for your lessons, offer assistance to the other English teachers, and talk to students and Japanese staff.

    Challenges for an ALT in Japan

    The biggest challenge when teaching in public elementary schools is managing your health and energy. Teaching five to six lessons, plus eating lunch with the children, and sometimes playing with them during recess is exhausting. You will often come home worn out. Also, ALTs in elementary schools tend to get sick more often than other English teachers because of the proximity to kids who have a cold or the flu.

    The second challenge as an ALT in Japan is for people who are ambitious and always want to improve their work skills. You may get bored after a few years of teaching.

    The third challenge is that the children may do or say things you don't like. Anything that is unique or different will definitely be mentioned. Children will point it out excess weight and may even poke you gently in the stomach. If you have a large bottom, the children will comment on it, and some adventurous six-year-olds may even try to touch yours. If you are a man, you may be kancho’d. You'll have to look up what a kancho is.

    There are two main challenges, and the first is boredom. Elementary schools keep you super active and involved to the point you want to sleep the moment you get home. Junior high schools generally keep you so inactive that you may question why you are there at all. Teachers who are not proactive in reaching out to the teachers or learning from other ALTs on how to be given more responsibility may want to die of boredom. I enjoyed the freedom in my schedule, but I had to go out of my way to learn the textbook and proactively share ideas with the teachers. I also made extra effort to speak to other teachers and assist with the club activities.

    The second main challenge is that you may be placed at a school with students who do not follow the rules. They may swear at you and make fun of you, and you just have to accept it. 95% or more of schools are fine with a few punks, but 3% or less can be chaotic and have an issue with bullying.

    ALT public school salaries in Japan

    There are two types of English teachers at a Japanese public school: the teacher who is directly hired by the board of education or city and the teacher who works for a company who is contracted to introduce teachers to public schools.

    English teacher direct-hires are usually brought in through the JET program, which is run by the national government, or hired by the municipality itself. JET program teachers are only hired from overseas and have a limit of five years. Teachers hired directly by the city usually have one-year renewable contracts and are eligible for permanent employment after working five years consecutively.

    The monthly salaries for municipal direct-hires usually start around JPY260,000 - JPY300,000 and go up to JPY350,000, depending on the budget of the area. The JET program starts at JPY280,000 and goes up to around JPY320,000.

    Teachers hired by intermediary ("dispatch") companies start with lower salaries than direct-hire teachers. According to GlassDoor, teachers who work for Heart Corporation start from around JPY214,000, and teachers who work for Interac start from around JPY240,000 and go up to JPY270,000.

    What are the English teaching materials like?

    The base lesson content in public elementary schools for 1st and 2nd graders is left to the judgement of school or language teacher. The schools use a textbook made by the national government called “Let’s try” for third and fourth graders and a book titled “We Can!” for the fifth and sixth grades.

    Junior high schools will use one of several textbooks approved by the national government, normally an English-produced textbook series called New Horizon or New Crown. All teachers must finish the book by the end of the school year, and ALTs will be asked to come up with activities to help the English teacher review the content in a fun way or do an English lesson to provide students a break from the grind.

    Here are some lesson plan ideas:

    Do they hire non-native English speakers in Japan?

    Many public elementary schools offer full-time ESL jobs in Japan for non-native English speakers. I managed areas where the ratio was around 50% native-speaking and 50% non-native-speaking teachers. These positions are offered through dispatch companies like INTERAC and HEART in the greater Tokyo metropolitan area.

    Most public junior high schools have a strong preference for native speakers. Some people from non-English speaking countries may be considered if they have a neutral accent. The textbooks focus on native accents, and that is the standard pronunciation for schools.

    Where can I find ALT positions in Japan?

    Please note that a majority of the public school teaching positions are not direct-hire but through intermediary companies who hire new teachers. Direct-hire positions are usually reserved for veteran teachers and normally come through your network. However, you might get headhunted after working in the city as a dispatch-teacher. Here's one direct-hire teacher talking about his experiences and how he stood out.

    For the JET program, you can find all the information on their site.

    For work in a public school through dispatch agencies, you can find lots of active positions through the website Jobs in Japan.

    If you are interested in learning more about the companies, here are some major players in the industry.


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    Private School English Teacher

    In terms of career potential and salary, a teaching position at a private school is one of the top positions you can get as a full-time English teacher in Tokyo. This section will focus on JHS and SHS positions; Elementary positions at private schools are more likely to be ALT positions.

    The requirements for private school positions vary based on the school you apply to. Most schools will require you to have a teacher’s license in your home country, while others may require only a TESOL certificate from a valid organization or CELTA. The general rule of thumb is that the more requirements they have, the higher the salary will be.

    Teaching Degrees

    What are a private school English teacher duties in Japan?

    A private school teacher is directly hired by the school to teach English as a second language or, if it is an international school, a traditional school subject. They have private school positions for elementary, junior, and senior high school, although most positions are for junior and senior high school students.

    The major difference between teaching at a private school and public school is that you are the primary teacher and not an assistant. You may even be a homeroom teacher at a private school in charge of one class. You will be responsible for planning and teaching all of your lessons, assigning and correcting homework, and grading your students. Full-time private school English teachers are expected to assist in after-school clubs and events, speech contests, applications to foreign universities, and join school faculty meetings.

    The normal work schedule is Monday to Friday, but sometimes there will be special events on the weekend that you'll need to attend, like school festivals or competitions. You'll also teach five to seven lessons each day with around twenty to thirty students per class. The maximum size for classes is usually around forty students.

    What are the benefits and challenges of private schools?

    If you are passionate about teaching, private schools are your chance to live your life mission. You'll be in charge of a class and be directly involved in the growth and development of your students. You won't be an outsider like you would at a public school, where you're usually teaching at multiple schools, but be highly involved at just one school. You'll have a lot of responsibility, and your students will show their appreciation. Some even come back years later to thank you!

    The main challenges with English teaching jobs in Japan at a private school are the children giving you a headache (both real and figurative) and the politics between faculty members. You may have some student issues, but normally nothing like the ones you'd expect to have at a public school. Children from private schools usually come from more stable homes; the issues are more often verbal bullying rather than actual delinquents in your classroom. Politics can involve a divide between the foreign and Japanese staff or competition between a drama king or queen in the foreigner department. Some people are overly negative and make any workplace uncomfortable.

    Another challenge is the commitment required. You may be asked to take the children on an overseas trip on the weekend or be required to do something on your normal days off. You may also receive added work if you are running a school group or managing the other foreign teachers. Management positions can be a headache when you have a teacher who is having a hard time adjusting to Japan.

    Do private schools in Japan hire non-native speakers?

    The question here is more about your credentials as a English teacher. Even a native speaker without the required teaching credentials or master’s degree will not get the position. Some schools may have a preference for an English native-speaker, but there are places that hire native-level English speakers from non-English-speaking countries who have the necessary prerequisites.

    Where can I find private school teacher positions?

    You can find some English teaching positions (and more information) on websites like Gaijin Pot and Jobs in Japan. Below are some additional sites that post private teaching positions.

    I talked about this in my other article, 22 Part-Time Jobs for Foreigners in Japan, but I want to highlight it again because I love the mission of the company and personally know teachers at One Coin English that absolutely love teaching there. Anyway, One Coin English, a language school with over 10 branches throughout Tokyo, is currently offering part-time jobs for teachers (including paid training and colleagues from 30+ countries). Read more about that offer here.

    Teach kids ESL

    Kids Eikaiwa Teacher

    There are ESL jobs in Japan with schools and programs for children run by private companies or individuals. These schools focus on teaching only English to children and occasionally teenagers. You won't have any adult students in these classes.

    What is working at an English school for kids like?

    Your job would be to teach English to children from three to twelve years of age. Depending on the school, you might teach classes for children under three or students in junior and senior high school. You'll need to dance, sing, and be an energetic playmate for the little ones, and you'll teach the teenagers English conversation or assist them with their preparation for English tests like EIKEN or TOEIC.

    Your hours will vary depending on where you work. Programs that target children under three years old will normally schedule you from 9:00 or 10:00 AM to 5:00 or 6:00 PM. You'd teach the super young ones until around 1:00 PM, the kindergartners until 3:00 PM, and then the elementary school kids after 3:00 PM.

    Schools that target junior and senior high school students will probably have you teaching from 11:00 AM to 8:00 or 1:00 PM to 10:00 PM. You'd teach children at essentially the same times mentioned above, but you'd teach the junior high school and above students after 6:00 PM.

    Benefits and challenges of teaching English at kid's Eikaiwa

    The main benefit is the children. The majority of your students will be sweethearts; pretty much all the things mentioned above apply here as well. You sometimes get magical classes where the students are amazing and very interested in learning English. If you work at a school for more than 2 years, you will get to see the child grow and mature and improve their English. I had two students whom I taught for 18 months when they were in elementary school, and I was impressed that they still had perfect English pronunciation when I met them in their high school years. 

    The challenges are much the same as listed above, but one helpful difference is that you usually have a Japanese support person at English schools for kids. Having a supporter can be a benefit or a challenge, depending on the person. If you have unruly children, the staff may or may not support you with keeping the children focused. If you establish a good rapport with the staff, you'll have a better helper.

    What are the teaching materials like?

    Any place that can afford to hire a full-time English teacher will usually have teaching materials or a curriculum to follow. The larger the chain or organization you work for, the more likely they are to have materials. This can be awesome if you have no idea what you are doing when you first start, but if you are a veteran teacher, you might find having to use their materials restrictive on your creativity.

    Many mom-and-pop places started with the mom or pop teaching all the lessons and developing a hodgepodge curriculum. These materials can also be a blessing or disaster. The founders may not be open to feedback for improving their personally-developed curriculum, or they might be disorganized and not have anything for you to use at all. Always ask about materials during your English teacher interviews.

    What is the pay for kid's school teachers?

    ESL jobs in Japan at a kid's eikaiwa school normally start around 240,000 yen and go to 270,000 yen. Some companies offer a completion bonus for finishing your work contract, but not all. Many schools also provide housing support, for which you pay the rent but they find a furnished place for you. In these cases, they will also pay the high move-in costs, which are often USD 1,500 or more.

    Do they hire non-native English speakers?

    Mom-and-pop organizations are usually willing to give a non-native English speaker a chance. Big schools normally have a preference for native speakers because they advertised that to customers and charge high tuition for the perceived quality.

    Where can I find these positions

    Below are some of the major corporations that run hundreds of schools for children.

    Another good resource to find jobs is by looking through job boards. Since we want to help you find your dream job in Japan, we've created this guide on Job Boards just for you. Check it out!

    Teach Adults English

    Teaching Adults in Japan

    English conversation schools (Eikaiwa)

    There are two types of English conversation schools. The first one caters to adults and children, and the other focus on adults. Most of the mom-and-pop schools and many of the major schools focus on both groups. These schools usually have you teach adult lessons from around 11:00 to 2:00 PM for the afternoon crowd. The focus then shifts to teaching children at 5:00 or 6:00 PM, ending with adult lessons from 7:00 PM onward for students who take lessons after work.

    Similar to business-English schools, conversation-English schools in Tokyo require instructors to wear a suit with slacks or a skirt (for women). Since the schools charge a premium price to Japanese students, teachers have to look professional. These companies also spend extra money on decent school interiors.

    The main reason most schools teach both kids and adults and not adults only is because few adults want to study in the afternoons. The homemaker crowd has to start preparing for the return of their children from school, and the working crowd is usually still on the clock. Many schools have you teaching preschool students at 2:00 PM and the elementary students at 4:00 PM. This distribution of students applies to English schools in Tokyo and all over Japan.

    What are the benefits of an Eikaiwa job?

    The best thing about teaching in adult-only schools is that you get to learn a lot about Tokyo and Japan from your students, and you won’t be physically exhausted from singing and running around all day. Another big benefit of working in an adult-only school is that you don't need to deal with misbehaving students who are forced by their parents to learn English. Most students in adult-only schools are paying their own money and genuinely want to be there. Other than the occasional odd or awkward student, you'll get along with almost all of your students.

    Adult students will teach you a lot about Japanese culture and society. Depending on your school, they may take you out for lunch or dinner. You'll find that this is crucial for your sanity if you live away from a central location like Tokyo. I learned a ton about Japanese culture from my students, and going out every week with them help me deal with the homesickness I felt when I came to Japan.

    Salaries for English conversation teachers

    Most of the English teaching jobs in Japan for adults pay really nice salaries of over JPY255,000. Depending on the company, they may also offer social insurance or generous completion bonuses of more than $1000 for finishing your one year contract. Compared to other English teaching jobs in Japan, a salary of around JPY250,000 is great.

    Something you should confirm with your school before you sign anything is how vacation time works. Per Japanese law, you have to wait at least 6 months from your start date to use your paid time off. Some schools have an arrangement where they choose how to apply five days and teachers choose the other five paid holidays. Not everyone likes this system, but schools generally apply those days just before a school holiday that's near a long vacation breaks. This allows schools to close and give both Japanese and foreign staff a decently long vacation.

    What are the teaching materials like?

    Most of the major conversation schools and many of the smaller chains have good in-house-developed textbooks and teacher manuals. I used to work at one of the major schools, and although you had use printouts from the teacher manual, the material itself was really good. The teacher manuals had a ton of ideas and covered 80 - 90% of what I needed for my lessons. I recommend asking in the interview if they provide a teacher manual and/or any ready-made materials to use in class.

    Most mom-and-pop schools and some smaller chains use textbooks made by major publishers. These books are mediocre in quality but will get the job done. The teacher manuals from these major textbooks are often impractical because the books are designed to be used all over the world, which makes them too difficult for Japanese students. The custom-made, in-house books usually spread the content over more levels, so the lessons are more Japanese-student appropriate.

    Do they hire non-native English speakers?

    I have seen cases where English conversation schools hired non-native speakers for English teaching jobs in Japan. However, most of those teachers had native-level English speaking skills and American or British accents. Most non-native English speaking people that I saw hired usually went to an international school as a child or lived abroad during their teenage and college years, which enabled them to speak with a neutral accent.

    For those who are non-native speakers proficient in English, conversation schools are unlikely to hire anyone with an "unapproved" accent. They charge high fees for providing native teachers, and they must deliver on their promises. Students who pay lower tuition fees don't mind teachers who are not native speakers. BFF Tokyo has a sister company that is an English school with teachers from over twenty-five countries and over 5,000 students. We have found that our students are completely fine with non-native teachers.

    You may point out that this is discrimination, but consider that almost all foreign students prefer to study Japanese with Japanese teachers because of the pronunciation factor. It actually makes some sense that the Japanese would prefer to learn from teachers with American or British accents.

    Finding a full-time English conversation teaching jobs in Japan

    You can find the mom-and-pop schools on a site like Jobs in Japan or in the Ohayou Sensei newsletter. If you are looking for a position from overseas, the major schools actively hire from overseas, as do the mom-and-pop places.

    Below are gigantic school chains that are always hiring teachers.

    Here are some schools that only focus on teaching adults in Tokyo. Please note that schools that only enroll adults usually do not hire from overseas.

    Part Time Only

    My company One Coin English does hire people part-time who are in Japan with a student, spouse, or other visa with permission to work. Visit our teacher hiring website for more details.


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    Teaching Jobs in Japan - A Business Man Reading a Newspaper

    Business English Teaching Jobs in Japan

    What are business English teaching positions like?

    Business English teaching in Tokyo is very different from English conversation school teaching. The structure of lessons and the techniques used have a lot of similarities, but business lessons have a another layer of formality. A business English lesson usually involves discussing business topics, enacting role-plays of challenging business situations, and teaching students proper linguistic expressions to use in a business environment.

    One of the main requirements for teaching business lessons is that you need to wear business formal attire: dress shirt, suit, and slacks/skirt. Additionally, business lessons are always taught in classrooms or office rooms at your company or at the company of the student.

    The majority of your students are professionals in their 30s and 40s whose tuition is paid by their company. You might get some students in their 20s, but they are more likely to be self-funding their lessons. Students in their 30s and 40s are normally middle management-level staff who have to interact with clients and employees from branches in another country. These students frequently must go on business trips to or move to another country and therefore need to brush up on their English skills before heading out.

    The common areas that Japanese people need help with for their business English are in making presentations, handling negotiations, writing emails, cultural differences, and sharing their opinion during meetings.

    Business teacher salaries

    Business English teacher positions pay better than English conversation teacher positions in Japan. This means that companies tend to be more selective for business English hires and have higher expectations and requirements for their teachers. There are also far fewer positions available, so you need to approach the business teacher interview more seriously than other positions. The starting rate is around JPY270,000 for an entry level position and upwards of JPY450,000 monthly if you have a lot of business experience and can teach senior-level business people English.

    Good business teaching experience in Tokyo

    When you get to teach an executive or senior manager, business English teaching positions in Japan can be awesome experiences. These students charge others hundreds of dollars to merely speak with them, and you'll be paid to talk to and teach them. You also get the opportunity to learn about their industry, how they view the Japanese economy, and the business world in general. It's also interesting to hear their views on society because they often view things on a more macro level than the average person. If you are an aspiring business person, interacting with someone multiple tiers above your current position will help you take the next steps for your career. 

    There are some interesting textbooks on business English produced by Oxford University called Business Results and Business One on One. Books like these include business case studies, business statistics, and questions to make you think about the economy. You can often learn new things yourself while getting paid to teach business lessons.

    Challenging business teaching experiences in Tokyo

    Teaching business English lessons can also be an unpleasant experience if you have to teach business people who are forced by their company to take lessons. In business English, most of the lessons you teach are paid for by the company or government subsidy, not the students themselves. In general, a majority of your students are pleasant to speak but you may sometimes run into those who do not want to participate.

    Should you teach business lessons?

    If you have business experience or are interested in business, definitely consider teaching English in Tokyo at a business English provider. You get paid more money than normal teaching positions, and in some cases you get to visit and check out the headquarters of international companies.

    If you don't have any business experience, you would really have to sell them on your interest for business and why they would trust placing you in a classroom, teaching people business English who have much more business experience than you. The best way to do that is to dress, speak, and act as a business professional would, so you seem more knowledgeable about business than you actually are.

    Finding a business teaching job in Japan

    The key factor in getting English teaching jobs in Japan for business is the obvious one: actual business experience. Another important factor is that you are from a country with which the client is doing business. This is not limited to America, England, and Australia, since many Japanese people are doing business with Asia and southeast Asia. 

    This means that there's also some demand for non-native English teachers from those countries, and a non-neutral accent is a plus! Communicating in a foreign language is hard enough, and adding another accent to that makes it worse. You'd not only teach these professionals English, but how to understand English spoken by another non-native.

    Most business positions will come through your network, but major companies like Berlitz are usually hiring, and you can sometimes find positions on Jobs in Japan and Gaijin Pot. Berlitz has solid business teaching materials, eliminating the need for you to create materials from scratch.

    Teaching Jobs in Japan - University Teacher

    University English Teaching Jobs in Japan

    What does a University professor do?

    Teaching English at a Japanese university in Tokyo involves teaching English to undergraduate students. This would not be English literature or the type of English classes that you took in university, but actual language classes to help improve English communication and fluency. Depending on the focus of the university, the number of lessons on English can differ quite greatly.

    Most Universities have three to five English professors who are not Japanese. Universities in Tokyo who use their English program as a major selling point often have more than eight professors working for them who are on a mixture of full-time and part-time contracts. I have seen one University with more than twenty foreign English professors.

    What are lessons and students like at Universities?

    English teaching in Tokyo at a University will involve teaching classes of between ten to one hundred students in ninety-minute lessons. The general English courses will have many students, and the specialty lessons, such as communication courses, business prep courses, etc., will have fewer but more dedicated students. 

    Outside of your lessons, you may also be required to provide one-on-one coaching to students who have a specific goal that the school wants to support them in achieving. One example is students who are going to study abroad at the sister University for one year.

    What are the requirements for University teachers?

    The main requirement for getting a university teaching position is usually a Master’s degree in teaching English as a second language. You can take the master's courses in your home country or take them at a foreign University in Japan, such as Temple University. Another option is taking an online course from established universities overseas.

    I do know a few people who had master's degrees in various fields with multiple years of teaching experience for adults who were able to get a University position for teaching English. To teach non-English-related subjects, you will need a master's degree or PhD. The one exemption is in business courses, and we'll cover that in more detail below.

    University instructor salaries

    My friend who is a University instructor mentions this on a blog post he wrote:

    "Full-time positions are normally in the range of JPY300,000 ~ JPY600,000 per month. Contracts are usually one or two years in length, renewable two or three times."

    For part-time positions : (A "koma" is a ninety-minute lesson)

    "Compensation is usually in the range of JPY20,000 ~ JPY40,000 per koma per month, including the summer months between semesters when there are no lessons scheduled. In other words, you will receive a set monthly salary all year round, despite only teaching for 30 weeks per year (15 in the spring semester and 15 in the autumn semester). Travel expenses will also be provided, although health insurance and pension contributions will not."

    Positive University teaching experience in Tokyo

    English teaching in Tokyo at a university can be an incredible teaching experience. When you have a high level, highly-motivated class of students who really appreciate being in the classroom and actively participate in the learning process, you'll remember why you wanted to be a teacher.

    Negative University teaching experience in Tokyo

    Sometimes students are not interested in learning, especially at a school where students are required to learn English. Some students are only in your class for the degree requirement, not because they want to study English. 

    You need to be cautious of working for lesser-known Universities or rural Universities who are experiencing a decline in their student base. This decrease in students has led to a big increase in universities that are closing down, and unfortunately this trend will continue to grow as the population of Japan decreases. If you take a position with such a University, you may find yourself suddenly out of work, perhaps in a remote location.

    Several of the University instructors we interviewed recommended that a collegiate position is great if you have the qualification, but you need to do proper research before you invest several million yen into a master’s program.

    Finding a University instructor position in Tokyo

    Like many other high-paying teaching positions, most of the best positions come through your network, not online job boards. A University HR recruiter will usually ask the current teachers if they know anyone who meets the minimum requirements and is looking for a position. If there are no qualified candidates in the friends route, if and only then will they start posting an online ad. However, there are many University teacher conferences and professional organizations where they all meet together. Most teachers have many connections, and most positions are filled through introductions.

    The biggest challenge is getting your first English teaching university position in Tokyo. Things get much easier after you join the club and establish good connections. When others in the teaching field like you, job offers will come to you when put the word out that you are looking.

    If you are not a member of this particular club, you can search for your dream University English teaching job in Tokyo through one of the sites below.

    Bonus Section : Finding a University instructor position in a non-English field in Japan

    You might be able to teach university courses in business if you are an industry veteran in your field with more than ten years experience. Most universities, however, require that you have masters or PhD for their professor positions.

    Here is a non-exhaustive list of universities that hire foreigners in Tokyo for teaching non-English subjects:

      Get the Job

      Getting an English Teaching Job in Japan

      After finding the right company and teaching position, you will have one chance to persuade a company to give you a chance. Getting a teaching job you love means standing out from the other candidates. We'll walk you through the whole recruitment process, from applying for teaching jobs in Japan to interviewing for those positions.

      Good luck and happy teaching!


      Japanese Vocab chang 5
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