The Land of the Rising Sun, Japan has always been on the bucket list of travelers around the world. They normally visit the country to see the glory of Mount Fuji or take a ride on the uber-fast Shinkansen trains. Foodies will also want to try to check if the ramen and sushi sold at home taste the same as the authentic ones served in Japan.
Anime lovers will also want to visit the source of their favorite shows. History and culture lovers would want to see an authentic tea ceremony or learn more about the history of the samurais of Japan.
But Japan also offers a unique opportunity for native English speakers. There is a huge demand for English teachers in Japan, particularly teachers coming from English-speaking countries, such as the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia, and Ireland.
If you’re a native English speaker and are interested in teaching English in Japan, continue reading so you’ll know everything you need to start a career as an English educator in the Land of the Rising Sun.
Teaching English in Japan
As indicated earlier, there is a big demand for English teachers in Japan. And when it comes to Japan, they only accept teachers who come from English-speaking countries. This makes Japan a great option for English teachers to practice their craft.
Aside from getting the opportunity to explore the country, Japan is also among the top-paying countries when it comes to English teaching. Teachers can expect an average salary of $2,000 to $5,000 per month depending on where they’ll teach.
Moreover, some schools and companies offer benefits that aren’t normally offered in other countries. Some of these benefits include airfare reimbursement and subsidized accommodations.
Intrigued? Continue reading and find more about teaching English in Japan.
Requirements to Teach English in Japan
Similar to other jobs around the world, if you want to teach English in Japan, you should meet all the necessary requirements or qualifications. The government has a couple of requirements before you can teach English in Japan.
These requirements include:
- Native English speaker or is a citizen of an English-speaking country.
- BA or BS degree holder
In addition to these government-mandated requirements, some schools and companies also have their own requirements from their teachers.
- Preferably with a TEFL certification
- Certified criminal background check
- Teaching experience
Salary and Benefits
With the huge demand for teachers in Japan, you can expect the salary to be sizeable. The salary depends on where you’ll teach and it can go as high as 600,000 yen or around $5,800 USD per month.
Check out the average monthly salaries of English teachers in Japan.
- Eikaiwas – 200,000 yen to 250,000 yen or $1,900 USD to $2,400 USD per month
- Public Schools – 200,000 yen to 280,000 yen or $1,900 USD to $2,700 USD per month
- Working as an ALT with the JET Program – 230,000 yen to 330,000 yen or $2,200 USD to $3,200 USD per month. Other companies like Interac Japan also hire ALTs.
- Universities – 300,000 yen to 600,000 yen or $2,900 USD to $5,800 USD per month
- International Schools – 250,000 yen to 600,000 yen or $2,400 USD to $5,800 USD per month
- Private Tutoring – 1,600 yen to 3,000 yen or $15 USD to $29 USD per hour
The salaries of English teachers in Japan make the country a rather appealing option for native English speakers looking to teach abroad.
Moreover, teachers can look forward to the following perks and benefits when they teach English in Japan:
- Health insurance
- Airfare reimbursement
- Subsidized or free accommodations
- Flexible teaching hours in Japanese private schools
- Completion bonus from some private schools
That said, the cost of living is very high in Japan and you will certainly need to watch your spending if you want to save money while teaching there. This is similar to places like Hong Kong, Puerto Rico, Sweden, or Finland that have high salaries but also a high cost of living.
If you’re planning to teach English in Japan, you have several options where you can teach. These options are as follows:
Eikaiwas are private schools that are also referred to as English language conversation schools. While the salary of teachers in these schools isn’t high, teachers enjoy a more flexible schedule. They normally start their classes in the afternoon and end at night.
Bigger Eikaiwas may require the teacher to teach in different locations in Japan. This is a great opportunity to explore the country while getting paid for it. The perks and benefits will depend on the Eikaiwa that hired the teacher. Find out more here:
Aside from working in private schools or Eikaiwas, you can also opt to work as an Assistant Language Teacher (ALT) in a Japanese public school. Some public schools hire teachers directly or through recruiters and don’t go through the government-sponsored JET Program. These jobs are available in many public Japanese elementary and high schools.
These positions normally require previous teaching experience and class sizes are between 35 and 40 students. Public schools normally prefer teachers with experience or those who have a TEFL certificate, but it’s not a requirement.
The JET Program or the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program is an exchange teaching program bringing college graduates from different countries around the world. The program started in 1987 and continues to bring teachers into Japan to work as ALTs in public schools.
The contract normally lasts for one year and can be renewed annually up to a total of five years. The salary is higher compared to being hired directly by a public school. But the teachers typically take care of paying for the health premiums and vacations are not normally paid.
Working in an international school is another option for English teachers who want to work in Japan. These schools normally offer the best salaries and benefits, but also have stricter requirements. The teachers should be fully accredited in their home country and should have experience.
Aside from a high salary, the teachers also get free airfare to Japan, free developmental courses, paid vacations, a notable retirement plan, and housing assistance, among others. These jobs are quite competitive, especially when it comes to well-known international schools.
Similar to international schools, universities are also quite strict when it comes to the qualifications of their teachers. Universities normally require a Master’s degree in English teaching along with considerable teaching experience.
With the high standards, the position also pays a lot more compared to other English teaching jobs. Your teaching experience and qualifications will determine your salary at the university. In addition to a high salary, you can also expect to teach around 15 hours a week and get around three months of vacation.
Another option you have with teaching English in Japan is by becoming a private tutor. While you may not get any of the benefits available in the other options, you can set your own schedule and price. This means you have more control over your schedule.
You can even work as a private tutor while holding a regular teaching job. Even though you’ll have a rather flexible schedule as a private tutor, one challenge you should overcome is getting students to hire you. With this, you’ll have to advertise or get in touch with people who can help you find students to teach.
Things to Consider When Teaching in Japan
At this point, you may already be excited to send your application to become a teacher in Japan. But before you do so, you should read through the following things to consider when you’re teaching English in Japan.
- While a TEFL certificate is not necessary to teach in Japan, you may want to get one to increase your chances of getting a higher salary.
- Even as you should expect bigger expenses due to the high standard of living in Japan, the cost will go lower if you live and teach outside of the big cities of Japan.
- While Japanese students are typically respectful and obedient, there may be some schools where the students can get rowdy. In these cases, a Japanese teacher will work with you in handling the discipline aspect of the class.
- Punctuality and formality are two aspects you should keep in mind when it comes to the Japanese workplace.
Working as an English teacher in Japan is quite fulfilling in terms of the salary and the opportunity to have a first-hand experience of Japanese culture.
Oh, and if you like the idea of teaching in a tropical paradise, you may want to consider teaching jobs in Okinawa.
Teaching English in Japan FAQs
There are a number of common questions that people have about being an English teacher in Japan. Here are the answers to some of the most popular ones.
How much do English teachers in Japan make?
An English teacher in Japan can expect to earn a salary of between 200,000 and 600,000 Japanese Yen ($1700-5000 USD per month). For private tutoring, you can expect to make around 3000 Yen per hour. Many companies offer flights, accommodation, and training in their salary packages.
What qualifications do I need to teach English in Japan?
In order to teach English in Japan, there are some basic qualifications that include a Bachelor’s degree, a clean criminal record check and a passport from an English-speaking country. Most jobs prefer that you have a TEFL degree, but it’s not a strict requirement.
Is it hard to teach English in Japan?
It can be hard for some people to teach in Japan while some people may find it relatively easy. It mostly depends on your job, the level of students you’re teaching as well as your co-teachers.
Can you save money teaching English in Japan?
Rent and airfare are often paid for by employers which makes it easy for most English teachers to save money. In general, most teachers are able to save at least $500 USD per month and some can save even more, but this depends strongly on your lifestyle.
Have your Say about Teaching English in Japan
What are your thoughts about teaching English in this amazing country? Is it the right option for you, or are you consider teaching in another country like Russia? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think. We’d love to hear from you.
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