Teaching English in Japan 101
The Asian markets are some of the largest in the world for English teachers, and Japan has one of the longest traditions of employing English instructors. The Japanese have mandated that English be taught in all of their public schools beginning at age 5 and lasting through the completion of high school. This broad base of child learners has opened a large market for English teaching jobs in Japan. Adults are taking English language classes in the millions as well, and it often seems that language schools are on every corner of a city block much like Starbucks coffee shops here in the US.
Those looking to teach English in Japan can find jobs year round, and in-person interviews are conducted 3 to 6 months in advance throughout the U.S., U.K., and Canada. Instructors are usually responsible for airfare and housing costs, although schools do assist in finding housing and sometimes provide accommodations.
Many Americans teach English in Japan through the famous Jet Program and the Interac Program, which places qualified Americans as assistant language teachers (ALTs) in high schools and grades schools throughout the country. Many foreigners also teach in private language schools.
Though Japan is known for its higher cost of living, excellent salaries enable those teaching English in Japan to live a comfortable lifestyle. Schools typically offer 20 to 25 hours of work per week (and sometimes more), leaving plenty of time to travel and explore. English teachers need a bachelor’s degree, and TEFL certification is typically required to teach English in Japan. Major cities for teaching in Japan include Tokyo, Fukuoka, Kobe, Kyoto, and Osaka.