How to Find a TEFL Job in Japan

Willie's school in Nagahama City, Japan.

Written by  March 18, 2013

An experienced TEFL teacher in Japan explains how he landed his dream job.

If you type “English teacher jobs in Japan” there are nearly three million results to choose from. When I started my search for ESL jobs in Japan I first began my search at my university’s study abroad office. After spending one year in Japan as an international student, I knew I wanted to embark on yet another journey in Japan. I inquired with my former study abroad advisors, friends in Japan and my Japanese teacher.

Upon talking with my contacts, I found the JET Programme, Aeon and ECC seemed to be the most popular options. The JET Programme (Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme) is a government-run organization that places young college graduates in local schools as Assistant Language Teachers. Aeon and ECC are English conversation schools (eikaiwas in Japanese) where foreign teachers will either assist or lead small groups and one-on-one classes with children or adults. Of course, these are not the only options in Japan since there are hundreds of English conversation companies and other organizations similar to JET.

In addition to the lengthy application process (JET applications began in about October and end with and interview and acceptance in April) and large amount of paperwork, patience is needed when applying for a job in Japan. Companies like Aeon or ECC have rolling application periods and often hold recruitment events in larger cities with the process being a bit quicker than the JET Programme. Every eikaiwa or English conversation school is different so it’s best to check the company website for more detailed information. Below are some of my top five tips to be successful in your search for ESL jobs in Japan.

My Top 5 Tips

1. Make sure you meet the requirements of what the company is looking for, including age, education and nationality.

2. Complete the application and turn in all documents on time.

3. If you get an interview be on time. Japanese companies expect all employees and potential hires to be five minutes early.

4. Be flexible with your working location choices. It is likely that you may not get your first choice.

5. “Maibara-shi, Imaga-cho?" How far is that from Tokyo? Manage your expectations—don’t expect to be placed in the epicenter of a very large city on the JET Programme. English conversation schools offer better location placement although the monthly pay is significantly lower than that of a JET ALT.

Online Resources

www.jetprogramme.org
www.recruiting.ecc.co.jp
www.aeon.info/en
www.gaijinpot.com
www.daijob.net

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Published in Work Abroad Blogs
Willie J. Inman Jr.

Willie J. Inman Jr. is an ambitious American who wanted to see more than just the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia where he grew up. After studying abroad for one year in Kyoto, Japan and earning a degree from Georgia State University in Journalism, he’s back for more in the land of the rising sun. Changing the lives of elementary school children in Shiga, Japan one day at a time as teacher on the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme (JET). 

Website: williejinman.blogspot.jp/

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