Teaching overseas has blown up over the last decade as a great way to see the world while helping people, getting immersed in a local culture, and making some money while you do it. But with a million different ways to go about it, we at Nihongo Master thought we’d help you sort through your options to teach English in Japan before you take the plunge to become a sensei (先生)!
The most popular program you’ve probably already heard of is the JET, or Japan Exchange and Teaching Program. This is a government-sponsored program that places native English speakers in public schools around the country. Unfortunately, it is only available to American citizens. While knowing Japanese is a plus, it’s certainly not a requirement for placement in the program. Current applications are closed, but they open again in October, so get yourself ready to jet to Japan!
GABA is a private company that hires teachers as one-on-one tutors to teach those who want to learn English in Japan. They provide training for new teachers and your earning potential varies based on how many lessons you are teaching each week. The more your students like you, the more you can make! Of course with Gaba, you must provide your own airfare and secure your own accommodation, so the upfront cost to pursuing this course can be pretty high. They do offer visa sponsorship for those inapplicable for a working holiday visa. Teaching at Gaba, you will be working as an independent contractor, so you are free to pursue other employment opportunities as well during your time in Japan.
If you’ve done any research on teaching in Japan, you will have come across AEON. AEON is a private school that aims to supplement the English learning that students receive in Japanese schools. Because most of public school education is focused on reading and writing, AEON focuses on improving speaking and conversation abilities. These “conversation schools” are known as Eikaiwa-gakko (英会話学校) in Japan. They provide a single-occupancy apartment for all new teachers, and require a full-time, one-year contract. Requirements include (like every position) a bachelor’s degree and native-level English. While previous experience is a plus, it certainly isn’t a requirement. AEON hires applicants year-round, so go apply today!
Westgate is a private conversation school that offers classes both to young learners as well as at the University Level. University level positions can be hard to find, so this is a great opportunity. Their application process is pretty rigorous, but their pay is competitive and they provide BOTH a free apartment AND airfare reimbursement! Their applicant pool is a little more competitive, but if you have some teaching experience, it’s definitely worth applying.
ECC is a reputable school, not just in Japan, but in Korea as well. It is another Eikaiwa-gakko that provides apartments for all incoming teachers. As per usual, a bachelor’s degree and native-level English are required, but experience and Japanese ability are just a plus! Because ECC is so widely known and reputable, you never have to worry about crazy unpaid overtime or getting placed in a scary apartment. This makes it a great option for any newbies heading over to Japan. They hire year-round and the visa application takes about three months, so you’d better get started now!!!
Strike Out On Your Own!
One of the best (though often tedious) ways to find employment in Japan is to scour the job boards.
- There is a good one at GaijinPot
- Though DavesESLCafe is better known for Korean jobs, you can search Japanese jobs on their international job board.
- How to Teach English in Japan also offers a list of “green schools,” or ones that have been approved by users as good places to work. Check it out: here!