If you’re looking to teach English in Japan, you’re embarking on a life-changing adventure. The Land of the Rising Sun is a fascinating country with a rich cultural heritage, beautiful scenery, and friendly people.
But with so many English teaching programs to choose from, it can be overwhelming to decide which one is the best fit for you.
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular options.
JET Program USA
If you’re considering teaching English in Japan, you should definitely look into the JET Program USA. This program is designed for young graduates who want to gain valuable cultural experience and make a difference in the lives of their students.
- Cultural immersion: Participants have the opportunity to experience Japan’s unique culture and customs firsthand.
- Cultural ambassador role: Participants not only teach English but also promote mutual understanding between Japan and the United States.
- Competitive salary and benefits: Participants receive a high salary, 20 paid leave days per year, and a support network of fellow JETs and local coordinators
- Competitive application process: The application process for the JET Program USA is highly competitive, which can make it challenging to secure a position.
- No control over location: While participants can request preferences for urban or rural areas, the final placement location is determined by the JET Program.
- Limited program duration: The program duration is one year, with the option to renew for up to five years, which may not be suitable for those seeking long-term teaching opportunities.
To be eligible for the program, you must be a citizen of the United States, have a bachelor’s degree, and be proficient in English. The application process is highly competitive and includes a written application, an interview, and a background check.
One of the biggest benefits of the JET Program USA is the opportunity for cultural immersion. Participants are placed in schools and communities throughout Japan, allowing them to experience the country’s unique culture and customs firsthand.
In addition to teaching English, participants are expected to be cultural ambassadors, promoting mutual understanding between Japan and the United States. The program duration is one year, with the option to renew for up to five years.
Participants receive a high salary, 20 paid leave days per year, and a support network of fellow JETs and local coordinators. While the placement location is determined by the JET Program, participants can request preferences for urban or rural areas.
To apply visit: https://jetprogramusa.org/
Read our full guide on the JET Program here.
Interac is Japan’s largest provider of professional foreign teachers to the government through its ALT program. Founded in 1972, it has since become a significant player in providing professional teachers for commercial and government organizations.
- Work-life balance: Interac offers a good work-life balance with solidly set working hours, allowing teachers to pursue hobbies and interests.
- Support and training: Interac provides outstanding support and training programs for its teachers, ensuring they have the resources and guidance they need to succeed.
- Settling-in support: Interac West provides support for teachers in terms of housing, car rental, and assistance with setting up bills, taxes, and insurance.
- Salary limitations: The salary offered by Interac may not be sufficient for raising a family in a city, although it can be adequate for a single person in a rural area.
- Limited long-term prospects: Being an ALT with Interac may not be ideal for those seeking long-term career teaching opportunities.
- Teaching materials preference: While Interac provides teaching resources and materials, some teachers may prefer to create their own materials.
Interac teachers deliver interactive and exciting English lessons to school children in the Japanese school system, enriching their lives by sharing knowledge of English and communication skills and giving insights into other cultures.
When considering Interac, it’s important to take into account various factors such as salary expectations, work culture, visa requirements, teaching materials, and training programs. While the salary could be better, Interac offers a human-centered management style and outstanding support to its employees.
The company matches teachers with the right school based on their needs, allowing for a good work-life balance. Working hours are set solidly, which permits time to pursue hobbies and other interests. Additionally, Interac provides fun and engaging teaching environments for students, along with support and training for its teachers.
Interac West provides support for settling in, including housing, car rental, and setting up bills, taxes, and insurance. The company provides teaching resources and materials, but some teachers prefer to make their own.
The pay may not be enough to raise a family in a city, but it is sufficient for a single person in a rural area. Being an ALT with Interac is not ideal for long-term, career teaching, but it can be a great adventure or a stepping stone into other work in Japan.
To apply visit: https://interacnetwork.com/
Westgate Corporation has been a major player in Japanese university education since 1983.
- Compensation, benefits, and accommodation: Westgate offers compensation, benefits, and accommodation for its English instructors.
- Cultural immersion opportunities: Working with Westgate provides opportunities for cultural immersion in Japan.
- Campus amenities: Westgate provides amenities such as a gym, pool, and restaurants for instructors.
- Salary variation: Salary expectations may vary depending on the level of experience and qualifications of the instructor.
- Teaching experience and certificate requirements: Prior EFL/ESL teaching experience and a teaching certificate (or alternative teaching experience) are required to work with Westgate.
- Accommodation variations: The cleanliness, noise, maintenance, and fees of the provided accommodation may vary depending on the location.
As a university English instructor, you can expect to receive compensation, benefits, and accommodation from Westgate, as well as opportunities for cultural immersion. However, it’s important to note that salary expectations may vary depending on your level of experience and qualifications.
In terms of job responsibilities, Westgate’s University Program prepares Japanese university students for success in the workplace. As an instructor, you will be responsible for teaching extracurricular courses that follow a provided curriculum. You may also be assigned credit-bearing mandatory or elective courses that vary by campus.
While Westgate provides training for its instructors, it’s important to have prior EFL/ESL teaching experience and a teaching certificate. If you don’t have a certificate, 1000+ hours of teaching experience may be accepted in lieu of one.
Living in Japan may require some lifestyle adjustments, but Westgate provides accommodation for its instructors. Keep in mind that the cleanliness, noise, maintenance, and fees of the accommodations may vary depending on the location. However, Westgate offers a variety of amenities such as a gym, pool, and restaurants. Additionally, the location of the accommodation is usually convenient for accessing the campus and public transportation.
To apply visit: https://www.westgatejapan.com/
AEON: Teach English in Japan
Looking to improve your English teaching skills and immerse yourself in Japanese culture? AEON may just be the opportunity you’re looking for.
- Extensive training: AEON provides extensive training in their unique teaching approach to ensure teachers are fully prepared.
- Competitive salary and benefits: AEON offers a competitive salary, paid vacation time, health insurance, and a bonus system based on performance.
- Cultural immersion and social events: Teachers have the opportunity to participate in social events and cultural immersion activities to experience Japanese culture outside of the classroom.
- Sales-oriented approach: Teachers are expected to promote the school and recruit new students, which may require additional responsibilities outside of teaching.
- Long working hours: The job may require long working hours, which can be demanding.
- Strict rules and regulations: Teachers are expected to adhere to strict rules and regulations, including a dress code, as part of their employment with AEON.
AEON offers teaching positions throughout Japan for individuals who are passionate about helping others improve their English abilities. To become an AEON teacher, you must have a bachelor’s degree and be a native English speaker. While teaching experience isn’t required, it’s preferred.
If you’re accepted as an AEON teacher, you’ll receive extensive training in the Learning and Acquisition Method, AEON’s unique teaching approach. The training program lasts for five days and is held in Tokyo. It covers everything from lesson planning to classroom management to ensure that you’re fully prepared to teach in Japan.
During your placement, you’ll teach both children and adults in a structured classroom environment. AEON offers a competitive salary and benefits package, including paid vacation time, health insurance, and a bonus system based on performance. You can also participate in social events and cultural immersion activities to fully experience Japanese culture outside of the classroom.
However, it’s important to note that AEON has a sales-oriented approach, which means that you’ll be expected to promote the school and recruit new students. Additionally, the job requires long working hours and adherence to strict rules and regulations, including a dress code.
The interview process for AEON is thorough and includes a phone interview, an online application, and an in-person interview in either the United States, Canada, or the United Kingdom.
If you’re looking for a structured teaching environment with opportunities for professional development and cultural immersion, AEON may be the right fit for you.
To apply visit: https://www.aeonet.com/
GABA: Teach English in Japan
If you’re a non-native English speaker seeking visa sponsorship and flexibility in your ESL career, Gaba English School in Japan may be the perfect fit for you.
- Visa sponsorship and flexibility: Gaba offers visa sponsorship and flexibility, making it suitable for non-native English speakers seeking an ESL career in Japan.
- Initial certification and training: Gaba provides initial certification and on-the-job training to help teachers succeed.
- Competitive earning potential: Gaba offers a competitive earning potential for its instructors.
- Basic Japanese requirements: Gaba requires basic Japanese proficiency for teaching English, which may limit some candidates.
- Low base salary and limited benefits: The base salary at Gaba is low, and there are no benefits provided. Teachers are also responsible for their own expenses in getting to the school.
- Challenging work schedule: The work schedule at Gaba can be challenging, with a probationary period, limited paid holidays in the first year, and potential difficulty in building a regular client base.
With its focus on teaching adults and offering 6-month renewable contracts, Gaba provides the ease of entry that many ESL teachers are looking for. However, it’s important to note that Gaba does require basic Japanese requirements for teaching English, which may limit some candidates.
The Gaba interview process consists of an application, phone interview, orientation, 2nd interview, and a 3-day certification. While Gaba doesn’t require a degree if you have a valid working visa, it may require a bachelor’s degree or equivalent, or three years of verifiable full-time ESL teaching experience depending on visa status. Once hired, Gaba provides initial certification, on-the-job training, and regular counseling sessions to help its teachers succeed.
Gaba offers a competitive earning potential and a professional support system for its instructors. However, it’s important to note that the base salary is low with little upward mobility. Additionally, teachers are responsible for bearing all expenses in getting to their school, and there are no benefits. The work schedule can also be challenging for some, with a probationary period of six months and only ten days of paid holiday given in the first year.
Gaba teaching experience can vary from person to person, and employee reviews are mixed. Some teachers report building up a regular client base can be challenging, while others credit their success to being presentable and professional.
While Gaba offers mentorship programs and skill-building workshops for professional development, there is little upward mobility within the company.
Ultimately, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons and consider your own goals and priorities when deciding if Gaba is the right fit for you.
To apply visit: https://www.gabateachinginjapan.com/
NOVA: Teach in Japan
For those seeking a teaching opportunity in Japan with visa support and a flexible schedule, NOVA may be worth considering despite its mixed reputation and low salary.
- Visa support: NOVA provides visa support, which can be a significant advantage for teachers looking to work in Japan.
- Flexible schedule: NOVA offers a flexible schedule that allows for cultural immersion and travel opportunities.
- Wide network of schools and diverse student base: NOVA has a wide network of schools and a diverse student base, providing potential teaching opportunities in different locations.
- Low salary: The salary offered by NOVA is relatively low compared to other English teaching programs in Japan.
- Lack of training and support: Some teachers may find that NOVA lacks sufficient training and support, which can be a drawback for professional development.
- Mixed reputation: NOVA has a mixed reputation, with some teachers reporting a lack of support and feeling undervalued.
NOVA is an English teaching program that provides a wide network of schools and a diverse student base.
The application process is relatively easy, and the program offers a flexible schedule that allows for cultural immersion and travel opportunities.
However, NOVA’s low salary is a significant drawback, and the lack of training and support may not be suitable for everyone. When it comes to salary expectations, NOVA’s pay is relatively low compared to other English teaching programs in Japan.
However, they compensate for this by providing visa support, which can be a significant hurdle for some teachers looking to work in Japan.
The program also offers teaching materials, but the quality may vary depending on the school and the teacher’s experience level.
NOVA’s support system is another area of concern. While some teachers reported having helpful and friendly management, others experienced a lack of support and felt undervalued. Additionally, the program’s minimal training and focus on sales pressure may not be the best fit for teachers looking to improve their skills.
To apply visit: https://nova-holdings.jp/teachinjapan/
BE Studio is a program that welcomes teachers without professional teaching experience and offers comprehensive training and relocation support. If you love working with children and want to teach English in Japan, this program might be perfect for you.
- Comprehensive training and relocation support: BE Studio provides comprehensive training and relocation support to ensure a smooth transition to Japan.
- No professional teaching experience required: The program welcomes teachers without professional teaching experience, making it accessible for individuals starting their teaching career.
- Creative curriculum and cultural immersion opportunities: BE Studio offers a creative curriculum and cultural immersion opportunities, providing a fun and rewarding teaching experience.
- Salary variation: While the program generally offers a competitive salary, you may be paid significantly differently to your colleagues depending on location and experience.
- Requirements for native English speakers and bachelor’s degree: The program requires teachers to be native English speakers and hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution.
The program offers a creative curriculum that allows you to immerse students in authentic English communication. You’ll also receive comprehensive training and relocation support to ensure a smooth transition to Japan.
BE Studio provides a fun and rewarding teaching experience that allows you to make a positive impact on young students’ lives. Additionally, the program offers cultural immersion opportunities and monthly training workshops to help you improve your skills.
To become a teacher in the BE Studio program, you don’t need professional teaching experience. However, you should have a passion for working with children, and a compelling story to share about your experiences.
You’ll also need to be a native English speaker and have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. Other requirements include a valid passport and the ability to obtain a work visa for Japan.
The BE Studio website has a simple application process that starts with filling out an online form. You’ll need to submit a resume, a cover letter, and a recent photo. If your application is accepted, you’ll be invited to participate in an online interview. After that, you’ll receive an offer letter and start preparing for your move to Japan.
Looking to broaden your horizons and gain international teaching experience? Teach Away may be just the opportunity you’re seeking. This program is designed to connect English teachers with schools in Japan and other countries around the world.
- Wide range of opportunities: Teach Away offers opportunities to teach English in Japan and other countries around the world, providing a diverse range of options.
- Free job placement service: Teach Away provides a free job placement service, assisting teachers in finding suitable teaching positions.
- Online courses and support: Teach Away offers online courses and support to help teachers prepare for their teaching experience abroad.
- Varying school quality: The quality of schools can vary greatly within the Teach Away program, which may affect the teaching experience.
- No guarantee of placement: There is no guarantee of placement, and teachers may face challenges in securing a teaching position.
- Limited direct support: Teach Away may not provide direct support, which can be frustrating for teachers who are new to the program and seeking more guidance.
With Teach Away, you can expect a wide range of opportunities, free job placement service, online courses available, and great support up until you get there. However, there are also some cons to consider before signing up.
While Teach Away does offer a great service, the quality of schools can vary greatly. Additionally, there is no guarantee of placement and no direct support from Teach Away after you arrive, which can be frustrating for teachers who are new to the program.
You’ll want to research salary expectations for English teachers in Japan, as this can vary greatly depending on the school and location that you get placed at.
Finding housing in Japan can also be a challenge, especially for English teachers who are new to the country. It’s important to research the different neighborhoods and housing options available, and to work with your school or Teach Away to find suitable accommodations.
With the right preparation and support, however, Teach Away can be a great way to gain teaching experience in Japan and explore a new culture.
To find out more visit: https://www.teachaway.com/teach-english-japan
Tamaki TEFL Recruitment (TTR)
If you’re seeking a rewarding career with endless opportunities for travel and development, Tamaki TEFL Recruitment (TTR) can provide expert support to secure a great teaching job overseas.
- Personalized recruitment process: TTR offers a personalized recruitment process, matching TEFL teachers with reputable overseas establishments based on their experience, qualifications, and preferences.
- Comprehensive support and guidance: TTR provides comprehensive support, including visa assistance, support during the transition, and in-country information to ensure a smooth experience.
- Training opportunities: TTR offers training opportunities to help TEFL teachers adapt to teaching in a foreign country and excel in their roles.
- Limited information on salary expectations: While TTR provides information on job requirements, there may be limited details available regarding salary expectations for teaching positions in Japan.
- Job availability: The availability of TEFL teaching jobs may vary depending on demand, which could impact the ease of securing a placement through TTR.
TTR is a specialized TEFL recruiter that pairs experienced and inexperienced TEFL teachers with reputable overseas establishments. The recruitment process is personalized, with TTR offering comprehensive support to secure a placement in Japan. They have extensive experience in the exciting TEFL industry and offer visa assistance, support, and guidance to make the transition as smooth as possible.
When searching for a teaching job in Japan, it’s important to know the job requirements and salary expectations. TTR provides all the necessary information to ensure you’re fully prepared for the job ahead. They have the latest great vacancies worldwide, and demand for TEFL teaching jobs differs from place to place. However, TTR ensures finding the perfect role for you based on your experience, qualifications, and preferences.
Cultural immersion is also an essential part of teaching overseas. TTR provides plenty of support in-country for TEFL teachers, including useful information about Japan and what to expect. They also offer training opportunities to help you adapt to teaching in a foreign country.
TTR founder, Tomoko Tamaki, recommends TEFL as a career choice, and it’s easy to see why with the support and guidance provided by TTR.
Amity – Useful English for Children
Experience the joy of teaching and making a difference in the lives of young learners with the comprehensive training and support provided by Amity’s Useful English for Children program.
- Comprehensive training and support: Amity provides five full days of educational training, shadowing opportunities, and regular evaluations to support the development and progress of teachers.
- Focus on young learners: Amity’s program is specifically designed for teaching young learners, providing a rewarding and fulfilling teaching experience.
- Career advancement opportunities: Amity offers opportunities for career advancement within the company, allowing teachers to grow and develop their careers in the field of EFL.
- Strict rules and regulations: Amity has strict rules and regulations in place that teachers must adhere to, which may limit some flexibility.
- Preferred TEFL/TESOL/CELTA certificate: While not required, having a TEFL/TESOL/CELTA certificate is preferred, which may be a disadvantage for those without this qualification.
- Specific working hours: Teachers are required to be available to work from 10AM-7PM, 11AM-8PM, or 12PM-9PM, which may not be suitable for everyone’s preferred schedule.
As a Native English Teacher with Amity, you’ll have the opportunity to work in Japan and build a career in the field of EFL.
Amity’s training program includes five full days of educational training before joining the branch school, shadowing a departing NET, and receiving a three-month evaluation to discuss progress and areas for improvement. This interactive, hands-on training allows new teachers to learn Amity’s curriculum and teaching methodology, as well as participate in workshops with fellow teachers to share ideas and tips.
Amity provides a fun and rewarding teaching experience for those who love working with children. With Amity’s focus on young learners, you’ll be teaching Baby, Pre-Romper, Romper, and Infant aged students in late morning/early afternoon classes. After lunch, you’ll teach back-to-back lessons ranging from Childrens Low to Senior High.
While there are strict rules and regulations in place, Amity provides many benefits to its teachers, including cultural immersion, career advancement opportunities, and support.
To apply for a position with Amity, there are job requirements that must be met. You must have a bachelor’s degree in any field and be a native speaker of English. A TEFL/TESOL/CELTA certificate is preferred, but not required. Additionally, you must commit to a one-year contract and be available to work from 10AM-7PM, 11AM-8PM, or 12PM-9PM.
Amity offers a competitive salary and benefits package, including paid holidays, transportation allowance, and visa sponsorship. During the interview process, it’s important to showcase your teaching skills and experience, as well as your passion for working with children. Be prepared to discuss your teaching techniques and strategies, as well as any experience working with young learners.
Amity’s Useful English for Children program provides a comprehensive training and support system for Native English Teachers looking to build a career in EFL in Japan.
As a teacher with Amity, you’ll have the opportunity to work with young learners, participate in workshops and training sessions, and advance your career within the company.
While there are job requirements and strict rules in place, Amity provides many benefits and a competitive salary and benefits package.
During the interview process, be sure to showcase your passion for teaching and working with children, as well as your teaching skills and experience.
Find out more about teaching in Japan
Congratulations on taking the first step towards teaching English in Japan! Now that you’ve familiarized yourself with various teaching programs, it’s time to make a decision on which one to apply for.
Take the next step and find out exactly which qualifications you need for teaching in Japan, how much salary you’re likely to earn, or check out some of the popular ESL destinations in Japan like Osaka and Okinawa.