Happy Japanese Language Student in Tokyo

Full-Time English Teaching Jobs in Japan

Teaching Adults Edition

By  Tyson Batino  August 3rd, 2019

This article is a part of our ultimate guide to jobs in Tokyo.

There are many full-time English teaching jobs in Tokyo and you can have a great time teaching students while making money. You can teach adult students, children students, or a mixture of both.

Full-time teaching positions are relatively easy to find and demand for English is not going down any time soon. It is also a great place to start your career in Japan if you do not speak N3 level Japanese or are not a wizard on the computer with programming skills.

Article Outline

Full Time English teacher for adults

This guide focuses on what full-time English teaching jobs are available in Tokyo and where to find them. After finding the right type of English teaching position for you, check out our guide to getting an English teaching job where we focus on how to write a cover letter and resume, understanding the recruiter and the interview process, and what to do after the interview to make sure you stand out as a candidate.

If you are not looking for English teaching jobs in Tokyo, check out our guide to other full-time jobs in Tokyo for what positions are available to foreigners that do not require Japanese skills. We also have the number one guide to part-time jobs in Tokyo.

Teaching full-time at an English conversation school

English Conversation School Qualifications and Pay

  1. You need a university degree for major schools
  2. You need to be a native speaker for major schools
  3. Major schools hire native speakers from overseas

Mom and pop shops do hire people without university degrees. If you do not have a degree, but want to come to Japan, you do have some options to get a Japanese work visa.

Salary : 250,000 yen and above

Hours and Schedule :

  • Tuesday - Saturday from 11:00 AM - 8:00 PM or 1:00 PM - 10:00 PM
  • Most schools do not have a Monday to Friday schedule

Benefits and Challenges :

  • Benefits 1 : Higher pay than kids schools
  • Benefits 2 : Students are paying their own money, so the % of tough adult classes are low
  • Challenge 1 : You will have some challenging kids courses if you teach children
  • Challenge 2 : You may have some adult students you may feel bored with teaching

What are English conversation school jobs like?

There are two types of English conversation schools. One that caters to adult and children students and others that only focus on adults. Most if not all of the mom and pop schools and many of the major schools focuses on both groups. These schools usually get you to teach several hours of adult lessons from around 11 - 2 PM for the afternoon crowd. Then focus on teaching children to around 5 or 6 PM and finish with adult lessons from 7 PM with students who are coming to take your lessons after work.

Similar to business English schools, English conversation schools also require their teachers to wear a suit and slacks. Since they charge a premium price to Japanese students, teachers have to look professional and these companies also spend money on having decent school interiors.

The main reason most schools teach both kids and adults and not adults only is because the afternoon from around 2 to 6 PM is not popular with adults. The homemaker crowd has to start preparing for the return of their children from school and the working crowd will usually be at work. Many schools have you teaching preschool aged children from around 2 PM and the older children who go to elementary school from around 4 PM. This distribution for students applies to English schools in Tokyo and others all over Japan.

The schools that cater to adults only are a dime a dozen and usually do not pay as much salary or have a much more limited amount of positions because of the downtime in the afternoon. The best thing about teaching in adult only schools is that you get to learn a lot about Tokyo and Japan from your students because you are talking to other adults and you won’t be physically exhausted from singing and running around all day.

What are the benefits of teaching adults?

Another big benefit of working in an adult only school in Tokyo is that you do not need to deal with students who are misbehaving or forced by their parents to learn English. Most students in adult only schools are paying their own money and genuinely want to be there. Other than the occasional odd or awkward student, you will enjoy teaching almost all of your students.

Adult students will also teach you a lot about Japanese culture and society. Depending on your school, they may also take you out for lunch or dinner and this is crucial for your sanity if you are not living in a central location like Tokyo. I learned a ton about Japanese culture from them and going out every week with some of them help me deal with the initial homesickness I felt when I came to Japan.

Benefits of teaching children?

You sometimes get magical classes where the students are real sweethearts and are very interested in learning English. If you work at a school for more than 2 years, you will get to see the child grow and mature and improve their English. I had two students who I taught for 18 months when they were 10 > 12 and I was impressed that they still had perfect English pronunciation when I met them when they were in high school. You may also get to teach children who are in kindergarten and they can be a lot of fun.

Salaries for English Conversation teachers

Most of the English schools in Tokyo for adults pay really nice salaries of over 255,000 yen. Depending on the company, they may also offer social insurance and even completion bonuses for finishing your one year contract. Compared to other English teaching jobs in Tokyo, a salary of around 250,000 yen

One thing you should confirm with your school is how vacation time works. In general, you have to wait more than 6 months to use your paid time off as per Japanese law. Some schools have an arrangement where they choose how to use 5 days and you get to choose 5 of your paid holidays. Some people do not like this system, but school generally apply those 5 days on school holidays that are near in time to a long vacation breaks, so they can close the school and give both Japanese and foreign staff a decent to nice vacation.

Teaching English to Adults

What are the teaching materials like?

Most of the major schools and smaller chains have good in-house developed textbooks and teacher manuals. I used to work at one of the major schools, and although you had to make the materials using print outs from the teacher manual, the materials itself were really good. The teacher manuals had a ton of ideas and I did not really need to reinvent the well because the content covered 80 - 90% of what I needed for my lessons. This is a question I would recommend asking in the interview though - do you provide a teacher manual and do you provide ready made materials to use in class.

Most mom and pop schools and some smaller chains use textbooks made by major publishers. These books are mediocre in quality but are good enough to get the job done. The teacher manuals from these major textbooks are often unusable but the main reason is because the books are made to be used all over the world and are often too difficult for Japanese students. The custom made in-house books, usually spread out the content over more levels, so the lessons and content are more Japanese student appropriate.

Do they hire non-native English speakers?

I have seen cases where English conversation schools hire non-native speakers. However, most of those teachers who were hired had native level English speaking skills and American or British accents. Most people from non-native English speaking countries that I saw hired usually went to an international school as a child or lived abroad during their teenage and college years and for that reason were able to speak with a neutral accent.

For those who are non-native speakers who speak good English but have somewhat of an accent, you would have an opportunity to be hired as an English teacher for children or a lower paying English conversation school because students who pay lower tuition fees are fine with teachers who are not native speakers. I also run an English school with teachers from over 25 countries and over 5000 students and we have found that our students are fine with non-native teachers.

You may complain that this is discrimination, but as someone who also runs a Japanese school, almost all of our foreign students prefer to study with Japanese teachers and would be against the idea of learning from a Japanese teacher who is not Japanese. For this reason, I can now understand why Japanese would prefer to learn from teachers with American or British accents.

Do they hire non-native English speakers?

I have seen cases where English conversation schools hire non-native speakers. However, most of those teachers who were hired had native level English speaking skills and American or British accents. Most people from non-native English speaking countries that I saw hired usually went to an international school as a child or lived abroad during their teenage and college years and for that reason were able to speak with a neutral accent.

For those who are non-native speakers who speak good English but have somewhat of an accent, you would have an opportunity to be hired as an English teacher for children or a lower paying English conversation school because students who pay lower tuition fees are fine with teachers who are not native speakers. I also run an English school with teachers from over 25 countries and over 5000 students and we have found that our students are fine with non-native teachers.

You may complain that this is discrimination, but as someone who also runs a Japanese school, almost all of our foreign students prefer to study with Japanese teachers and would be against the idea of learning from a Japanese teacher who is not Japanese. For this reason, I can now understand why Japanese would prefer to learn from teachers with American or British accents.

Finding a Full-Time English Conversation Teaching Job in Tokyo

Below are some major employers of teachers who teach both children and adults. You can find the mom and pop schools on a site like jobsinjapan or the ohayou sensei newsletter. If you are looking for a position from overseas, schools that teach both children and adults would be your best option because the major schools actively hire from overseas and the mom and pop places do as well.

Below are gigantic school chains that are always hiring teachers.

Here are some schools that only focus on teaching adults in Tokyo. Please note that schools that only focus on adults usually do not hire from overseas.

  • Rosetta Stone Japan
  • Linguage
  • Jabble
  • OneUp Eikaiwa

I am buddies with the foreign owners of Jabble and they pay a good salary for teaching adult lessons, but the only catch is that they are looking for experienced teachers.

Full-Time Business Teaching Positions

Business English Teacher Qualifications and Pay

  1. A University degree is needed
  2. Business experience is not needed but preferred
  3. Business positions only hire teachers domestically - Berlitz does hire from overseas

Pay : 280,000 yen and above

Hours and Schedule :

  • Monday to Fridays from 9:00 - 6:00 PM / 1:00 PM - 10:00 PM

Benefit and Challenges of Teaching Business Full-Time :

  • Benefit 1 : You can teach managerial level business people who are interesting
  • Benefit 2 : You can make more than 300,000 yen a month
  • Challenge 1 : You have to wear a suit
  • Challenge 2 : You may have to commute a long distance depending on the client

What are business English teaching positions like?

Business English lessons is much different from your normal English conversation school lessons. The way you teach lessons and the techniques you use have a lot of similarities, but business lessons have a another layer of formality from wearing suits to using formal language. A normal business lesson usually involves talking about business topics, doing simulated roleplays of challenging business situations, and teaching students expressions they can use in a business environment.

One of the main requirements for teaching business lessons is that you need to wear a dress shirt, suit, and slacks. There is no way of getting out of this unless the student comes from a startup that is relaxed and laid back. Additionally, business lessons are always taught in classrooms or office rooms at your company or at the company of the student.

The majority of your students are in their 30s and 40s and you may even have some students in their 20s, but they are most likely to be self-funding their lessons. Your students in their 30s and 40s are normally middle management level staff who have to interact with clients and employees in branches in another country. Another common reason for teaching business English is that your student will have to go on a business trip or live in another country and therefore needs to brush on their English skills before heading out.

The common areas that Japanese people need help with for their business English is on doing presentations, negotiations, writing emails, cultural differences, and sharing their opinion during meetings.

Business Teacher Salaries

Business English teacher positions pay higher than English conversation teacher positions in Japan. However, companies tend to be more selective for business English hires and have higher expectations and requirements for their teachers. There are also much less positions available, so you would need to approach business teacher interview more seriously than other positions. The starting rate goes around ¥270,000 for an entry level position and upwards of 450,000 monthly if you have a lot of business experience and can teach senior level business people English.

Good Business Teaching Experience in Tokyo

Teaching business lessons can be awesome when you get to teach an executive or senior level business person. Most people who spend hundreds of dollars to speak with them and you get paid to talk to them and teach them. You also get the opportunity to learn about their industry and about how they view the Japanese economy and business world in general. If you are an aspiring business person, having the opportunity to interact with someone multiple tiers above you will help you in taking the next steps yourself. It is also interesting to hear their views on society because they often view things on a more macro level than your average person.

There are some interesting textbooks on business English that are produced by Oxford University called Business Results and Business One on One. Books like these include business case studies, business statistics, and questions that make you think about the economy. You can often learn new things yourself while getting paid to teach business lessons.

Challenging Business Teaching Experiences in Tokyo

Teaching business lessons can also be an unpleasant experience if you have to teach business people who are forced by their company to take lessons. This applies to English lessons in general and are not limited to business lessons, but you have situations where the student is not interested in taking lessons but are there. In business English, most of the lessons you teach are paid for by the company or government subsidy and not the person themselves. In general, a majority of your students are pleasant to speak but you may sometimes run into those who do not want to talk.

Should you Teach Business Lessons?

If you have business experience or are interested in business I would consider teaching business English lessons in Tokyo. You get paid more money than normal teaching positions and in some cases you get to visit and check out the headquarters of international companies.

If you do not have any work or business experience, you would really have to sell them on your interest for business and why they would trust placing you in a classroom teaching people business English who have much more business experience than you. The best way to do that is to dress, speak, and act as a business professional would, so you seem more knowledgeable about business than you actually are.

Finding a Business Instructor Position in Tokyo

The key factor in getting business English teaching jobs in Tokyo is actual business experience and another important factor is that you are from a country with which the client is doing business with. The good news is that this is not limited to America, England and Australia and since a lot of Japanese people are doing business with Asia and southeast Asia there is also some demand for non-native teachers as well

Most business positions are pretty much from your network but major companies like Berlitz are usually hiring and you can sometimes find positions on jobsinjapan and gaijinpot. Berlitz has solid business materials and has eliminated the need to create materials through their online system saving you time from needing to make things from scratch.

Full Time University Professor Positions

Full Time University Teacher Qualifications and Salary

  1. Masters degree is necessary
  2. PhD is normally required for non-TESL positions
  3. English programs normally do all their hiring domestically
  • 280,000 yen for bachelor degree only - these positions are not that common
  • 300,000 yen to 600,000 for Masters and above

Hours and Schedule

  • Monday to Fridays from 9:00 - 6:00 PM

Benefits and Challenges

  • Benefits 1 : You can make enough money to support a small family in Japan.
  • Benefits 2 : You have more responsibility and control over what you teach than other positions
  • Challenges 1 : Decreasing job stability due to more Universities closing down due to a lack of students.
  • Challenges 2 : You may have to deal with drama queen or king foreigners co-workers.

What does a University professor do?

Teaching English at a Japanese university in Tokyo involves teaching English to undergraduate students. This would not be English literature or the type of English classes that you took in university but actual language classes to help improve English communication and fluency. Depending on the focus of the university, the amount of lessons on English can differ quite greatly.

Most Universities have around 3 to 5 English professors who are non-Japanese. Universities in Tokyo who use their English program as their main selling point often have more than 8 professors working for them who are on a mixture of full-time and part-time contracts. I have seen one University with more than 20 foreign English professors.

Full Time University Professor Position

What are lessons and students like at Universities?

Your classes will have between 10 to 100 students and lessons are usually a 90 minute lesson. Your general English courses will have many students and your specialty lessons like communication courses, business prep courses, and other courses designed for a specific purpose will have less but more dedicated students. Outside of your lesson, you may also be required to provide one and one coaching to students who have a specific goal that the school wants to support them on. One example, are students who are going to study abroad at their sister University for one year.

What are the requirements for University teachers?

The main requirements for getting a university teaching position is usually a Master’s degree in teaching English as a second language. You can take the master courses in your home country or take them at Temple University and several other foreign universities in Japan. Another option involves doing an online correspondence course from established universities overseas that are aimed for people who are working and want to expand their career options in the teaching field.

https://www.tuj.ac.jp/cp/teaching

https://www.sophia.ac.jp/eng/admissions/graduate_p/english_g2/english_tesol.html

https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/postgraduate/taught/courses/2019/applied-linguistics-tesol-ma-pg-diploma

I do know a few people who had master degrees in different areas with multiple years of teaching experience for adults who were able to get a University position for teaching English. You will also need a masters degree or PhD to teach non-English related subjects as well. The one exemption is in business courses and we cover that in more detail below.

University Instructor Salaries

My friend who is a University instructor himself mentions this on a blog post he wrote.

Full-time positions are normally in the range of ¥300,000 ~ ¥600,000 per month. Contracts are usually one or two years in length, renewable two or three times

For part-time positions : A koma is 90-minute lessons)

Compensation is usually in the range of ¥20,000 ~ ¥40,000 per koma per month, including the summer months between semesters when there are no lessons scheduled. In other words, you will receive a set monthly salary all year round, despite only teaching for 30 weeks per year (15 in the spring semester and 15 in the autumn semester). Travel expenses will also be provided, although health insurance and pension contributions will not.

https://blog.jobs.ac.uk/just-higher-ed/jobseeking/teaching-english-at-japanese-universities

Full Time University Professor Position 2

Positive University teaching experience in Tokyo

You can have a magical teaching experience when you have a high level, highly motivated class of students who really appreciate being in the classroom and actively participate in the learning process.

Negative University teaching experience in Tokyo

You sometimes experience students who are not interested in learning, especially if you are at a school where students are required to learn English, but may not be interested in learning it. You also need to be cautious of working for lesser known Universities and rural Universities who are experiencing a decline in their student base. This decrease in students has led to a big increase in universities that are closing down, and unfortunately this trend will continue to grow as the population of Japan decreases.

One person we interviewed experience this and multiple instructors we interviewed recommended that an instructor position is great if you have the qualification, but you need to do proper research if you are planning to invest several million yen into a master’s program.

Finding a University Instructor Position in Tokyo

Like many other high paying teaching positions, most of the best positions would have to come through your network and are not posted non online job boards. A University HR personal will usually ask their current teachers if they know anyone who meets the minimum requirements and looking for a position. If there are no qualified candidates in the friends route, if and only then will they start posting an online ad. However, there are many University teacher conferences and professional organizations where they meet together, so most teachers have quite a few connections and most positions are filled through introductions.

The biggest challenge is getting your first English teaching university position in Tokyo and things get much easier after you join the club. Job offers will come to you if you are a member and put the word out that you are looking and other people like you.

If you are not a member of the club, you will have to search for your dream University English teaching job in Tokyo through one of the sites below.

  1. https://jrecin.jst.go.jp/seek/SeekTop?ln=1 - from the government
  2. The Japan Association of Language Teachers Job Board
  3. The Japan Association of College Teachers
  4. TEFL.com : University Teacher Positions

This post could go on forever about the intricacies of University positions and you can dive more into the topic with this podcast from Jobs in Japan and the blog post from my friend Paul whom I quoted for the salary amounts above.

  1. https://jobsinjapan.com/blog/job-seeker-advice/universityteacherjames/
  2. https://blog.jobs.ac.uk/just-higher-ed/jobseeking/teaching-english-at-japanese-universities

Bonus Section : Finding a University instructor position in a non-English field in Japan

You might be able to teach university courses in business if you are an industry veteran in your field with more than ten years experience. Most universities however require that you have masters or PhD for their professor positions.

Here is a non-exhaustive list of universities that hire foreigners in Tokyo for teaching non-English subjects.

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