Teaching English in Tokyo - Conversation School

Ultimate Guide to Teaching Jobs in Japan

By Tyson Batino | August 26th, 2019

New to Japan or moving to Japan and do not know what teaching jobs in Japan are available to you? This guide will cover more than 10 types of full-time teaching positions in Japan with different types of student and salaries for teachers.

Getting a Teaching Job in Japan

After discovering what type of teaching jobs in Japan you want and are now ready to start your job hunt to find a good employer. Check out our guide on how to get a teaching job which focuses on the cover letter, resume, and interview phase of getting a teaching job in Japan.

If you have a visa and are already in Japan, consider working part-time at our English school in Tokyo called One Coin English. If you do not want a teaching job in Japan, check out our article on jobs in Japan for foreigners.

ESL Jobs in Japan - Teaching Kids

ESL Jobs in Japan for Teaching Children

There are many ESL jobs in Japan for teaching children and you can have a great time teaching while making money. Full-time teaching positions are relatively easy to find and demand for English is not going down any time soon. You can make some decent money and teaching is 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

This section focuses on full-time teaching jobs in Japan for Teaching Children for teaching children and teenagers are in Japan. If you are more interested in teaching English to adults, scroll down below for our large section on teaching jobs in Japan to adults.

  • Teaching at a public school
  • Teaching at a private school
  • Teaching at an English school for kids
  • Teaching at a preschool

ESL Jobs in Japan - ALT Positions

Qualifications and Pay for full-time ALT jobs in Japan.

1 : University degree

2 : Dispatch companies hire non-native teachers for elementary school positions

3 : JET and dispatch companies do hire from overseas

220,000 - 240,000 yen for positions at a dispatch organization

280,000 yen and above for direct hire and JET program positions

Hours and Schedule

  • Monday to Fridays from 8:30 - 4:30 PM

Benefits and Challenges for ALT jobs in Japan

  • Benefits : You have more than 30 days of vacation each year
  • Benefits : You almost never have to do overtime and can make it home by 5:00 to 6:00 PM
  • Challenges : You will feel exhausted after teaching children all day
  • Challenges : You will have to make an effort to be a part of the community
ESL Jobs in Japan - Japanese Reading

What does an ALT in Japan do and what are the requirements?

This will come as a surprise to foreigners but you can teach English to children at a public school in Japan as an ALT with a University degree in something that is not related to education. Since you are not technically in charge of the class and are team teaching with a licensed Japanese teacher, you do not need a teacher's license in Japan. The other term for this position is an ALT or assistant language teacher.

Another surprise is that more than 50% of the English teachers here are an ALT in Japan. When you think of teaching jobs, you will probably think of the major English conversation schools, but most foreigners are actually employed to teach at public schools.

Please note that you need an instructor visa and you cannot get this without a university degree. Schools require the degree and a permanent residence visa holder without a degree cannot get this position.

What is a typical schedule for an elementary school ALT in Japan

Most schools start from around 8:30 AM in the morning and finish around 3:30 PM in the afternoon. Depending on the region, there will be several days a week where the students finish earlier than 3:30 PM. For example, most days will have six periods, but one or two days where there are only five periods. Please note that this only applies for the children, because you will probably be required to stay until 4:30 or 5:00 PM depending on the place.

On a side note, the 1st and sometimes second graders get to leave earlier than the older children.

What is a typical schedule for a junior high school ALT in Japan

Junior and senior high schools start around the same time or slightly earlier than public elementary schools in Japan. Once lessons are done students usually remain at school and participate in club activities that are organized by the school and managed by one teacher. Clubs range from sports, music and the arts, and educational themes. You sometimes have a kendo club, sumo club, judo club, or even board games club which students actively participate in.

Benefits of teaching as an ALT in Japan

There are several major benefits to teaching as an assistant language teacher at a public elementary school in Japan. The main benefit as an ALT in Japan is that you are like a celebrity to the children because you are the only foreign adult and the children are very curious about you and want to know more about you. Some schools will let you sit with the children and eat with them during lunch and for the kids, this is often a special moment.

The second benefit as an ALT in Japan is that you really need Japanese to communicate with your co-workers and the more Japanese you speak, the smoother things will go so it pushes you to improve your Japanese. This is the best position out of all English teaching jobs in Japan to improve your Japanese speaking skills.

The third major benefit is the school vacations that can last up to 1 month in summer and two weeks in winter. Some companies make you work while others make you “kinda” work, so make sure to check out the requirements during the break in the interview.

The four major benefit is saving money. School lunch is around 250 yen and is filling, so you will get to eat a somewhat healthy meal while keeping money in your pocket.

Benefits of teaching as an ALT at a junior high school

The main benefit to being an ALT at a public junior high school is that you get to experience a part of Japanese culture that most people do not see. You can see the school club atmosphere and the relationships between people based on seniority and the focus on doing things together.

The second benefit is that you can have a big impact on a few students. You will not influence most of your students but you may make a few of them more interested in foreign cultures and you will also be able to answer many of their questions.

The third benefit is vacation like above and down time. Most public schools will not have you teaching more than 4 lessons a day, so you have a lot of time to prepare for your lessons, offer assistance to the English teachers, and talk to students and Japanese staff.

Challenges of teaching as an ALT at a Japanese elementary school

The biggest challenge is managing your health and energy. Teaching five to six lessons plus eating lunch with the children and sometimes playing with them during recess is exhausting. You will often come home exhausted. Also, ALTs in elementary school get sick more often than other English teachers because of the energy demands plus being in close proximity to kids who may have the cold or flu.

The second challenge as an ALT in Japan is for people who are ambitious and always want to be improving their work skills. You may start getting bored after 2.5 to 3 years of teaching.

The third challenge is that the children may do and say things you do not like. For people who are overweight, the children will definitely point it out and may even poke you gently in the stomach. If you have a big butt, the children will point it out and some adventurous 6 year olds may even try to touch it. Anything that is unique and different will be mentioned. If you are a man, you may be kancho’d and you will have to look up what a kancho is.

Challenges of teaching as an ALT at a Japanese junior high school

There are two main challenges and one is boredom. They keep you super active and involved in elementary school to the point you want to sleep the moment you get home. Junior high schools keep you so inactive in some cases that you may question why you are there in the first place. Teachers who are not proactive in offering their support or learning from other ALTs on how to be given more responsibility may die of boredom. I enjoyed the freedom, but I really had to go out of my way to learn the textbook and proactively share ideas with the teachers. I also went out of my way to speak to other teachers and assist with the club activities.

The second main challenge as an ALT in Japan is that you may be placed at a school with students who do not follow the rules. They may swear at you and make fun of you and you just have to accept it. 95% or more of schools are fine with a few punks, but 3% or less can be chaotic and unfortunately have an issue with bullying based on seeing hundreds of junior high school in the greater Tokyo area.

ESL Jobs in Japan - Preschool

Salaries for full-time public school teachers

There are two types of teachers at a public school. A teacher who is directly hired by the board of education or city or a teacher who works for a company who is contracted to introduce teachers to public schools.

Teachers who are hired directly are usually hired through the JET program which is run by the national government or directly hired by the city or town itself. JET program teachers are only hired from overseas and have a limit of 5 years. Teachers who hired directly by the city usually have one year renewable contracts and are eligible for permanent employment after working 5 years continuously.

The salaries for direct hires usually start around 280,000 - 300,000 yen and go upwards of 350,000 yen depending on the budget of the area. The JET program starts at 280,000 and goes up to around 330,000 yen.

https://jetprogramme.ca/aspiring-jets/salary-and-contract/

Teachers who are hired by intermediary companies start with lower salaries than direct hire teachers. According to glassdoor, teachers who work for Heart Corporation start from around 220,000 and teachers who work for Interac start from around 230,000 yen and we are not to sure about the maximum salary rates as it is not public knowledge, but our guess would be around 250,000 yen.

What are the teaching materials like?

Public elementary schools use a textbook made by the national government for the 5th and 6th graders called “We Can!” and “Let’s try” for 3rd and 4th graders. The base lesson content for 1st and 2nd graders are still up to the school or assistant language teacher.

Junior high schools normally use a series called New Horizon or New Crown or one of the several other textbooks approved by the national government. All teachers have to finish the book by the end of the school year and you will be asked to come up with activities to help the English teacher to review the content in a fun way or do a lesson to provide students a break from the grind.

Elementary School : https://www.tgmjapan.com/esl/lesson-plans-and-ideas/

Elementary School : https://www.altwiki.net/goodbye-hi-friends-hello-we-can

Do they hire non-native English speakers?

Many public elementary schools offer full-time ESL jobs in Japan for non-native English speakers. I remember managing areas where the ratio is around 50% native and 50% non-native teachers. These jobs are offered through dispatch companies like INTERAC and HEART in the greater Tokyo metropolitan area.

Most public junior high schools have a very strong preference for native speakers. Some people from non-native English speaking countries may be considered if they have a neutral accent. The textbooks focus on native accents and that is the standard pronunciation for schools.

Where can I find these positions

Please note that a majority of the public school teaching positions are not direct hire and through intermediary companies who hire new teachers. Direct hire positions are usually reserved for veteran teachers and normally have to come through your network or you get headhunted after working in the city as a teacher through the intermediary companies. The below is one direct hire teacher talking about his experiences and how he stood out.

https://jobsinjapan.com/blog/job-seeker-advice/directhirealt/

As for the JET program, you can find all the information here : http://jetprogramme.org/en/

As for working in a public school through intermediary agencies, you can find most positions through the website jobsinjapan.com

ESL Jobs in Japan - Private School

Qualifications

  1. You will need a valid TESOL or CELTA certificate, TESOL degree, or be a licensed teacher in your home country depending on the school’s requirements
  2. You may need experience teaching in the subject you are teaching
  3. You will need a bachelor’s degree for ALT position

Salary

  • 280,000 yen to 350,000 yen for a dispatch company
  • 300,000 yen to 420,000 yen for a direct hire position

Hours and Schedule

  • Monday to Fridays from 8:00 - 5:00 PM - you will be expected to stay later
  • You will have to work on some weekends

Positive

  • You will make enough money to support a family and develop a career
  • You will have much more responsibility and can greatly impact your students

Challenges

  • You will feel exhausted and this is not a working “holiday” position
  • You will have to deal with internal politics from foreign or Japanese co-workers

What does a private school teacher do and what are the requirements?

In terms of career potential and salary, a teaching position at a private school is one of the top positions you can get as a full-time English teacher in Tokyo.

A private school teacher is directly hired by the school to teach English as a second language or your traditional school subject if it is an international school. They have private school positions for elementary, junior, and senior high school, although most positions are for junior and senior high school students. This section will focus on JHS and SHS positions as ES positions at private schools are more likely to be ALT positions.

The major difference between teaching at a private school and public school is that you are the main teacher and not an assistant language teacher. You may even be a homeroom teacher at a private school in charge of one class. You will be responsible for planning and teaching all of your lessons, assigning and correcting homework, and grading your students. Full-time private school english teachers are also expected to assist in after-school clubs and events, speech contests, applications to foreign universities, and joining school faculty meetings.

You normally work Monday to Fridays, but you sometimes have special events come up on the weekend that you will need to attend like school festivals or competitions. You will also be teaching around 5 - 7 lessons a day with around 20 - 30 students in a class. The maximum size for classes is usually around 40 students in one class.

The requirements for private school positions really depends on the school you work for. Most schools will require you to have a TESOL degree or a teacher’s license in your home country while others may require only a TESOL certificate from a valid organization or CELTA. The general rule of thumb is that the more requirements they have, the higher salary it will be.

Degrees

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

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

Certificates

https://sites.tesol.org/

ESL Jobs in Japan - boardwork

What are the benefits of teaching at a private school in Tokyo?

If you are extremely passionate about teaching and this is your calling, private schools are your chance to carry your mission. You will be in charge of a class and you will be directly involved in the growth and development of your students. You will not be an outsider like teaching at a public school full-time who are usually teaching at multiple schools, but will be highly involved at one school. You will have a lot of responsibility and your children will show their appreciation and even come back years later to thank you.

What are the challenges of teaching

The main challenge with English teaching jobs in Japan at a private school are the politics between faculty as opposed to the children giving you a headache. You may have some student issues, but normally nothing like the ones you may experience at a public school. Children from private schools usually come from more stable homes and you tend to have issues with verbal bullying as opposed to actual delinquents in your classroom. Politics can involve a divide between the foreign and Japanese staff or drama between a drama king or queen in the foreigner department who is overly negative and making the workplace uncomfortable.

The other challenge is the commitment. You may be asked to take the children on an overseas trip on the weekend or be required to do something on your normal days off. You may also have added work if you are running some school group or managing the other foreign teachers. Management teachers can be a headache especially when you have a teacher who is having a hard time adjusting to Japan or is negative to be around.

Do they hire non-native English speakers?

The main question here is more about your credentials as a teacher. A native speaker without the teaching credentials or master’s degree will not get the position. Some schools may have a preference for native speakers, but there are places that hire native level English speakers from non-native countries.

Where can I find these positions

You can find some of these positions on websites like GaijinPot and JobsinJapan. Below are some additional sites that post private teaching positions.

  1. http://educareer.jp/jobboard/index.html
  2. https://www.etas-net.jp/

GaijinPot also created an excellent article on the topic that expands upon some of the topics we covered in this article.

https://work.gaijinpot.com/working-in-japan/teaching-private-school/

ESL Jobs in Japan - Teaching Kids Eikaiwa

Qualifications

  1. University degree required for major school chains
  2. Native speakers for major schools - mom and pop schools do hire non-natives

Salary

  • 240,000 - 270,000 yen
  • You may receive social insurance depending on the school

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

Positive

  • Most of the children are sweethearts
  • You will not feel bored as you are always doing something

Negative

  • You will feel exhausted after teaching children all day
  • You will probably feel a need to develop work skills outside of teaching after 1 year.

What is working at an English school for kids like?

We have covered the public and private school positions, but there are also ESL jobs in Japan with schools and programs for children ran by private companies. These positions are similar to the teachers who teach both adults and children, but these schools only focus on teaching children and in some cases teenagers as well.

Your job would be to teach English to children from 3 - 12 years of age in most cases, but depending on the school, you may have to teach classes for children under 3 and children in junior and senior high school. You will mainly need to dance, sing, and be an energetic playmate for the little ones while you may need to teach the teenagers English conversation or assist them with their preparation for English tests like EIKEN or TOEIC.

Depending on who the school caters to, your work hours will be completely different. Schools that target children under 3 years old will normally have you working from 9:00 or 10:00 AM to around 5:00 or 6:00 PM. You would be teaching the super young ones until around 1 PM and teaching the kindergarteners until around 3 PM and then teach the elementary school kids after 3 or 4 PM.

Schools that target junior and senior high school students will probably have you teaching from 11:00 AM or 1:00 PM until 8:00 or 10:00 PM. You will be teaching children similar to the times mentioned above but you will be teaching the junior high school and above children after 6 PM.

Benefits of teaching adults

The main benefit are the kids. Majority of your students will be sweethearts and pretty much all the things mentioned above in the section for English conversation schools apply here as well.

Challenges of teaching

The same applies for challenges, but one difference is that you usually have a Japanese support and English schools for kids but not at conversation schools. If you have unruly children, they may or may not support you with helping keep the children focused on the lesson. Having the supporter can be a benefit or a challenge depending on the person.

What are the teaching materials like?

Any place that can afford to hire a full-time English teacher will usually have teaching materials or some curriculum to follow. In general, the larger the chain or organization you work for, the more likely they are to have materials. This can be awesome if you have no idea what you are doing when you first start, but if you are a veteran teacher, you might find having to use their materials restrictive and you may not be able to exercise your creativity.

Many mom and pop places usually started with the mom or pop teaching all the lessons and developing some general hodgepodge curriculum. These materials can also be a blessing or disaster in disguise because they may not be open to feedback for improving the curriculum or you they might be disorganized and not have anything for you at all. Asking about materials is something you should always bring up during your full-time English teacher interviews.

Salaries for full time ESL Jobs in Japan for a kids eikaiwa

ESL jobs in Japan at a kids eikaiwa school normally start around 240,000 yen and go upwards to 270,000 yen. Depending on the company you can receive a completion bonus for finishing your work contract. Many schools also provide housing support which involves you paying the rent, but they will find you a furnished place and pay the ridiculously high moving in costs in Japan which is normally 1500 dollars or more just to move into a place.

Do they hire non-native English speakers?

Mom and pop places are usually willing to give a non-native English speaker a chance, but the big schools normally have a preference for native speakers as that is what they sell to customers and what customers pay big bucks for.

Where can I find these positions

You can learn where to find many of these positions on our post on where to find jobs in Japan.

Below are some of the major corporations that run hundreds of schools for children.

http://www.kidsduo.com/english/working/

http://www.ittti.com/pkc/

Teaching Jobs in Japan - Children Section Summary

How was our guide on teaching jobs in Japan to children? You can move on to learn more about positions teaching adults or check out our guide to teaching jobs in Japan 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 ESL jobs in Japan, check out our guide to non-teaching full-time jobs for foreigners in Japan for what positions are available to foreigners that do not require Japanese skills.

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English Teaching Jobs in Japan for Adults

There are many full-time English teaching jobs in Japan 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.

Section Outline

Full Time English teaching jobs in Japan to adults

  • Teaching at an eikaiwa
  • Teaching business English lessons
  • Teaching at a university

This section focuses on what full-time English teaching jobs in Japan are available and where to find them.

English Teaching Jobs in Japan - Eikaiwa

Qualifications and Pay for an English Teaching Job in Japan at an Eikaiwa

  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

Eikaiwa is the Japanese term for an English Conversation School. 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 visa to work in Japan.

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 teaching in Tokyo at a conversation school would require you 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.

Teaching English in Tokyo at a school that caters only to adults 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. The founder of BFF Tokyo actually is a co-owner of an English school chain that just focuses on adults.

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 teaching jobs in Japan 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 Japan, 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 in Tokyo - Conversation School

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 for English teaching jobs in Japan. 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 who were hired to do English teaching in Tokyo 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.

English Teaching Jobs in Japan - Business English

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?

English teaching in Tokyo doing 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

English teaching jobs in Japan in business English industry 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 English in Tokyo at a business English provider. 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 English teaching jobs in Japan for business 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.

English Teaching Jobs in Japan - University

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.

Teaching English in Tokyo - University 1

What are lessons and students like at Universities?

English teaching in Tokyo at a university will involve teaching classes of 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

Teaching English in Tokyo - University 2 1

Positive University teaching experience in Tokyo

English teaching in Tokyo at a university can be 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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