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An easy-to-understand explanation of the basics of how a foreigner can become an English teacher in Japan!

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Female English teacher in Japan

When foreigners are looking for work in Japan, a shortcut for those who have not mastered Japanese would be to become foreign language teachers who teach their native language. In particular, since Japanese people are not good at English, there is a great need for English teachers.

This is because it is said that the shortest way to improve a foreign language is to teach it in the language of the country. If a teacher is fluent in Japanese, students will feel comfortable asking questions in Japanese, which is an advantage because they cannot speak Japanese.

In this article, we will explain in simple terms how a foreigner can become an English teacher in Japan. Let's take a closer look at the various options for working as an English teacher in Japan, the preparation needed before actually starting work, and how to find a job.

We are sure that you will find this information useful for foreigners who are thinking about starting a career as an English teacher in Japan. We hope you will find it useful.

Goandup Picks Click here for recommended articles!

How can a foreigner become an English teacher in Japan?

There are various options for foreigners to work as English teachers in Japan. Here are some examples of where and in what capacity you can work.

1. school teachers

A Japanese teaching license is required to work as an official teacher in a Japanese school with the same status as a Japanese national. To obtain a teaching license, you must take a teaching course at a Japanese university and obtain the necessary credits.

However, most foreign nationals who work as teachers are full-time foreign language teachers, and most commonly work as part-time ALTs (Assistant Language Teachers). ALTs do not need a teaching license to become an ALT.

2. assistant language teacher (ALT)

ALTs are foreign language teaching assistants who work as assistants to qualified Japanese teachers at elementary, junior high, and senior high schools, teaching live foreign languages. This profession is mainly occupied by foreigners from English-speaking countries, and contributes to the improvement of foreign language education in schools throughout Japan.

No special qualifications are required to become an ALT, but a four-year college degree or equivalent will be necessary. It is also advantageous to have a certification in English teaching methods such as teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL). Requirements may differ from employer to employer, so please check carefully before applying.

3. teacher at an English conversation school

There are various English conversation schools in Japan. Unlike compulsory schools, they teach English to students who pay by the hour and come to learn. They are characterized by students of all ages, from children to adults.

Generally, students take one-on-one or small group lessons of 4 to 8 students, which last 45 to 60 minutes. The lessons are mainly conversation practice, but there are also specialized courses such as exam preparation and Business English.

Each English conversation school has different hiring requirements, such as a foreign language teaching license in your home country, teaching English as a second language (TESOL) or other certification, and teaching experience, so it is important to check these requirements thoroughly before you apply.

Today, online lessons have become very popular, and you can take English conversation lessons anytime and anywhere with a computer or smartphone, so there is an option to be an online teacher. It is a great way to work without being restricted by location.

Preparation needed to start teaching English in Japan

Teaching English in Japan requires a lot of preparation besides being a foreigner.

Teaching English in Japan requires a lot of preparation.

Schools and companies are looking for individuals who can provide a quality education and are reliable. Being able to prove the following items is a shortcut to employment.

  • English-speaking nationality (native language is English) recognized by the school or company
  • Bachelor's degree from a four-year college or university
  • Certification in English teaching methods such as TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) and TESOL (teaching English to speakers of other languages)
  • Proof of no criminal record
  • Results of physical examinations and drug tests with no problems

These are the basic requirements that you should have in place before starting a job as an English teacher. In addition to these, if you have actual teaching experience or experience teaching business English, you will have a better chance of finding employment under more favorable conditions.

By being well prepared in advance, you will have a smooth start to your career as an English teacher.

How to find a job as an English teacher

In today's world of the Internet, online is the best option for job searches. For example, a search using keywords such as "native English speaking teacher (instructor) jobs" will yield hits from various job sites and employment opportunities at English conversation schools.

Job sites allow you to search by location, train lines, salary, and other criteria so that you can find a job that meets your needs efficiently. If you find a job that interests you, the general process is to register your resume online and apply for the position.

Another option is to apply directly to schools or English conversation schools in your neighborhood. You can contact them through the employment information page of their website, or call or e-mail them. If the timing is right, you may be able to get an interview on the spot.

In addition, it is also effective to get information from acquaintances who are already working as English teachers in the foreign community. If you are introduced to a job through a person, your chances of being hired will be much higher. It may be a good idea to let people know that you are looking for a job on a regular basis so that you may be blessed with a good opportunity.

There are many ways to find a job in Japan, not only as an English teacher. The following article, which details job hunting, career change, and part-time job search for foreigners, may be helpful.
▶︎ The Complete Guide to Finding a Job in Japan! Finding a job, changing jobs, and part-time work for foreigners

5 Recommended English Teacher Jobs

Here are five English teaching jobs for foreigners. All of them are major English conversation schools with branches nationwide, and all of them are companies that focus on hiring foreign teachers.

1. shane eikaiwa

We are a 展開する large English conversation school with 188 schools nationwide and 166 schools in the Tokyo metropolitan area. We also offer corporate training and support for study abroad programs. Teachers develop lessons tailored to students' goals.

Our welfare and training programs are designed to provide a long and secure working environment. Support in Japan is also very generous, so we recommend this program for those who have just arrived in Japan.

Reference:Careers Company Information|Eikaiwa School of English 【 Shane English 】

2. eon English Conversation

We are 展開する large English conversation school with 250 schools nationwide. We contribute to the improvement of English conversation skills throughout Japan through a variety of programs, including instruction for elementary school teachers and Eiken courses at high schools.

We are also working to improve the work-life balance of teachers and promote a comfortable work environment.

Reference:Teach English in Japan | AEON

ECC Language School

Founded in 1962 as an English conversation school, ECC Language School now offers instruction in Chinese, Korean, French, Italian, German, and Spanish as well as English.

ECC has a nationwide presence and is actively engaged in online lessons, which are characterized by the use of ECC's unique teaching materials.

Reference:Teach English in Japan | AEON

4. GABA One-on-One English Conversation

This English conversation school specializes in one-on-one instruction. They are naturally more expensive than schools that focus on group lessons, but they emphasize high quality education. It is suitable for those who want to be taught well in private lessons.

Reference:Teach English in Japan | Gaba Teaching in Japan

5. one-coin English

An innovative concept of an English conversation school where students can learn for only 500 yen for 60 minutes. Although small in scale, with only 9 schools in Tokyo and 1 in Yokohama in the Tokyo metropolitan area, the school is active in a wide range of activities, including share houses and Japanese language classes.

The school offers a place to learn English conversation casually at a reasonable price and attracts a wide range of beginners and students. Teachers are mainly non-Japanese.

Reference:Part-Time job in Tokyo: Teach English to Wonderful Students!

For foreigners who want to work in Japan

Nowadays, foreigners who are looking for a job in Japan may be asking themselves, "I want to work in Japan, but where do I start? Which company is right for me? How can I find a job? How can I find a job?

We will do our best to support your job search in Japan! If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us using the contact form below.

In order to help you achieve the career path you seek, we will provide you with the best support regarding not only employment, but also part-time work and other opportunities. We sincerely hope that you will find your ideal workplace and that this will be the first step toward a successful career in Japan.


How was it? We have compiled all the information you need to know about working as an English teacher in Japan.

It is very meaningful for Japan to have foreign nationals who are able to use their skills to make a difference in Japan. We hope you will find a rewarding and easy-to-work-with English teaching job that suits you.

I am sure that you will have a fulfilling life in Japan. Although you may be confused by the language barrier and differences in lifestyle, it is important to have the flexibility to integrate into a different culture in a positive manner.

There are many jobs available in Japan for foreigners who cannot speak Japanese, other than teaching English. If you are interested, please check the following articles.
▶︎ What kind of jobs are available in Tokyo for foreigners who cannot speak Japanese? Explanation of the work process

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