Travel, Teach, Live in Japan
Teaching English in Japan - 7 Frequently Asked Questions
By Kevin R Burns
Does the idea of teaching English in Japan appeal to you? Although there's plenty of work available, you'll need to prepare yourself well in advance. So, check out the answers to these seven frequently asked questions. They'll help you secure a suitable job, avoid major pitfalls, enabling you to get the best out of your teaching stay in this wonderful country.
1. Which Town Or City? First of all, you'll need to decide whereabouts in Japan you'd like to work. Take into account that there tends to be lots of competition for teaching posts in major cities such as Tokyo and Osaka. Also, rents are higher, but salaries not necessarily much greater than smaller cities and towns. On the other hand, if you don't know any Japanese, and the idea of being surrounded by mainly Japanese culture doesn't appeal, the larger cities may suit you better.
2. Find The Job Before You Go Or When You Get There? Are you planning to fly to Japan and then seek work? In that case, you'll need to go on a 3-month travel visa and then, once you find your job, you should temporarily leave Japan to apply for a working visa. Really, it's best to secure a job from your home country. Your employer will see to most of the paperwork necessary for a working visa.
3. Which Qualifications? What qualifications will you need to secure a job in Japan teaching English? Generally speaking, the ideal is to possess a university degree and a TEFL or similar teaching certificate. A little knowledge of Japanese won't go amiss, either. Having said that, the larger chains of English-learning schools don't always require a teaching certificate, unlike the smaller schools, which tend to want more experienced teachers.
4. How Do You Find The Job? If you're applying to larger schools, such as Geos, ECC, Berlitz, Aeon, and Gaba, you'll need to apply round about March/April. Other ways of securing your teaching job include looking for work and posting your CV online, applying to individual smaller schools, and using a TEFL placement agency.
5. How Much Will You Earn? Although salaries vary, you can expect to earn around 250,000 yen a month. More often than not, the school will provide you with an apartment, although you will have to pay for this.
6. Will The School Pay My Flight? Generally speaking, you will be responsible for the cost of your flight. One exception to this is the Jet Program, although this tends to be more difficult to get into.
7. How About Health Insurance? You'll need to check whether your contract includes health insurance. Usually it does but, with some schools, you'll need to take this out and pay for it yourself.
Now you have the main facts, with a little persistence and perseverance, you're sure to find a job teaching English in Japan. Have a wonderful time!
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