Japan is an island nation which thrived independently for thousands of years, mysteriously closed off from the rest of the world. Today the country stands as a global leader in most areas of education and industry, and thankfully its doors have been opened to foreign teachers from all over the world who want to teach in Japan. Taking TEFL courses in Japan will allow you to discover an impressively unique and autonomous culture, while benefitting from one of the finest educational systems in the world. After earning your TEFL certificate in Japan, you’ll find your pupils will be dubbing you sensei in no time.
Tokyo is Japan’s capital, and also just so happens to be one of the largest cities in the world. It goes without saying that there is no shortage of educational opportunity in this mega-metropolis, which is home to over 35 million people. From beautiful ancient temples to buzzing modern market districts to an electric nightlife, earning a TEFL certificate in Tokyo will be part of the culturally engulfing experience of a lifetime.
For a more laid back lifestyle try the smaller city of Kyoto when selecting TEFL courses in Japan. As Japan’s imperial headquarters for over 1,000 years, the city is a highly popular tourist destination because of its expansive collection of temples and imperial architecture. But do not let its fame turn you away - Kyoto also offers a cool offbeat local vibe, and therefore can be a great place for new international teachers to live for an extended period of time.
Other major cities, such as Osaka, Okinawa, and Kawasaki, are also enticing TEFL course locations, each with their own flavor. There are TEFL certification course opportunities in nearly every Japanese city, big or small, so take your time to research which TEFL program is the best fit for you.
One great perk of living in Japan is that the highly efficient railway system makes the entire country accessible in no time (especially if you hop aboard a bullet train). So anywhere you land, you will still be connected to the rest of the country.
Courses & Programs
TEFL courses abroad are increasingly offered in online formats, but if you have made the trip to Japan then chances are you will be learning in a face-to-face environment. TEFL courses in Japan are generally fairly small and cover a wide variety of language related subjects, including English grammar, literacy, and phonetics. You will also be instructed in teaching methods, strategies, and classroom management. Some TEFL certification programs include the opportunity to supplement learning with practical experience teaching in a classroom setting as well, which can be highly valuable.
Obtaining a TEFL certificate typically requires around 120 hours of classroom experience, and so TEFL courses in Japan generally last around one month. Interested participants are often required to be fluent English speakers and hold at minimum a high-school degree, however holding a relevant university degree can boost your chances of not only being accepted into a certificate program but in gaining TEFL employment afterwards. Thankfully, most programs offer lifetime job assistance to all teachers who complete TEFL programs.
Once you have obtained your TEFL certificate you will be able to teach in Japan in a variety of educational settings. There are openings from the Kindergarten to University level, and also many opportunities to teach adult classes (many Japanese business professionals are constantly looking to improve their English speaking ability). Private English tutors are also highly sought after. Further, your employment prospects will not be limited to Japan - TEFL certificates are generally recognized across the globe. With a TEFL certificate, the world is literally at your feet!
Salary & Costs
Enrollment in most TEFL courses in Japan costs between $1,200 and $2,000 USD, depending on the location, prestige of the program, and included amenities. Upon completion English teachers in Japan can generally expect to earn $2,000 to $3,000 (150,000-250,000 Japanese Yen) a month, again depending on type of teaching job. ESL teachers are in high demand in Japan and elsewhere in the world, so take advantage of the lifetime job assistance guarantee that most programs will offer.
Japan can be an expensive country to live in, with prices in most major cities paralleling those of the Western world. As an ESL teacher in Japan you will earn a comfortable living, but do not expect to save up too much money working as an ESL teacher in Japan. Many job openings will compensate teachers with a larger salary along with room and board. So again, do your research carefully before jumping into a job opening.
Accommodation & Visas
Many Japanese cities are densely populated so expect comfortable - but not necessarily spacious - accommodation. You can save money by living in the suburbs or rural areas, as prices tend to increase the closer you get to city centers. Japan’s fantastic public transportation system makes the commute more than bearable.
For most Western countries you will not need a visa for stays which do not exceed 90 days. If you are planning to live and work in Japan upon completion of your TEFL course work, then you will likely need to organize an employment visa. Many TEFL certification programs in Japan will help you through this process, but in the mean time plan ahead by visiting GoAbroad’s Embassy Directory to find a Japanese embassy in your home country.
Benefits & Challenges
What better place to earn your TEFL certificate than in a country renowned for its world-class educational system? Japan offers thriving cities, beautiful island scenery, and a wonderfully unique culture which every potential teacher can benefit to learn from. Plus the Japanese language is about as distinct from English as you can get, creating many situations of cross-cultural interaction and challenging practical language experience. They say experience is the best teacher, and in Japan you will come to know an entirely different mode of life, the value of which will transcend far beyond your TEFL enrollment.