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Getting a job after the JET Programme

Hiring in English teachers in Japan

Your JET Programme stint coming to an end? Want to stay in Japan? Or maybe just got your backside fired? Here we discuss possible careers or jobs after the JET Programme. Please note the following links and/or comment can in no way be construed as recommendations for any particular website or business. You will need to do your research throughly. Start by the downloading the Jobs after JET guide (or see the 2011 After JET guide)

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Ganbatte and good luck! If you find the information on this page useful please consider making a small donation to keep us up and running. Thanks.

Now some advice for career seekers after JET...

Start your search on a positive note - if you're concerned about finding a job after the JET Program, ask yourself this: would a company you want to work with be interested in hiring someone who shows the adaptability, flexibility, tolerance and resourcefulness needed to move to the other side of the planet and teach in schools to students of varying ages while contending with strong language and cultural barriers? Selling your time on JET as more than "taught English in Japan" is easy when you consider the broader goals of the program. Now, to some rules:

Job after JET Rule 1 - don’t exaggerate your Japanese skills: Unless you have 1-kyu at the very least (if not a JETRO qualification or translation experience too) there’s not a lot of chance of you actually using Japanese in work. Sorry, but that’s the reality. Don’t pretend you can speak Japanese (or any other language or skill in fact) if you can’t do it. Also, the vast majority of bilingual posts go to local Japanese. The fact is that there are lots and lots of Japanese people who are very good at English out there.
Job after JET Rule 2 - be realistic: On top of the preceding, many Japanese employers seem to take a dim view of JET, not really counting it as work it all. It’s the fresh graduate jobs one needs to compete for, not the ones that ask for three years experience. The top tip for just finished-JETs is that you simply aren’t going to walk into anything other than an entry-level job unless you had previous experience before JET. And yes, this may mean a significantly lower salary too. If you had no previous experience before JET, now would be the time to sort out that internship whilst you (hopefully) still have some money left from living tax and rent free in Japan.
Job after JET Rule 3 - all is not lost: Where JETs really score highly is (hopefully) possessing good knowledge of the Japanese culture and work environment. Many Japanese employers do value Japanese experience (not just JET but Nova/Geos or anything) as ex-JETs fit in well to the Japanese corporate workplace, whether it be as a graduate trainee or a sales assistant. So, yes, even Japanese fashion shops may rather take ex-JETs than any non-Japanese-experienced candidate with years of retail experience. I know that to some extent this contradicts previous points, but the key is the junior level of the jobs.
Job after JET Rule 4 - Investigate Japanese employers in your home country: Although it may be something you are already aware of, you may still be surprised at the size of Japanese investment abroad. There are probably thousands of Japanese owned companies in big cities in countries where most JETs come from (not including small businesses like restaurants). If you’re an ex-JET who will be living near a Japanese company in a rural area, you’ve got it sorted. Go and introduce yourself and talk to the HR people, see if you can do some work experience or just chat.
Job after JET Rule 5 - Japanese companies are not nirvana: A crappy job is a crappy job, no matter what nationality of company you work for. Even though you may get to work for a Japanese company and get to use (some) Japanese at work and have lots of fun Japanese colleagues who say "kawaii" a lot and like enkai and karaoke at the end of the day - if it’s not something you love, the novelty wears off.
Job after JET Rule 6 - Watch the hiring schedule: One should be aware that (for 90% of the time) the hiring schedules of Japanese companies do not line up with the JET contracting schedule. Japanese businesses hire for starts in April - the beginning of the financial year. Unless you're lucky enough to be an April hire, JET contracts end in July. This is one of the the biggest barriers for one to find employment in Japan outside of the usual gig of English teaching. So unless you are prepared to walk off the job at least three months early (which would not go down well) potential employees should take up a different job with a different contracting schedule that is a better fit with the common hiring practices of Japanese businesses.
Job after JET Rule 7 - Think about what you want: This gets drummed in at everyone finishing JET but it’s really important. A little prior planning will help you to hit the ground running when you finish JET. Don’t fall in to the trap of lazing around for too long and getting so broke you have to take the first job offered. And really, there is nothing worse in an interview than the candidate who says 'I'd like to work at anything'. You NEED to have some idea of what you would and wouldn't like to do. You need to choose a career, then AFTER that look at how you can apply your Japan-related skills. If you keep up Japanese and get some more experience then, and only then, will you maybe walk into a job with Sumitomo, Mizuho, Mitsubishi or Mitsui.

But I just need a job after JET! Then read on...

Information about English Schools in Japan

Some notes to remember. January until March is the prime recruitment time if you are seeking employment as a teacher at one of the small and/or independent English schools (eikaiwa) in Japan, so you need to make an early decision about your exit from the JET Programme. The big English schools like ECC recruit all year round due to their large number of schools and the fact the average teacher at their schools only stay 1 or 2 years or less (i.e. found better jobs or returned home). Also some small English schools also recruit year round. Some recruit for private ALT postions or for conversation classes on sites. Conditions and locations can widely vary so make sure to do your homework. Listed below are links to some of the larger English Schools in Japan. You can find vacancies for some of the smaller school via the job links provided

English Schools in Japan - Links

Find the best deal, compare prices & read what others say about travelling Japan

Hiring in English teachers in Japan

We have recently removed links here as it was felt it was giving unfair advantage to large English schools who have plenty of money to do their own advertising. If you are in this category and would like to have a paid or sponsored link please contact us.

If you are non-profit organisation, a small local eikaiwa or are offering prefecture-sponsored positions please contact us with the details.

A to Z - recruiting mostly in Nagano

* This is a very handy comparison table put together by a poster on the JET Programme official forums (in 2010) for English schools hiring in Japan.

Japan Job Links

O-Hayo Sensei - A very good source for finding English teaching opportunities in Japan. You can download the current issue online, or for a fee of $12 annually, the latest issue will be sent automatically to your e-mail address twice a month.

Genki English - The Genki English team are former JETs and well known throughout Japan for their English programs. They list some jobs here as well as some useful videos. - A site created by a community of English teachers and provides some excellent resources as well as inside articles which only those experienced in teaching English in Japan would know about. - The web site features an extensive list of opportunities for teaching English worldwide, and regularly posts lists of jobs in Japan.

ESL Cafe - Check out the Japan Forum - Offers regularly updated, on-line jobs boards for f/t and p/t ESL positions with smaller English and private schools

Gaijin Pot - A popular web site that lists full- and part-time ESL positions as well as non-ESL opportunities.

Career Cross Japan - This site features a searchable database with which you can specify your preferred location, your field of expertise, your level of experience, and other criteria to find a perfect match. Career Cross also includes many listings for jobs other than teaching.

JALT - University teaching positions are listed here

Jobs at International schools and kindergartens in Japan

If you have a formal teaching qualification (such as a B.Ed) or graduate diploma (such as a G.Dip.Ed) a very good alternative are the many international schools and kindergartens in Japan. International schools generally like to recruit teachers with at least two years prior experience in the position you are applying for. Your experience on the JET Programme may be considered depending on the position you are applying for (and the school). You can try approaching the schools directly (as below) or look for jobs on sites such as TES and TIE Online.

International schools and kindergartens in Japan- contacts

This list is subdivided into the following sub-headings (first, Tokyo followed by other regions of Japan)

Tokyo: Preschool & Kindergarten Only - English
Tokyo: Schools with Preschool, Kindergarten, Elementary &, in some cases, High School Programs - English
Tokyo: Tutoring and Special Education for Children with Learning Differences
Yokohama, Kawasaki and Kanagawa - English
Tokyo: Non-English International Schools
Yokohama: Non-English International Schools
Tsukuba: University town northeast of Tokyo - English
Tokyo: College and University - English

Other Parts of Japan (organized from North to South):
Nagoya / Aichi
Fukuoka / Kyushu

There are also international schools in Japan listed here on DMOZ and here on the Stanford site

Private or Alternative ALT positions in Japan

These positions are mostly staffed through the big English schools such as Heart, Interac and Altia. You may however still be lucky enough to find one advertised directly through a school. Many times these positions are filled through word of mouth. If you have friends teaching in private ALT positions try to get them to ask around for you (or ask if they're leaving!). Be careful of the conditions you are offered - here is one example (in Fukuoka) of the poor conditions of 'sub-contracted' ALT's

Nagano Prefecture recruits private ALT's to work in various areas, mostly in senior high schols.

Kurashiki City in Okayama runs and recruits ALT's directly for their NET (Native English Teacher) Program

If you are from Wisconsin you can apply for Chiba Prefecture's special sister-state ALT exchange. A number of the ALTs in Chiba are not JETs but actually special Wisconsin ALT's. For the most part they are identical to JETs - the only thing they don't get is a Tokyo Orientation. Placement on this program guarantees placement in Chiba Prefecture at a senior high school.

Skiing in Japan

'Gap' Programs and Working Holiday Visas in Japan

If just wanting a short-term position you may be eligible for a Working Holiday Visa.There are positions that allow young people to work in short-term positions like golf caddying, ski lift attendants, etc. For information go to

Internships and Summer Programs

Princeton-in-Asia - Fellowships and Summer Internships Teaching English in Japan. Posts available for college seniors or graduates to teach English.

Japanese University Scholarships - MEXT, Monbusho, etc.

You can apply for a research or teaching studies scholarship. For these you must be under 35 years of age and a college graduate (includes prospective graduates). Those who wish to undertake Japanese Studies must be under 30 years old.

Teaching English and Study Options - China

One can obtain a China Scholar Council Scholarship. You are paid to live in a Chinese university and study Mandarin. Apparently it's not difficult to obtain if you are prepared to work through their torturous bureaucracy. Here is useful site that lists Chinese universities that the scholarship could send you to. If you're looking for decent places to work, this might be a good place to start too...

CIEE's Teach Abroad in China program is a sort of "poorer cousin" of the JET Programme.

China can be far more interesting than Japan, but also far less paid - not to mention (from personal experience) far more irritating too. Some interesting discussions can be found at the popular Chinese-Forums site

Note: English school work is also widely available, but be careful! There are a lot of really awful companies out there. Do your homework VERY carefully!

Teaching English - Korea

As of early 2009 the Won is very weak (but so was the Yen in early 2008). Hence for these jobs there will be less competition, lower start-up costs, and a salary that will likely improve the longer you stay there.

Korea has a three similar programs to JET. They've had mixed reviews, but you get rent and utilities included in your salary and living costs are very low. Even at the current exchange rate, it's a great place to save money, plus your return airfare is covered.

Unlike JET, you can get a guaranteed placement in a big city with SMOE, where you can be assured of getting placed in Seoul!

The nationwide equivalent is called EPIK

There also is provincial version in the area that surrounds Seoul called GEPIK. Some reports claim it is a bit better than EPIK

Note: English school work is also widely available, but be careful! There are a lot of really awful companies out there. Do your homework VERY carefully!

Teaching English - Hong Kong

HK recruits foreign teachers, called NETS, for placement in both the locally run primary and secondary schools. Contracts are for two years; most contractual details can be gleaned from this page. The salary for these job posts are among the highest in the world, although of course HK is not cheap to live in. Details can be read on various sites, including entry through the government's Education and Manpower Bureau site, and following the link to the NET scheme.

Teaching English - Taiwan

A great country and good place to save money. Just like Korea, there's plenty of Japanese influence here. Here's a forum you could check out

Some Thoughts on Teaching English in Japan
Teaching English and Living in Japan by Lindy Sinka
Live, Learn and Teach English in Japan by Christopher P. Cotter
Teaching English in Japan: How to Get Started and What to Expect by Jo Ebisujima
Teaching English in Japan: The Internet Job Search by A.J. Hoge  
Point Your Cursor to a Job in Japan by Celeste Heiter
An English Teaching Assistant's Introduction to Japan by Gabrielle Wallace
Short-Term Contracts Teaching English in Japan by Matthew Hernon
Tutoring English in Japan by Adrienne McPhail
The ALT Scam by the Fukuoka General Union
Alternative Lifestyles - Life in Japan without teaching English
How about becoming a rice farmer in rural Japan?



A short documentary from PBS Frontline about an Australian who became a rice farmer in rural Japan on Shikoku

Alternatively you could always try to get residency and get yourself elected. Check out the website of Anthony Bianchi (Aichi JET, 1989-91) - the first North American to hold elected office in Japan.

Another job could be to drive a taxi. In Hiroshima, Stephen Outlaw- Spruell became possibly Japan's only gaijin taxi driver and somewhat of a local celebrity. Sorry no link available. Phone Tsubame Kotsu Taxi Company - 082-221-1955

Be an Au Pair and look after children.

Or you could just give up altogether and become homeless like the poor Vincent Dodson.

Good Luck!

TAGS:Jobs after the JET Programme, English Schools, Private ALT's, Japan Holiday Visa, International Schools, Kindergartens, Internships, Summer Programs, Working Holidays in Japan, Rice Farmer, Au Pair, Rural Japan, Shikoku, Kurashiki NET Scheme, EPIK, GEPIK, SMOE, Korea, China Scholar Council Scholarship, Taiwan, Japanese university scholarships, finding a job after the JET Program

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