There is a constant demand for native English language teachers in Japan, with private conversation schools and the JET Programme as the main sources for teaching positions. There is also a certain demand for teachers of other foreign languages.
"Eikaiwa" or English Conversation schools are a big business in Japan, offering Japanese people of all ages the opportunity to practice their English communication skills with native speakers in small classes or private lessons.
Aeon and ECC are some of the leading conversation schools, each operating more than 200 schools across Japan. In addition, there are countless mid sized and small language schools.
The major conversation schools operate recruitment offices overseas, including the USA, Canada, UK and Australia. The requirements to get a job differ from school to school, but many require little more than a university degree in any field.
JET stands for "Japan Exchange and Teaching", and is a government operated program that recruits non Japanese people for foreign language teaching and counseling positions at schools and companies in Japan. Most JET participants work as Assistant Language Teachers (ALT) at high schools and junior high schools in Japan.
The citizens of over 30 countries are eligible to apply for a position in the JET Programme at the Japanese embassy or consulate of their home country. Requirements are a university degree in any field and good language skills. There is an age limit of 40 years, but exceptions are made.
The duration of JET positions is initially one year, but can be extended by up to two more years. The JET Programme is considered by many the best way of teaching in Japan.
Languages other than English
At conversation schools and in the JET Programme, there is also a certain demand for native speakers of foreign languages other than English, especially French, German, Spanish, Italian, Korean and Chinese.