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CELTA, 8 years experience f/t, no degree 2013/2/6 11:10
Hi all,

Basically I'm getting a fair degree of ambiguity with regard to the specialist in humanties/no degree scenario so some advice from folks in the field would be gratefully received.

So, do I have a shot at getting a work permit or should I forget all about it?

Should I just apply away? Do potential employers carry a bit of weight when it comes down to the decision...as in, if they like/want you, can they cut through the red tape.

The other question is: Given my 8 years experience (full time 25+ hrs/week), can i not set my actual work experience against the 3rd level qualification?

No idea how it works and coming up against bureaucratic brick walls a lot. Please help:))) that, or the personal email of Mr "I-decide-who-gets-a-Japanese-visa" :))

Thanks for any input folks.
by Féargus (guest)  

... 2013/2/6 17:11
Assuming you are talking about applying for English teaching jobs then usually the requirement for a work visa is a Bachelor Degree or three years of relevant work experience.

Sounds like you have that covered so I think you will be fine assuming you have the appropriate documentation.

Good luck!
by GC3 rate this post as useful

Re: CELTA, 8 years experience f/t, no degree 2013/2/6 19:30
I assume you are a native speaker of the English language, and have taught English as a foreign language already for 8 years full-time.

Your experience as an English teacher is sufficient for a work visa, so you should go ahead an look for an employer. (If your qualification was not sufficient, then an employer would not be able to "cut through the tape," no matter how interested they were in hiring you. Immigration requirement is immigration requirement.)

Good luck finding a job :)
by AK (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: CELTA, 8 years experience f/t, no degree 2013/2/6 20:52
Thanks folks,

Yip, I'm a native speaker - don't let the name fool you - it's Irish spelling.

Hey, that's great news on the visa front! I automatically ruled out Asia years ago due to the degree thing and never gave it a moment's thought.

Thanks again for the input! You've saved me a lot of fruitless, online seacrhing.

Now, all I have to do is find a job :)

One final thing: Due to the visa waiver thingy between UK and Japan, I can stay for 180 days as a tourist. I'm fortunate enough to have the funds to sustain myself for that time period.

I'd intended originally to go out as a tourist, look about and see how I find the place before committing to a job. I've also have bad experiences in the past with online applications (who hasn't?). Am I increased my chances by being there in the flesh or am I increasing the potential headache for a prospective employer - re. having to change visa status?

But, you answered the main question so thank you both, once again. Looks like I didn't waste my time learning those 2000 kanji, after all :D

by Féargus (guest) rate this post as useful

... 2013/2/6 21:10
If you are 30 years or under I would also investigate the possibility of starting with a Working Holiday Visa.

Assuming you are Irish:-

In general it would be easier to get a teaching job if you were in Japan. In general it is easier to get a job if you have the appropriate visa first but I believe it is possible to get the process started for a visa change once you have a job offer.

There are some exceptions like being an ALT for JET where you need to apply outside Japan I think, but they tend to be exceptions to the above.
by GC3 rate this post as useful

Re: CELTA, 8 years experience f/t, no degree 2013/2/6 21:37
Under 30? ah..I wish :) Nope, wouldn't qualify for that, but guess I'll just start job searching...who knows? If I'm lucky I might be able to arrange a few interviews, go over...and it it doesn't work out, just use it as a holiday.

Japan seems like a tricky enough place in which to establish oneself, but I get the impression that it's worth it!

PS do primary kids really do "kancho"??!! yuck! Don't know about anyone else but my innards can take a bit of time getting used to new cuisine and such a joke might result in dire consequences for the "kancho" finger...and I mean this in the loosest possible way, if you catch my drift

Thanks again.
by Féargus (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: CELTA, 8 years experience f/t, no degree 2013/2/7 03:34
Féargus, it is nice to find someone who has a CELTA! Perhaps you can help me understand it a bit more?

I am very close to graduating with my bachelor's degree, but it is not related to English or education at all. I want to teach in Japan and possibly other Asian countries for a few years before settling back down at home. Many of the requirements I found for Japan included either having a bachelor's degree in English or education, 3+ years of teaching experience, or a TEFL.

Since my bachelor's is not in English or education, I was considering a TEFL since there is an affordable program close to my home. However, a friend alerted me that a CELTA is being regarded higher in many countries. When I researched this I found it to be mostly European countries and could not find any Asian countries that mentioned a CELTA as fulfilling the requirements.

Since a TEFL and a CELTA are almost the same, I thought for sure it would fulfill that requirement. However, I cannot find any information. I am contacting employers directly to ask, but I wanted to ask your opinion.

Is it worth going for a CELTA or should I stick to a TEFL?

The reason I am so interested is because there is also a CELTA program offered near by that offers much more than the TEFL program. I do not want to get my CELTA though only to realize it is not accepted by Japanese employers.
by Bethany (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: CELTA, 8 years experience f/t, no degree 2013/2/7 06:45
HI Bethany,
From what I can remember about my CELTA, the one thing that separated it and other similar courses from the rest was the amount of observed teaching practice and, of course, the price ;)
I have never taught in Asia so I canft help you there – perhaps some of the other folks might be able to help you out.
I think the CELTA is a good idea if youfre starting out and youfve already been considering it. My grammar was dire when I started my course...you know, Ifd been writing things like: he would of said something  so it helped me understand that I could not simply reply upon: well, thatfs just how we say it where Ifm from, and the fact that I was a native speaker. I also found the teaching practice and group feedback sessions quite useful – ultimately I believe they helped me build overall confidence in my fledging abilities 
Having said that, Ifve met and worked alongside great teachers who did not do the CELTA, but they were under increasing pressure to acquire some form of qualification. That was in Belfast anyway. I dare say there are still many, many places were one could teach without the CELTA.
I donft want to bum the CELTA down, but for many it is seen as a carte blanche – a hoop that one must jump through. Does it make you a better teacher than the other courses? I really couldnft say. Would it help you land a job? I think so, but thatfs just my opinion. Ifd say therefs been some pretty mental styles of teaching going on out there over the years and some employers just feel more comfortable hiring people who had all undergone a similar enough style of training, use same methodology etc. I did like the stuff about pronunciation we did on the CELTA and itfs been invaluable to me along the way. Ifve see loads of teachers who are terrified of using the IPA. Ifd say in Asia, it would be more important than, say, in Europe.
Personally, but maybe Ifve become slightly jaded along the way...:) I rate a personfs rapport, nature, ability to chill the entire room out, and inspire the students to learn some new stuff over a bunch of qualifications...but , sadly, Ifve often seen better candidates passed over for promotions due to not having lots of qualifications. I, myself, had numerous problems at the beginning because I donft hold a degree, but it really doesnft take long for employers to see which teachers are alright (you donft have to be Captain Grammar or Super TEFL) and which are just taking the p*ss.
So, Ifd say if youfve got the cash, the inclination and the time go for the CELTA – I think I did the one run from Cambridge...anyway, make sure there are a sufficient number of observed teaching practice hours..you know, it just proves to some folks that you have actually stood up and worked the room and youfre not likely to freak out first day and bolt for the door 
Let me know if youfve anymore questions or Ifve missed something. Ifm sure someone else here might come along and give you some good advice on the various practices in Asia with regard to teaching English.
by IrishRegulus rate this post as useful

Re: CELTA, 8 years experience f/t, no degree 2013/2/7 09:16
IrishRegulus, thank you SO much!

I agree that it takes more than a certificate to make a teacher, but like you said - most employers want to see that the teacher has met the requirements (whether it's through a degree, experience, or a TEFL).

I hate to admit this, but my degree was completed out of pressure from my family. I had wanted to get a degree in English since the beginning of high school because I wanted to teach English overseas as well as write in my spare time... Although I know when you are teacher, you may not have too much spare time!

Since my non-English related degree will be completed in a couple months though, there is no turning back, which is why I was considering a TEFL or a CELTA.

I am from the USA and it seems that the TEFL is more popular, but I feel like I would get much more out of a CELTA because of the observed teaching time like you mentioned... However, I do not want to spend such a large sum of money on a CELTA only for Japanese employers to tell me they want a TEFL.

I guess I will just have to see what employers say!
by Bethany (guest) rate this post as useful

... 2013/2/7 15:23
Since my non-English related degree will be completed in a couple months though, there is no turning back, which is why I was considering a TEFL or a CELTA.

The Bachelor Degree is an immigration requirement for a Work Visa. They don't care what your degree is in. Most people who go to Japan to teach English do not have a Bachelor Degree in English or Teaching.

In general for normal English teaching jobs a Bachelor Degree in anything plus speaking English natively is enough. They usually don't require TEFL/CELTA/whatever. Obviously if you have one of the others it may assist you in finding work but it is usually not a requirement. Also, if you apply for an ALT position as a JET then you just need the Bachelor Degree (in anything) and not a TEFL/CELTA etc.

ie. I wouldn't go and spend the money on TEFL/CELTA unless you struggle to find work.

Of course, I'm not an English teacher in Japan and perhaps someone else can offer some specific advice. This is just what I know from the forums and talking to teachers/ALTs etc.

Good Luck!
by GC3 rate this post as useful

Re: CELTA, 8 years experience f/t, no degree 2013/2/7 21:33
No probs Bethany. I'm glad someone else more knowledgeable about Asia could answer you. I know that, here in Europe, nearly all schools scream out for CELTA but that's probably got more to do with how CELTA's marketing department works and its sphere of influence no doubt wanes the further from civilastion...ehm *cough* *cough*..I mean Europe...one gets ;DDDD When you say TEFL, is that the same as TOEFL? Anyway, looks like you're in luck then for Asia...I had to cut my teeth in the South American continent until I had enough experience to get a decent job, with decent conditions etc.

I wouldn't worry about your degree not being English - it's your/our native speakery that they're after :) You'll probably find yourself freaking out more cos you don't have enough games or activities to use, or find a great activity which then requires about a million little pieces of cut out paper...We're all waiting for the book: 1001 paperless activities ;)) There have been mnay times where I've felt i was nothing more than a glorified paper cutter outer..hahaha..good scissors and paper clips...you can NEVER have enough...bring 'em by the box load..haha

You'll love it and believe me, there will be times when you finish on a Friday and you think: this is the best job in the world...or when that shy student finally joins in..when you can't escape your classroom due to the usual little group of students who linger behind with questions (I think that's a good sign :)

TEFL could be better for Asia too due to the North American continent being their usual English-speaking destination...so they'll be familiar with the North American systems.

It's the person who makes the teacher. I've worked alongside some folks who had experience and qualifications..but they were just complete b*stards in the class and the students either despised them or were terrified of them. Big pleasant happy, smiling face can really go a long way :)

by IrishRegulus rate this post as useful

Re: CELTA, 8 years experience f/t, no degree 2013/2/8 06:57
Thank you GC3! I feel much better about my degree now, haha. :)

I had read previously that JET does not specify what the degree is in so I had planned to apply there, but I thought other employers required the degree to be in English or education, but I am glad to know that is not the case!

I still worry if my degree in criminal justice will be a hinderance. :/

IrishRegulus, it is the little things like the shy one joining the group that seem to make it all worth it! I really cannot wait for it!
by Bethany (guest) rate this post as useful

... 2013/2/8 09:26
Thank you GC3! I feel much better about my degree now, haha. :)

No worries.

If I was you I would apply for an ALT position with JET as you can do this easily while you are in the USA. If you don't get accepted then consider the alternatives. Note that JETs often get posted to rural places in Japan so don't expect to be based in Tokyo.

Useful forum for JETs:-
by GC3 rate this post as useful

Re: CELTA, 8 years experience f/t, no degree 2013/2/9 04:42
GC3, JET has been my first choice. I am of course considering other options as well though because I heard JET can be competitive.

To my understanding, being placed in rural Japan is very common for most English teaching jobs, not just JET?

Many people I know who are also interested in teaching in Japan believe it to be the land of anime, fashion, and crazy city life. They were very disappointed to find out that most teaching jobs could be in rural Japan and not Tokyo. However, I was not. I enjoyed anime and eccentric fashion when I was younger and it brings back nice memories, but now I am more interested in the culture and exploring the land.

With that said, I am still a little nervous about rural Japan. A friend of mine teaching in South Korea was placed in a rural area, but he says rural for South Korea is still fairly populated whereas he said rural Japan is what one would typically consider rural (farm land, etc). After reading blogs of previous English teachers who were placed in rural locations, I am still a bit confused. Some made it seem like living in Hokkaido was like living in Antarctica whereas others said how it wasn't bad at all!

I guess my question is how rural is rural?

I will have to do more research.
by Bethany (guest) rate this post as useful

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