What is the JET programme in Japan?

Let EBC be your guide on this exciting JET programme ride

It’s easy to see why Japan has always been a popular destination for EFL teachers. Thanks to the JET programme, teaching English in Japan doesn’t have to be a far-off dream.

Japan is among the countries that pay the highest salaries for teaching English abroad. Most first-time English teachers in Japan get paid between  2,250 USD to 2,600 USD per month. You may also get benefits like a housing stipend and reimbursement for airfare. First-year participants teaching English in Japan on the JET Programme earn an average of 2,550 USD per month with yearly pay increases.

How does the JET programme work?

The JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching) programme is a Japanese government initiative that aims to increase mutual understanding between the people of Japan and the people of other nations through improved language education in Japan’s local communities. The programme participants are collectively called JETs.

The JET programme offers university graduates positions for full-time jobs as either an Assistant Language Teacher (ALT) in elementary and secondary schools, a Sports Exchange Advisor (SEA) whose role is to assist with sports training and the planning of sports-related projects, or a Coordinator for International Relations (CIR) in selected local government offices in Japan.

JET programme for Teaching English in Japan

What are the duties?

First, ALTs assist with Japanese Teachers of English/Language (JTEs/JTLs) classes. They are involved in preparing teaching materials and extracurricular activities such as English clubs or sports teams. More than 90% of JET participants are employed as ALTs. These participants are placed mainly in public schools or local boards of education.

Typical duties for an ALT:

  • Team-teaching or assisting with classes taught by JTEs/JTLs
  • Assisting in the preparation of teaching materials
  • Participating in extracurricular activities with students

JET programme for Teaching English in Japan

Secondly, applicants with a functional command of the Japanese language can apply to work as CIRs, assisting local government offices in international exchange activities at the local level. Just under 10% of JET participants are CIRs. Principal duties often include translation/interpretation for government officials, teaching community or school English classes, and international exchange event planning and implementation.

Typical duties for a CIR may include:

  • Receiving guests from abroad
  • Editing and producing pamphlets in English or Japanese
  • Advising and planning international exchange programmes
  • Teaching English (or other languages) to government employees and locals

Teaching English in Japan

Lastly, SEAs work for local governments, coaching and promoting internationalisation through the universal language of sports. They are sports professionals whose role is to assist with sports training and the planning of sports-related projects.

What are the JET Programme requirements for Teaching English in Japan?

To be eligible for JET, you:

  • Must be a native English speaker from the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, or South Africa
  • Must have a BA/BS degree in any discipline from a university in one of the above countries
  • If English is not your first language, you must show that you have been taught in English from at least junior high level (7th Grade)
  • Have at least a 100-hour TEFL qualification from an accredited provider. The Trinity CertTESOL certificate is a 200-hour TEFL qualification. There are accredited providers, and there are accredited providers! You don’t want any old TEFL certification but one that is British Council-recognised and accepted by employers worldwide. That’s the only way you get the best TEFL jobs fast.
  • Have a clean background check
  • Be in good physical/mental health
  • Must meet all other eligibility criteria as there is no age requirement limit. However, applicants will be assessed on maturity, professionalism, and ability to adjust to different cultures.

Teaching English in Japan

Most first-time English teachers in Japan get paid between 247,700 JPY (2,250 USD) to 286,200 JPY (2,600 USD) per month. First-year participants teaching English in Japan on the JET Program receive an average monthly wage of 280,000 JPY (2,550 USD) per month with yearly pay increases.

However, remember that it’s essential to check whether your school covers housing since rent can get pretty expensive in Tokyo and other big cities.

Furthermore, where you live also matters, as living costs in less population-dense areas can get pretty unreasonable in Tokyo. And keep in mind that Japan has one of the highest costs of living in the world.

What does the JET programme include?

  • 1-year contract (JETs can renew their contracts up to a max of 5 years)
  • An annual salary of approximately US$31,000 (taking currency fluctuations into account)
  • Accommodations
  • Flights
  • 10-20 days of paid annual leave
  • 5-10 paid sick days

JET programme for Teaching English in Japan

Do I need a degree for JET?

You must have a BA/BS degree in education or an education-focused area. If you have such a degree, you are not required to have a TEFL certificate. However, it can be very beneficial to have an accredited TEFL qualification. Since 2021, many JET participants have told us that the JET programme has asked applicants for an accredited TEFL certificate like the Trinity College CertTESOL.

How do you apply to the JET programme?

The application process can be a competitive one. However, your effort will be worth it when you look at the rewards and benefits of being chosen for this Programme. After all, successful applicants receive a highly-coveted one-year term of appointment with a contracting organisation in Japan.

Participant Recruitment and Selection

The Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs conducts recruitment and selection of participants through its embassies and consulates overseas. As such, individuals interested in becoming JET participants should contact the Japanese Embassy or Consulate in their country of citizenship.

Embassies and consulates hold information sessions at venues such as colleges, universities, and career centres during the active recruitment period (this period may vary slightly depending on the participating country and arrival period in Japan). You can also find a lot of information on the internet, posters, and pamphlets in colleges and universities.

Participant Selection Process

Applicants should know that the JET Programme application process is demanding and lengthy. Anyone applying should start the process early. Applicants should consider how living and working in Japan for a year would be for them.

The Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs conducts the recruitment, application, and selection process for new JET participants via its embassies and consulates in participating countries.

As dates vary by country, please contact the Japanese Embassy or Consulate in your country of citizenship for further information.

Step 1: [October to Late November/Early December]

Applications Accepted (deadline varies by country)

The Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs promotes the JET Programme and distributes applications via its embassies and consulates (some countries implement the application process online). Interested applicants must complete and submit applications to the Embassy of Japan in their home country on the date specified by the Embassy.

Step 2: [January]

First Notice Sent to Applicants

The Embassy of Japan reviews applications in each participating country.

Step 3: [February]

Interviews Held at Japanese Embassies and Consulates

Applicants who pass the application review stage go to the nearest Embassy or consulate for interviews.

Step 4: [Late March to April]

Second Notice Sent to Applicants

Shortlisted participants or alternates and those who are not selected receive notification. Applicants selected for April departure depart for Japan and participate in Post-Arrival Orientation in Tokyo.

Step 5: [May-July]

Submit Health Check and Reply FormsSuccessful Applicants Receive Placement Information

After you confirm your participation in the Programme and your placement is decided, you receive notification of your placement result from the nearest Embassy or consulate. The contracting organisation will also send participants information about their specific placement.

Step 6: [June/July]

Pre-Departure Orientation

Japanese Embassies and Consulates hold Q&A and preliminary training sessions for accepted participants. Participants will also attend a pre-departure orientation before leaving for Japan.

Step 7: [July/August]

Departure on Designated DayPost-Arrival Orientation in Tokyo

What documents are required to apply to the JET Programme?

  • Application Form (Available Online)
  • Passport
  • Self-Report of Medical Conditions (Available Online)

Statement of Purpose

An essay (two pages, double-spaced) describing your motivation and qualifications for participating in the JET Program.  A sample will be available through the online portal once the application opens.

Two (2) Letters of Recommendation

To be submitted through the online portal. EBC will give you a letter of recommendation that includes everything you learned on your Trinity CertTESOL course, the names and TEFL educational qualifications of your course trainers, and the name of your Trinity College of London external moderator. References should be academic or professional.

College/University Transcripts

From ALL colleges and universities attended, including study abroad institutions. Transcripts must be official.

Proof of Graduation (or Expected Graduation)

Showing the conferral of a bachelor’s degree or the date of expected graduation if the applicant is still a student at the university

Statement of Physician

Applicants are required to obtain a Statement of Physician form under the following circumstances:

  • If you consult a physician or other professional on more than one occasion regarding a physical/mental health issue.
  • If you are taking medication to alleviate a condition, illness or injury such that the prescription is refilled on one or more occasions.
  • If you are undergoing hospitalisation (including surgery) to alleviate a condition, illness or injury (not including dental surgery).
  • If you answer yes to questions 1, 2a, 2b, or 3 as found on the Self-Report of Medical Conditions form

Criminal History Background Check

You must submit an unopened, original document to your interview location. You will only need to show this if you listed any relevant history in the application. For more information, please see the Identity History Summary Information. Submission details will be provided to selected applicants.

Teaching Certification

If the applicant has a state-issued certification to teach (grade level, subject, substitute, etc.)

TESOL/TEFL Qualification

You get a Trinity College CertTESOL certificate and an EBC International TEFL certificate from our course.

To strengthen your chances of getting into the JET programme, you must have a globally accepted and recognised TEFL certificate. The British Council and worldwide language schools only accept and recognise two TEFL certificates.

The Trinity CertTESOL is one of them because of its external moderation, quality, exceptional training, and reputation. Trinity College of London has been around for 150 years, since 1852! Being a TEFL/TESOL training leader for that time tells you a lot about Trinity College of London’s credibility and reputation.

You don’t need to explain what the Trinity College CertTESOL certificate stands for to your prospective employers. Graduates with the Trinity CertTESOL have an edge. Employers prefer them because they know they are not risking their clients on these highly trained, qualified, certified CertTESOL teachers. Because of their training in the course, our Trinity CertTESOL graduates are all set to teach right from Day 1!

Trinity CertTESOL is a name associated with the highest quality in TEFL programmes.  To get into the JET Programme, we highly recommend studying on a TEFL certificate course that includes teaching practice classes. This is why we are a good fit for you: The EBC Trinity CertTESOL includes at least 22 hours of teaching practice classes.

Other job opportunities as an English teacher in Japan:

You can go for these other job opportunities on your own or through an agency in Japan. They are not connected with the JET Programme. Once settled in Japan, you can look into these other job opportunities privately.

Eikaiwa and Juku (Starting salary US$1283 to USD1782 per month)

JET programme for Teaching English in Japan

Eikaiwa is an English conversation school, while Juku is a cram school for tests. Keep in mind that there is a big difference in salaries and how the schools are run.

International Preschool/Youchien (US$1836 to – US$2295 per month)

Be careful not to confuse “International Preschool” with an international school. Since nothing can really stop you from calling your kindergarten an international preschool, many people have done this to add some of the prestige that comes with the term “international” without necessarily providing the same level of education.

Many international preschools pay their teachers more as their profit margins are higher. For these jobs, you need to be pretty good with kids and cheerful and smiley during your lessons.

Private School – Hourly pay rate – (US$19 – US$53 per hour)

Not from Europe and want to work in Spain?

We offer the lowest-priced 100% accredited one-year student visa programme in Spain.

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