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A guide to teaching English in Japan

Japan, a land of history and tradition, merged with a modern, fast paced leader in economics and technology. For years, it was the premier destination in the world for those looking to teach English.

Things to know

However, today that may no longer be the case, Japan is still a destination with plenty of opportunities and experiences to offer. Below, is a brief overview of things to know and places to teach in this amazing country. High cost of living First of all, Japan has a very high cost of living compared to other Asian countries. While this doesn't come as a surprise, it does mean that, unless you already have a job lined up before you get there, something increasingly hard to do in Japan, the extra start up costs have to be considered. Add airfare to this and consider that it is very common practice to charge up to the equivalent of five months rent up front in various deposits and fees when renting out an apartment. Need for health insurance It is also required by law that anyone living in Japan have health insurance. There are two types to choose from, employer's (full time employees) and citizen's (everyone else). Be aware though, citizen's insurance does not include a pension plan. That needs to be paid for separately. Many people, when first getting settled in, rely on their traveler's insurance, instead of paying for citizen's. In no way, does that statement condone the practice, only provides it as information.

Requirements, and other information

The JET program The first step in looking for English teaching jobs in Japan should be looking into and applying for the JET program. This is the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program and promotes cultural exchange. It is government sponsored and will be of great help in acquiring visas, finding housing, and pays for airfare for language teachers.
Differences in pay and qualifications
Pay and qualifications vary from school to school and place to place, ranging from simply being a native speaker to having a degree, TEFL certification, and teaching experience. A few also requires a new teacher to live in housing provided by the school for the first year. The teacher is still responsible for the rent, and, if married, will want to clarify in advance if their spouse will be accompanying them to avoid lease issues later.
University jobs University jobs are also available to licensed teachers with a Bachelor's Degree. Most are non-tenured and part time positions though.
Private lessons Teaching private lessons is also an option, but unless you speak Japanese and are very familiar with the country and culture, it should not be depended on a steady income upon arrival.

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