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Did You Know the TEFL/TESOL Certification is Optional in Japan?

That’s right! There are opportunities to teach EFL abroad without a certification. Japan in particular is host to a huge number of EFL teachers with no TEFL/TESOL training.

This isn’t to say that anyone is eligible. Japan requires those seeking a working visa to have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, though the subject studied doesn’t matter. In addition to that, you usually have to be a native (or equivalent) English speaker. If you fit into both of those categories, then you’re on a role.

If you meet those core requirements, you are eligible to teach EFL in Japan sans certification and can begin the search for your perfect EFL job, starting with these opportunities:

Education through Communication for the Community (ECC) Foreign Language Institute is a school system with locations numbering 150+ across Japan. No knowledge on the Japanese language is required, and you can begin applying at any time for positions that open up throughout the year. A full year commitment is expected.

The workweek for ECC schools consists of 29.5 hours/week on location and the base salary is 252,000 yen/month, equaling approximately 2,500 USD.

AEON is a private educational institute that focuses on English conversation skills. A yearlong commitment is required, and new positions are filled each month. Check up for recruitment dates in your area as all aspects of the interview process must be done in person.

Workweeks are generally Tuesday-Saturday at 40 hours/week (25 of which are teaching hours) at 270,000 yen/month (approx. 2,600 USD). Read up on a typical day working at AEON!

Berlitz is a series of language instruction centers across Japan. Working with Berlitz gives you the opportunity to work with kids or adults and offers three different types of contracts: a semi-full time at 26.6 hours/week at 250,000 yen/month (approx. 2,500 USD), a part-time at 13.3 hours/week at 125,000 yen/month (approx. 1,200 USD), and a paid-per lesson contract which varies.

The Japan Exchange and Teaching Program (JET) is a program offered by The Council of Local Authorities for International Relations in partnership with various other government organizations. Its goal is "to promote grass roots internationalism at a local level" by offering JETs positions as an Assistant Language Teacher (ALT) or a Coordinator for International Relations (CIR).

ALTs assist classes in the public school system and extracurriculars and make up the majority of JET participants.

CIRs must have a working knowledge of the Japanese language and generally work as translators, foreign language teachers, and international exchange event planning.

The average salary for ALTs is 3.6 million yen, equivalent to approximately 35,000 USD, per year.

For more information on teaching English abroad (in Japan or beyond) without a TEFL certification, check out this site’s suggestions, which include information on volunteering and exchanges.

Photo Credit: Syvwlch
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