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Medical Field jobs in Japan for Foreigners?

RogueSnowball

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So, I've been trying to find out what kinda jobs they have in Japan that foreigners can do. English teacher seems to be the most common. I can see why. I was wondering if its possible for a foreigner to get a job in the medical field in Japan? I can guess that like in the U.S or anywhere you'd have to be fluent in the native language and be able to pass the exam to qualify for that sort of job. But is it possible for a foreigner to do it? Has anyone actually met someone like that or have a job in the medical field in Japan? I'm particularly interested in studying to be a Radiologic tech (x-ray tech). I'm actually in my first semester of college right now trying to get my general classes done to enroll in a Radiography program. I love Japan and their culture. Its a beautiful place. So, I was just wondering. I'm sorry for sounding quite clueless and awkward but any useful information would be greatly appreciated. I know its probably a long stretch anyway. But hey its better to have dreamed than not dream at all. :)
 
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Mike Cash

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Source: Wikipedia

You have to pass a national licensing exam in Japanese. In order to qualify to take the exam you have to have either graduated from a Japanese school which is approved by the government to do the training, or have spent three years doing what amounts to OJT at a facility also approved by the government for the purpose. There are exemptions possible for those who have done the equivalent overseas (but you still have to sit and pass the national licensing exam in Japanese).

The likelihood of getting a working visa is doubtful, even with qualifications. Such positions can adequately be filled by Japanese technicians. Japan is notoriously tight on letting people in to work. You don't get to come here and work just because you like the country, the people, the culture, or whatever else....in general your being allowed in to work is for the purpose of filling a need a Japanese employer has which can't be filled by the Japanese labor pool. If everybody who wanted to come here and work could just freely wander in and go to work (as so many people seem to think is the case), there would be no room left for the Japanese to stay here and live.

How is your Japanese? How good do you think it is going to be by the time you finish school? Do you have a plan for achieving an exceptionally high level of proficiency in speaking, listening, reading and writing Japanese by then? You'll definitely need a plan.
 

Glenski

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So, I've been trying to find out what kinda jobs they have in Japan that foreigners can do.
Anything they are qualified for. Options abound. Mike drives truck. I teach at university and proofread science papers. Friend of mine has a crepe restaurant. Carlos Ghosn was CEO of Nissan. See what other possibilities there are.


English teacher seems to be the most common. I can see why.
What reason do you think? Bear in mind teaching ranges from eikaiwa to business English agency to public school ALT to international schoolteacher to university teacher to owning one's own business.



I was wondering if its possible for a foreigner to get a job in the medical field in Japan? I can guess that like in the U.S or anywhere you'd have to be fluent in the native language and be able to pass the exam to qualify for that sort of job.
Bingo. The only exception would be if you worked on a U.S. military base.

But is it possible for a foreigner to do it? Has anyone actually met someone like that or have a job in the medical field in Japan?
start here.


particularly interested in studying to be a Radiologic tech (x-ray tech). I'm actually in my first semester of college right now trying to get my general classes done to enroll in a Radiography program. I love Japan and their culture. Its a beautiful place. So, I was just wondering. I'm sorry for sounding quite clueless and awkward but any useful information would be greatly appreciated. I know its probably a long stretch anyway. But hey its better to have dreamed than not dream at all. :)
Have you ever been here? If not, what is your interest based on? I hope it's not comics and anime. Come for a visit before considering dreams of moving to any country for work. More than once. You know that even so, a tourist's perspective is not the same as living here. Learn what you can before leaping to aspirations you will have a hard time achieving.
 

Korbis

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This has been a very helpful read for me. I am working on my Masters in Physicians Assisting. I'm not sure if it is a large field in Japan, however I feel I would be more likely to get a job on a military base rather than in a Japanese hospital as PA's are a growing field in the US but less used in other countries.
Thank you so much for this information. I see similar topics in other threads and will review those as well.
 

WonkoTheSane

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This has been a very helpful read for me. I am working on my Masters in Physicians Assisting. I'm not sure if it is a large field in Japan, however I feel I would be more likely to get a job on a military base rather than in a Japanese hospital as PA's are a growing field in the US but less used in other countries.
Thank you so much for this information. I see similar topics in other threads and will review those as well.

A quick web search shows at least one opening on Kadena. It appears to be contractor, I didn't bother checking USAJobs.gov to see if there are GS positions. I'd be surprised if there are all that many openings, though.

As for Japan, I'm not sure the economics driving the field in the states are in any way similar to the situation in Japan, so I'm not sure the career exists in Japan (perhaps someone with better Japanese can do a search, I'm not even sure what Physician Assistant would be called in Japanese). Even if it does, doctors have an incredibly tight hold over everything medical and your freedom to perform a lot of the functions you're allowed to perform in the USA would likely be severely curtailed in Japan. A PT friend and I were discussing the differences between healthcare and allied health professionals in the USA vs. Japan and he said "日本のPT は弱い立場です。" Also note that the salary you'll enjoy in the US as a PA would likely be much higher than in Japan. As an example, PTs make about half the PPP adjusted salary in Japan that they do in the USA.

Good luck!
 

Korbis

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A physicians assistant is somewhat similar to a nurse practitioner. I know there are a few jobs for nurse practitioners and I would be willing to take a job like that if I had to. But it's not so much about how much money I could make, at least not for me. I really love experiencing other cultures and I have lived in other countries in the past and the experience is incredible.
All I need is enough money to live somewhat comfortably on. I just don't want to live paycheck to paycheck. :)
Of course I will need to do more research and decide what I can and cannot do. Thank you for your feedback, there are a lot of things to consider.
 

mdchachi

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If it's a short-term thing and you don't mind the work, I know they readily hire and use foreigners to work at funeral homes embalming people. No idea what the compensation is. (I hope it pays better than English-school teaching.)
 

WonkoTheSane

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A physicians assistant is somewhat similar to a nurse practitioner. I know there are a few jobs for nurse practitioners and I would be willing to take a job like that if I had to. But it's not so much about how much money I could make, at least not for me. I really love experiencing other cultures and I have lived in other countries in the past and the experience is incredible.
All I need is enough money to live somewhat comfortably on. I just don't want to live paycheck to paycheck. :)
Of course I will need to do more research and decide what I can and cannot do. Thank you for your feedback, there are a lot of things to consider.

Yep, I know what a PA is, I've worked with them before.

My point was that I don't know whether they even exist in Japan or not. I suspect not.

Even if they do you would (at minimum) need to pass the licensing tests in Japanese.

Do you have Japanese at JLPT N1 plus a significant amount of medical terminology?

Even if you could do that it would probably be much more like acting as an LPN in the US as far as the responsibilities you might be given. I suspect that they will not hire you as a nurse unless you have a degree which specifically states nursing, regardless of whether your knowledge base is the same or you pass the tests. I know, I know, PAs are vastly over qualified to be an LPN, but Japan (appropriately, in my opinion) expects people to cross their t's and dot their i's and be able to check all of the appropriate boxes.

The average nursing salary in Japan is about 280K per month (about $2335.00). It's not poverty but hardly comparable to the $7745.00 monthly average US salary for PAs.

On US bases the job would probably be a GS-12, or possibly GS-13, equivalent. Add to that the LQA. It's a solid salary, but you might find that after a couple of years you realize that you really don't get a very authentic Japan experience and you might as well be working in a hospital in the USA. It just depends on what you want.

My short answer on this is: Your best bet is to look into positions on US bases or look at another profession in Japan.
 

Korbis

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I don't have a problem working on a military base. Learning Japanese is no small task and I doubt I'd manage the proficiency to work in a strictly Japanese hospital. Although I would like to be more immersed in the language, having Americans easily accessible could be both a pro and a con.
I have to disagree with your comment that I might as well be working in a hospital in the US. One of the things I feel is missing from America is culture. The USA with all it's perks is ultimately a melting pot. There are few traditions and any culture we once had is fading. People worry more about offending someone than maintaining culture.
However, even working at a military base in Japan there is so much that I can learn and experience. I can live off base, which I prefer. I lived in Germany for 3 years, and while I never became fluent in German I was fluent enough to travel and experience the country and culture.
I still talk to friends that I made when I was there.
I feel I could have a similar positive experience in Japan. I could visit different areas of the country and experience the culture first hand. Let's face it, I can't just visit a temple, visit a ryokan or take a train to a Japanese festival all the way from America.

As a backup, I am also certified in two other areas of the medical field, so even if I couldn't get a job as a PA I am already nationally certified for other jobs that would pay well. Although I would not be against trying to learn Japanese well enough to take their national exams, I like a challenge.

For mdchachi...I would have to pass on embalming people however lol. I work in the medical field but I have a healthy respect for the dead and I'm not sure I could do the things required post mortem. :) Thanks for the thought though!
 

mdchachi

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OK we'll nix the embalming. :eek:
I think it would be very tough to find a job requiring medical licensing. Perhaps you could try sales or marketing for a company that is medical-related. But even then, Japanese is required when marketing to Japanese companies. If you take a look at


they don't even list the medical fields as a criteria.
 

Korbis

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Lol I appreciate it but again, I'll probably be focusing on jobs on one of the US bases in Japan. They have American hospitals or clinics on some of them. I won't have to fluently speak Japanese to work there. It will work out one way or the other, but there are certain things. I can't compromise on and if I wanted to have a Japanese job not only would I have to jump through a lot of hoops to get a work visa, but I'd have to fluently read, write and speak Japanese which would likely take 2-3 years of focused and dedicated study. Right now I speak conversational Japanese but not with much confidence.
I'll easily admit that my German is much stronger but it wouldn't help me in Japan lol.
One thing working for me is that I graduated from one of the most internationally known medical research universities. It may just be a name but it carries some weight, especially after the whole Ebola outbreak.
I still appreciate the ideas, and marketing is a really big field but I have no educational background in it. The odds of me being hired over even a high school student native to Japan would be slim to none.
 

WonkoTheSane

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I have to disagree with your comment that I might as well be working in a hospital in the US.

First, I said "You might find that..." I'm just speaking from my experience of having worked in the medical field at US bases in Japan. Your experience may be different. Even if it is different, it doesn't negate my experience. I stand by the notion that it is not an immersive Japanese experience.

I don't know about Germany, but in Japan living on or off base is a decision made by each base's CO.

You say you worked in Germany and alluded to the fact that it was on a US base, is that correct?

If so, perhaps your time working on US bases in Germany will be applicable, though I've met a few people who moved over from bases in Germany to bases in Japan and felt that the two experiences were not similar enough to be compared in terms of access to culture. Of course if to you that just means seeing temples or festivals that's easy enough, but if it means making meaningful connections with other human beings most people I've talked to with experience in both places felt it was vastly different. My feeling is that the first is like being a perpetual tourist, but that might be the experience you're looking for. As I said before, it just depends on what you want.
 

Korbis

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You are correct and it was wrong for me to assume that because I had such an experience in Germany that it would be the same in Japan. Thank you, I have more to think about than I anticipated.
 
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