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Teaching English in Japan as a Student


3 Sep 2002
hey people,

I was wondering, i want to teach basic English in Japan, but i don't have a degree in Education or in anything for that matter, just certificates, i'm 22.

Do i need any sort of Diploma or Degree to teach basic English in Japan?


Yeah, with the huge popularity of teaching English in Japan and the recent poor economic situation and market saturation, you'd better have a doctorate in English literature, a TEFL certificate and a few years of experience. Then if you are lucky and willing to pay some bribes to the school you apply to, you may have a chance.

Now, seriously, most English teacher don't have any qualification. The only 2 requirement are :

1) to be a native speaker, which means coming from a country which has English as official language, no matter what really is your mother tongue (so if you are a French speaking Canadian, just say you first language is English).

2) To get a working visa you need a 4-year degree in anything. So maths is fine to teach English. Now what if you haven't finished your studies or don't have such a degree ?
As a Canadian you can apply for a working holiday visa if you are between 18 and 30 years old. It's valid for only 1 year (normally non-extendable) and you are theoretically limited to 28h of work a week. Australians, New Zealanders, Koreans, British, Germans and French can also apply for this visa.
You can also get a cultural visa by taking lesson in something realted to Japanese culture, like ikebana or aikido. You can work up to 20h/week with this visa.
It would be very good for you to take a TEFL course (teaching english as a foreign language.) That way getting a job with an english teaching company is relatively simple and they sort out your VISA and everything for you.

I'm hoping to do this myself after I've completed my masters degree or perhaps phd if I decide to do one. I'm currently a graduate. Hope this helps!

Yes... You will definitely need a bachelors degree in something, and TEFL certification on top of a bachelors would definitely help if you want to teach English in Japan. But find a job before you go to Japan because the economy is really bad there now and many who travel as visitors with the intention to find work there find themselves headed back home when their money and/or visa expire.
There was a time when only a degree or working visa was enough.

I guess it still depends on the level you want to teach:
regular eikaiwa ... I'd go to ECC, EON, Nova if you are in Japan. Outside of Japan try Geos.

School (high school, university) level normally requires an inside introduction. Or if you're one of the very few "few" then maybe a degree from Harvard, Yale, hehe, even Columbia.
wow, i never knew any of that...well i kinda had an idea but still wow...
i think teaching in Japan would be so neat! unfortunatly i'm bad at english myself, and I've lived in Canada my entire life...(i'm really sad...)
hmmm....well i dont have a degree or bachelors in anything, but i do have two certificates in FLASH webdesign from Vancouver Film School and a four year apprentice in Jeet Kune Do Concepts and Filipino Martial Arts. I'm gonna take TESL too.

I plan on teaching very basic English, probably to students and kids, maybe privates at their homes, classroom environment would be rad too...
Must it be a four year degree though? Here in Uk there are a number of two and three year uni courses... surely they are good enough providing the end result is a BA?
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