Sunday, September 27, 2009

Jobs in Japan (non-JET)

JET isn't the only way to live and work in Japan. There are many other options out there and maybe one that's better for you than JET. I know a bit about these options because I looked into them a great deal before I was accepted into JET. I've also learned more about them simply by living here for a year.

The best way to find work in Japan is if you're willing to teach English. It's possible to find work that's not English teaching, but you'll need a very high level of Japanese. If you've passed 2 kyu or higher on the JLPT, then this may be an option for you. However, if your Japanese level is lower than that or you don't speak any Japanese at all, then teaching English is pretty much your only option.

There are two main options you'll be looking at are eikaiwas and dispatch companies.

An eikaiwa is an English school. They're located all throughout Japan, but the majority of them are found in the bigger cities. This is a good option for you if you...
-Prefer to teach adults (though there are some eikaiwas that specialize in teaching kids only)
-Prefer to live in a big city
-Like working later hours
-Work better by yourself rather than assisting someone else
-Like making your own lesson plans

A dispatch company works with schools and education boards in Japan. They will hire you to be an ALT. It's very similar to JET. The difference is that instead of being hired by the board of education, you are hired by the company that works with the board of education. This is a good option for you if you...
-Prefer to work within the school system
-Would rather assist someone instead of teaching by yourself
-Want a job that's similar to the JET Programme

One overall advantage to choosing a private company over JET is that the application process is much easier. You've already seen how crazy the JET application looks. Private companies in Japan will really only ask for a copy of your resume and maybe a paragraph about why you want to work in Japan.

Whatever you decide to go with, every company will have its share of upsides and downsides. I'm not going to get into that with this entry because I've never actually worked for these companies. Therefore, it would be unfair for me to have a strong opinion about it either way. I'll tell you what I know about each company and give you a link to their website. I recommend doing your own research on what it's like to work for these places:

AEON: - AEON is an eikaiwa. Out of all the eikaiwas in Japan, AEON seems to have the best reputation. They hire all year round, you can work there for as long as you want (as opposed to JET that has a 5 year limit), and they hook you up with an apartment. One thing to keep in mind is that AEON expects you to be a salesperson as well as a teacher. You will have to sell books, CD's, etc to your students. If you have no problem with this, then AEON might be a great option for you

Amity: This is AEON's branch of schools just for children. If you prefer to work with kids rather than adults, then check out Amity instead.

Geos for Kids: - This is another eikaiwa. It specializes in working with children. They provide you with the basic necessities when you get to Japan such as a furnished apartment. Their contract is for one year

ECC: - This is another eikaiwa, but I don't know much about them at all. I've really only seen their schools in Osaka. (A good option then if you want to live in Osaka).

Peppy Kids: - Another eikaiwa that works exclusively with children. I met someone who works for them, and he seemed to enjoy it.

Interac: - This is a dispatch company, and I believe it's the most well known one in Japan. It has a pretty decent reputation. They do one year contracts, but I'm not sure if there's a limit to how long you can re-contract with them. They help you out with the basic necessities when you get to Japan, and they find a place for you to live. I've met some Interac ALT's, and most of them seem pretty happy with the company.

Joytalk: I learned about them through a JET message board. They're another dispatch company like Interac. From what I've seen, they have a decent reputation. Apparently they do phone interviews. Pretty nice not having to go anywhere.

Those are all the ones I know of, but there are definitely more out there. If I learn of anymore, then I will update this entry and provide you with links. I'm also going to leave you with a couple sites that have many different job postings in Japan:

Gaijin Pot: - This site is FULL of job postings in Japan. Most of them are for teaching English but not all of them. You'll find posts from eikaiwas, dispatch companies, and other schools that need native English speakers. You can post your resume on there too. They also have a great mailing list that will send you any new job postings they have.

Dave's ESL Cafe: - This site is excellent. They have job postings for Japan just like Gaijin Pot does. They also have postings for every other non-English speaking country. If you're open to working in China or South Korea instead, this is a good site for you. This site is also a good resource for when you actually make it overseas to teach. It has forums that contain great ideas for lesson plans.

That's about all the information I have. I hope it has been helpful. Leave a comment if you have any more questions.

One more important note before ending this entry, if you see any job postings for a company called NOVA, just ignore it.

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