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Age limits for teaching in Japan?

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Joined: 04 Feb 2003
Posts: 24
Location: Niigata, Japan

PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2003 2:38 am    Post subject: Age limits for teaching in Japan? Reply with quote

I'm planning to go to Japan to teach after I finish my masters. The problem is that by that time I will be 36. I have heard that it is more difficult to get jobs (or maybe it's the visa?) in Japan once you are over 30? Does anyone have any experience of this?
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Joined: 28 Jan 2003
Posts: 4672
Location: Western Japan

PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2003 4:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


If you are over 30 and from New Zealand you can not get a working holiday visa. With a Masters degree you qualify for a sponsored working visa, or even apply for part time jobs teaching at universities. You need publications for full time positions.

Conversation schools accept anyone from straight out of college from their early 20's (most have a degree) to teachers in their 50's. They prefer younger teachers though as they tend to be more 'fresh' and have more energy for teaching many classes.

FYI I am 39 and teaching at a university in japan. Glenski who posts these boards is 45.
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Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Posts: 12844
Location: Hokkaido, JAPAN

PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2003 7:57 am    Post subject: come over Reply with quote


Paul's advice on the WHV is sound. Where are you from?

Your age will be no problem. As Paul said, there are many of us over here older than you. What is important (besides the visa issue) is to present yourself with youthful vigor and enthusiasm. Presumably, those things and your credentials will land you your job. Your age will not be a factor unless you go to some of the eikaiwas, which, as Paul wrote, tend to hire the younger crowd. (Not all teachers there are that young, either.)

You would probably do best to look for jobs at high schools and universities, depending on your credentials, but don't discount the eikaiwas to get your foot in the door.

Best of luck.
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Joined: 04 Feb 2003
Posts: 24
Location: Niigata, Japan

PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2003 9:39 am    Post subject: muchas gracias Reply with quote

Thank you very much for your info. By that time I should be well qualified with an honours degree, a CELTA, 6-7years experience in the field and a Masters in Language Teaching and Linguistics. As for publications...uh...I'll have to work on that one! I'd really like to get in with the universities if at all possible because I love the environment (I work in one now), so that's my goal. But I won't mind if I have to get my foot in the door somewhere else first. It is all great experience to me!
Now, two more burning issues...
My partner is also over 30 but will not have a Masters. He's got a CELTA. Do you think he will have any problems? Perhaps a spousal visa would give him permission to work?
Would you suggest I find a job before I go or just go on a tourist visa and have a look around.
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Joined: 23 Jan 2003
Posts: 748
Location: The Big Island, Hawaii

PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2003 11:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Does your parter have a BA? If so he can get a job on his own and be sponsored for a work visa. If not he can get a dependent's visa (spouse visas are only for spouses of Japanese citizens) once you have your work visa.
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Joined: 28 Jan 2003
Posts: 4672
Location: Western Japan

PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2003 1:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I also ought to mention that a perosn working on a dependents visa sometimes has limitations on the housr they can work, though it is possible to pick up privates. If your spouse was a japanese there are no restrctions on your work activities

I also wnat to say and this has been said many times before it is Ok to look around for a job on a tourist visa though it is illegal to work and there are many disadvantages such as higher taxation, lack of job security and job rights in case you get fired etc. Those on tourist visas are way at the bottom of the totem pole in terms of being able to get jobs.

Here is an article from a recent issue of Language Teacher about getting jobs at a Japanese university. I have been teaching here 15 years and you need a combination of a Masters, publications (for full time), good timing, and most important contacts, as many jobs are not advertised, or if they are, only in Japanese.
A background in EFL English or Linguistics is desirable.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, most Japanese universities do advertise some or all of their positions. In 2000, 96 of 99 national universities, 67 of 72 public universities, and 249 of 480 private universities publicly announced teaching positions (Monbukagakusho, 2001a). Though every issue of The Language Teacher provides a list of Internet job resources, as well as jobs, under the section title "Web Corner" (see, for example, "Web Corner," 2002), I would like to provide a supplementary list, with comments as to the selection of jobs listed. Perhaps the best source for locating a Japanese university position is the Japan Research Career Information Network (hereafter, JRECIN; Some other online resources that occasionally carry Japanese university positions include Dave's ESL Cafe (, TESOL's freely accessible job site (, the Chronicle of Higher Education's Career Network (, the Linguist List's "Jobs in Linguistics" ( the American Association for Applied Linguistics (, and (, which lists positions in Japan for numerous career fields. Job postings also occasionally appear in language-related email lists, many of which can be joined freely; information on such email lists can be found at the Linguist List website ( and ( For job openings in print, some departments collect job advertisements, which may or may not be displayed openly; at the first Japanese institution where I worked, such lists were posted in front of the departmental library; you should enquire about such advertisements at the institution nearest you. Various periodicals offer university and junior college job advertisements, for example, in English, The Language Teacher and, rarely, The Japan Times; in Japanese, the Eigo Seinen ( and Shin Eigo Kyouiku (, both of which are published monthly.

According to Washida (2001, p. 157-162), the five key points for securing a Japanese university job are sending out r駸um駸, applying for advertised jobs, asking your professor (if you are still a student) for leads, asking relevant organizations' committee heads, and lastly asking family and friends. Neither I nor any of my colleagues has used the so-called "cold calling" technique of sending unsolicited r駸um駸 to various universities, departments, or individual professors. Akin to junk mail, such r駸um駸 or requests are apparently discarded without further consideration, even when forwarded to faculty members in charge of hiring. However, positions requiring immediate filling, which can limit competition to whoever has documents on hand, can and do open abruptly; an unsolicited r駸um・can thus become serendipitous for both applicant and institution. That said, people considering this approach would do well to apply at or near the end of the spring or fall semesters, mid-February to late March (in preparation for the Japanese fiscal year starting April 1st) and September, respectively, when most staff turnover problems occur.

Although others might disagree, I feel you should not overlook limited term positions, especially if you're just beginning an academic career in Japan, since they are a good way to get your foot in the door; moreover, such jobs expand your range of opportunities (Washida, 2001, p. 133). Of course, once you get a job, you should work hard so you can become eligible to step up to better positions, if possible, in the same or a different university (Washida, 2001, p. 135). Part-time university work can also help you in your applications to full-time positions; however, for those who lose their university positions, taking part-time jobs to bide time in the hope of securing another full-time position during a later hiring season can unfairly mark you with the stigma of failure.
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