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Best use of a M.A. in TESOl + CELTA in Japan

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Joined: 02 Jun 2009
Posts: 71
Location: New York

PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2014 4:19 pm    Post subject: Best use of a M.A. in TESOl + CELTA in Japan Reply with quote

Hello all,

I am currently finishing my M.A. in TESOL in the U.S. I have a CELTA and by now I have over 3 years experience teaching ESL in Latin America and the U.S.

If I were to get a job in Japan, as far as money is concerned, what would be my best option with my qualifications and experiences? Should I be looking for a University job or would it make more sense to try to work in a public school, or perhaps an international school?

Thank you,
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Joined: 18 May 2010
Posts: 218

PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2014 11:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How's your Japanese?
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Joined: 20 Feb 2008
Posts: 343

PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2014 5:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Universities are not an easy job market to penetrate as you can maybe see by looking at the JRECIN website. Qualifications typically require teaching experience at a university, and publications. Some jobs look for Japanese language ability. I won't say never, but have a look yourself. There are also occasionally jobs on

Just a caution that universities here often hire foreigners for 3 year terminal contracts, and there are many jobs just for individual courses. Tenure jobs do exist from what I understand.

International schools that follow a western curriculum require public school type teaching licences. In your case, a CELTA would not qualify. There are Japanese private high schools too, but they are looking for people who have experience teaching in Japan - which I think you don't have.

There are dispatch companies that can employ you in a university setting such as Interac, but you would not be a university employee, you would be a dispatch company employee. These companies do not tend to pay more than entry level to start - but you could conceivably walk away from a few years of experience with such a company and say to another employer you had university teaching experience in Japan.

Sorry I can't be of more help here, but it isn't so easy to get hired here for jobs when you have good qualifications. But, never say never.... Keep asking around... maybe someone else has other insights they could share with you that I'm missing.
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Joined: 13 Apr 2007
Posts: 388
Location: US

PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2014 6:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tim summed it up nicely. Basically, the best types of jobs you could look for are at universities and private high schools. There have been many threads posted here about these, so read through those.

Basically, universities usually ask for an MA TESOL, a few publications, and often Japanese language ability (for admin activities, like meetings, not for teaching in Japanese). Most positions for foreign teachers at Japanese universities are fixed-term contracts of 2-3 years (sometimes can renew once), after which you must leave (not good as a permanent job, but as a recent grad that might not be so much of an issue for you). There are permanent positions out there, but they often require more experience, more publications, Japanese ability, and sometimes a PhD. Check out the Japan Research Career Information Network (JREC-IN) site for job listings. The Japanese version has many, many more job ads than the English version (because those ones require Japanese language ability). The Japan Association of College English Teachers (JACET) site also has listings. Look around, apply for some, and see if you get any response. The qualifications they list aren't always what they'll take, and if you can get a position, you could use that time to improve your qualifications (publications, Japanese ability) to apply for your next job.

Private high schools are another option, but fewer of them hire from abroad. More hiring is done through networking. That said, there are some that advertise more broadly, so look around and apply. I think you would be a competitive candidate for those with your MA TESOL. I don't know whether Japanese language ability is usually required. In my limited experience with private schools, it was, but I don't know if that is representative.

International schools generally require home-country teacher certification and experience. ESL isn't as common in these schools, from what I hear, since they cater to expat children who already speak English. There are some "international" kindergartens/preschools that don't require certification, but not sure if kiddies are your thing or not.

If you are considering a long-term career in Japan, it might be worth it to look for an ALT position to get you into the country, and then look for something else once you are there.

As Tim said, there are also dispatch companies that send people to universities. A big one is Westgate. The classes are physically located at a university, and the students are university students, but you aren't employed by the university, and you aren't teaching university classes (usually just non-credit conversation classes, though I see their web site does say that they do accredited, credit-bearing classes too). Contracts are for 3-5 months (i.e,. 1 semester).
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Joined: 02 Jun 2009
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Location: New York

PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2014 9:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the help guys.

My Japanese is at zero. I haven't published.

Reading this I'm thinking of publishing actually, I've seen similar requirements at good Universities in other parts of the world too. Makes sense, any University really would prefer a candidate who is published I suppose.
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