Want to teach English in Japan?
I have been getting a lot of questions about working in Japan and teaching English in Japan. I strongly advise against working as an ALT (or even going to Hello Work to find work). Surely there are other options for a qualified Gaijin? Like Eikaiwa? I decided to research and find out for myself which is the best Eikaiwa giant to work for. To summarize, it depends on your priorities. Is it the salary? Then Aeon is the highest paying Eikaiwa for full-time teachers. Is it the flexibility? Then Gaba is for you. Is it the fixed schedule system? Then Berlitz may be the best company for you. See it all depends on what is important for you!
Disclaimers : Please note that the information in this table is based on information scraped from the internet, including the official page of the schools as well as blogs from (former) employees and even forums. Because of that, I don’t guarantee the accuracy of the information. As you know, some blogs I have accessed may be outdated. In any case, I tried to be very careful of the information I presented here, and I even included my sources, which are all listed down below. Feel free to message me for any corrections/updates/comments or even simply to share your own experience. If you watched Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon, then know that I will not invalidate your own experience in favor of the information I read online. I understand, of all people, how our own situations make our experiences unique to us. Your experience is as valid as the next guy’s/gal’s.
I need your input!
Please help me complete the table. There are still some items labeled with “No information”. If you do have the missing information,please let me know! Thank you!
Notes on Nova
Fixed schedule : My hours varied every day as there are three shifts: 10am-5.40pm, 11.40-7pm or 1.10-9pm. Working in Japan. < http://www.nigels.com/fiona/working.htm >
Free insurance : Health insurance not paid, cost me 6000yen per month . Working in Japan. < http://www.nigels.com/fiona/working.htm >
Company Apartment/Housing : The Nova apartments are no frills, but adequate. In most cases you’ll have your own room and two flat mates (which is nice because it allows you to have some “partners-in-crime”in a strange land until you become more comfortable). The Unbiased Truth About Nova < http://www.wa-pedia.com/japan-guide/teaching_at_nova.shtml > May 2004
Housing Subsidy: No apartment subsidy, rent varied from 60000-90000yen/month. Can live in company or private apartment and not locked into company lease. Provided with basic furnishings.Working in Japan. < http://www.nigels.com/fiona/working.htm >
Japanese Holidays Off : All public holidays are worked except for new year. Working in Japan. < http://www.nigels.com/fiona/working.htm >
Vacation : After six months at Nova, teachers are given two weeks of vacation time to be used whenever they like. The Unbiased Truth About Nova < http://www.wa-pedia.com/japan-guide/teaching_at_nova.shtml > May 2004
Personal days off : New instructors contracted to work 5 days a week will receive 10 paid holidays in their first year and more with each subsequent contract. Nova Holdings. Working Conditions. < http://www.nova.co.jp/hd/foreigner/working.html >
Weekends off :The Nova workweek is the normal 40 hours with two consecutive days off. Days off are never both Saturdays and Sundays as those are busy days when many students come in. The Unbiased Truth About Nova < http://www.wa-pedia.com/japan-guide/teaching_at_nova.shtml > May 2004
Class size : The average day consists of eight lessons of 40 or 45 minutes each with anywhere from 1 to 4 students per class. The Unbiased Truth About Nova < http://www.wa-pedia.com/japan-guide/teaching_at_nova.shtml > May 2004
Paid training : Comprehensive paid training and all the necessary materials to teach a wide range of courses, including classes for English conversation for adults and children, test preparation and English for special purposes such as business or travel. Gaijinpot. Full Time English Teacher – Tokushima（期限切れ） <https://jobs.gaijinpot.com/job/view/company_id/12167/lang/ja/job_id/89505#.UyJ3gPl_v_k >
Notes on Aeon
Hours per week : School hours vary from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm. Typical workweek is Tuesday – Saturday. Teachers work a total of 40 hours per week which includes 25 teaching hours. Actual work schedules are assigned by the Branch Manager. Aeon. Contract Stipulations and Benefits. <http://www.aeonet.com/application-requirements/contract-stipulations-benefits/ >
Free insurance : Sickness and accident insurance provided by the Japanese government’s National Social Insurance System. Approximately 30,000 yen a month (approximately 20,000 of which is refundable) is deducted from the teacher’s salary for membership in the Social Insurance System. Aeon. Contract Stipulations and Benefits. <http://www.aeonet.com/application-requirements/contract-stipulations-benefits/ >
Company Apartment/Housing : Japanese-style apartment prepared and furnished. Private apartment with own bathroom and kitchenette. Commuting expenses, key money and deposits paid by AEON. Aeon. Contract Stipulations and Benefits. <http://www.aeonet.com/application-requirements/contract-stipulations-benefits/ >
Housing Subsidy : [Fixed] Teachers are responsible for up to 55,000 yen of the rent each month. [Variable] Utilities 6,000-12,000 yen; Food 40,000-70,000 yen. Aeon. Contract Stipulations and Benefits. <http://www.aeonet.com/application-requirements/contract-stipulations-benefits/ >
Living allowance : A one-time only stipend of ¥22,000 paid to employees that were hired abroad. This assistance will be paid during initial training in Japan to help teachers with start-up costs. Aeon. Contract Stipulations and Benefits. <http://www.aeonet.com/application-requirements/contract-stipulations-benefits/ >
Japanese holidays Off / Vacation : Japanese national holidays, 3 approximately one-week vacation periods at designated times and 5 personal days per year. Aeon. Contract Stipulations and Benefits. <http://www.aeonet.com/application-requirements/contract-stipulations-benefits/ >
Two consecutive days off / Weekends off : The work week is either tues-sat or mon-fri with most teachers working tues-sat. The hours are set 12pm-9pm mon-fri with saturday 10am-7pm. Working in Japan. < http://www.nigels.com/fiona/working.htm >
Typical workweek is Tuesday – Saturday. Aeon. Contract Stipulations and Benefits. <http://www.aeonet.com/application-requirements/contract-stipulations-benefits/ >
Class size : 1クラス：1～5名. One class : from 1 – 5 pax. Aeon. < http://www.aeonet.co.jp/personal/reason/05.html >
Paid Training. Naturally, training will vary depending on your area and staff.. The Truth About AEON: Part VI< http://www.keepingpaceinjapan.com/2007/07/truth-about-aeon-part-vi.html >
Contract completion bonus : One-time bonus upon completion of final contract as follows. Non-taxable and paid in cash.
- 12 – 17 months of employment:80,000 yen
- 18 – 23 months of employment:120,000 yen
- 24 months or more of employment:160,000 yen
Aeon. Contract Stipulations and Benefits. <http://www.aeonet.com/application-requirements/contract-stipulations-benefits/ >
Hiring non-native? Applicants from countries where English is not the native language must have native-level English communication skills and have received the majority of their education from schools where English is the primary language of instruction. Aeon. Application Requirements. < http://www.aeonet.com/application-requirements/ >
Notes on Gaba
Fixed schedule : You decide the hours and days of the week you teach. Submit a schedule of as many lessons as you can comfortably teach factoring in your other commitments. Gaba. Teaching with Gaba. Scheduling. < http://teaching-in-japan.gaba.co.jp/teaching-with-gaba/scheduling/ >
Free insurance : Although not a strict requirement to apply as an instructor, all instructors are encouraged to enroll. As a proactive measure, proof of enrollment in government-sponsored health insurance is requested from all instructors seeking Gaba as their visa sponsor as of January 1st, 2010. Gaba. FAQ. < http://m.teaching-in-japan.gaba.co.jp/apply/faq/ >
Gaba employs Japanese staff referred to as “counselors” in the Learning Studios. Some of these are employed on a part-time basis. They receive unemployment insurance and transportation pay but no other benefits. Other counselors are employed on a full-time basis and receive full employment benefits. Most other Gaba staff are also employed on a full-time basis with the standard benefits of employment. Gaba Wikipedia <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaba_Corporation >
They do not provide Employee Health Insurance and Pension; of course, you need to sign up for the National Health Insurance and Pension as a matter of law. Better Know a Language School: Gaba < http://www.keepingpaceinjapan.com/2010/01/better-know-language-school-gaba.html > January 6, 2010.
Housing Assistance : That said, we support successful applicants with thorough information on housing, health insurance, and general tips for living comfortably in Japan. Gaba. Teaching in Japan. Accomodation. < http://teaching-in-japan.gaba.co.jp/living-in-japan/accommodation/ >
Housing is your responsibility (in other words, key money). Better Know a Language School: Gaba < http://www.keepingpaceinjapan.com/2010/01/better-know-language-school-gaba.html> January 6, 2010.
Vacation : Need a vacation? There is no vacation request process. An instructor planning to take a break simply doesn’t submit a schedule for that period. Get away for a week, three weeks, a month… we only ask that you tell us beforehand.Gaba. Teaching with Gaba. Scheduling. < http://teaching-in-japan.gaba.co.jp/teaching-with-gaba/scheduling/ >
Paid training : No paid training. Better Know a Language School: Gaba < http://www.keepingpaceinjapan.com/2010/01/better-know-language-school-gaba.html> January 6, 2010.
Hiring non-native? You must speak, read and write English fluently. While you do not need to be a native speaker, a confident command of the language is essential as lessons are taught entirely in English. Gaba. FAQ. < http://teaching-in-japan.gaba.co.jp/apply/faq/ >
Notes on Coco Juku
Fixed schedule : Days off according to the company. Translated into English, this means a teacher can expect to work all national holidays, while all their friends and family are enjoying the day off, and they can also expect to work Christmas, New Years, and any other day the company feels fit. Coco Juku. Dogs and Demons. <https://nihongonews.wordpress.com/2012/12/13/coco-juku-dogs-and-demons/>
Work schedules don’t match typical expected teacher responsibilities or student population. 8 hour shifts plus one hour lunch breaks, and no two day weekends. Glassdoor. Coco Juku Reviews. < http://www.glassdoor.com/Reviews/Coco-Juku-Reviews-E571513.htm >
Days per week. Hours per week. Split Shifts. Work 5 days per week, 40 hours per week (8 hours per day, between 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM, No Split Shifts. Teach English to Adults and Children in Japan with COCO Juku < http://www.eslcafe.com/joblist/index.cgi?read=30976 >
Lessons per day. Limit of 5 classes a day *in our contract* Comparing Eikaiwa. Comment by Chrisophe, Former Coco Juku Employee. < http://rakenrol.net/japan/?p=1872 >
Minutes per lesson. Class size. Lessons range from 40 min to an hour, and no more than 6 or 7 people per class. Comparing Eikaiwa. Comment by Chrisophe, Former Coco Juku Employee. < http://rakenrol.net/japan/?p=1872 >
Holidays Off. We do get some holidays off (Golden week, new years, etc), and every year the number of paid days you get increases by 1 (after 3 years, you get 12 days a year paid vacation). Comparing Eikaiwa. Comment by Chrisophe, Former Coco Juku Employee. < http://rakenrol.net/japan/?p=1872 >
Weekends Off. You can get both Sat/Sun sequentially off depending on how busy your school is. Comparing Eikaiwa. Comment by Chrisophe, Former Coco Juku Employee. < http://rakenrol.net/japan/?p=1872 >
Free insurance : Full time employees will be enrolled in Employee Health Insurance (Shakai Hoken), welfare pension and unemployment insurance. Coco Juku. Recruit. < http://www.cocojuku.jp/recruit/ >
Employees get put on the Japanese national pension system and medical insurance program and signed up for the internal Nichii Gakkan company union without much explanation or support about what they are. 20-30% of a teacher’s pay check disappears before direct deposit. Glassdoor. Coco Juku reviews. < http://www.glassdoor.com/Reviews/Coco-Juku-Reviews-E571513.htm >
Housing Assistance: Well I found out that they do provide assistance for housing and pay for deposit money. Gaijinpot Forums. < http://forum.gaijinpot.com/forum/working-in-japan/teaching-jobs/99640-a-few-questions-about-coco-juku >
Commutation Allowance: Paid public transportation up to JPY50,000/month. Coco Juku. Recruit. < http://www.cocojuku.jp/recruit/ >
Paid training : One week of paid training for all new employees. Teflen. Teach English to Adults and Children in Japan with Coco < http://teflen.com/jobs/teach-english-to-adults-and-children-in-japan-with-coco >
Contract completion bonus : Bonus Completion Completion Bonus to qualified instructors. Nichii Gakkan Careers. <http://www.nichiigakkan.co.jp/en/recruit/>
Notes on ECC
Fixed Schedule : This position starts at 29.5 hours per week for 252,000 yen per month. Benefits include fixed five-day work week, six weeks paid vacation, all national holidays off, Shakai Hoken eligibility and free housing. Gaijinpot. Full Time English Teacher – Relocation Assistance Provided（期限切れ） < https://jobs.gaijinpot.com/index/view/job_id/89466/lang/ja#.UyJxdvl_v_k>
Hours per week : A full time instructor contract is a five-day workweek with 29.5 hours on location / week. Of the 29.5 hours, approximately 25 hours/week is in-class teaching with the remaining time being spent organizing lessons and assisting staff/students/visitors as directed. ECC Teach in Japan. Contract Package & Benefits < http://recruiting.ecc.co.jp/contract/index.html >
Split Shifts. Instructors have two set days off per week ( not likely to include Saturday ). Instructors are scheduled 29.5 hours over five days a week. The majority of the hours fall between 3 and 9 PM and generally include one split shift (i.e., a two or three hour morning or afternoon shift followed by a three to five hour shift in the evening). Additional hours/ overtime is often available for those teachers who are interested. ECC Teach in Japan. Schedules. < http://recruiting.ecc.co.jp/school/schedules.html >
Free Insurance : By law, employees are supposed to join Japanese National Health Insurance. Additional information and guidance will be supplied at the hiring session.ECC Teach in Japan. Contract Package & Benefits < http://recruiting.ecc.co.jp/contract/index.html >
Housing Assistance: ECC will arrange suitable housing for you in order to assist with a smooth arrival in Japan. ECC does not own or make profit from the housing. Rather, we utilize specific housing agents in each area. We have asked the agencies to provide fully furnished, clean accommodations without key money and other expensive charges common among housing acquisition in Japan. ECC. Supporting You. < http://recruiting.ecc.co.jp/supporting/index.html >
Vacation : Again, ECC prides itself on offering the best vacation holiday package among its competitors – approximately 7 weeks. This is two to four weeks more than our main competitors! ECC Teach in Japan. Contract Package & Benefits < http://recruiting.ecc.co.jp/contract/index.html >
Personal days off : ECC also gives each instructor five paid, discretionary holidays each contract year (discretionary holidays are granted according to the needs of our schools, but almost all can be accommodated with enough notice). ECC Teach in Japan. Contract Package & Benefits. More about Holidays.< http://recruiting.ecc.co.jp/contract/holidays.html >
Class size : 1 to 16. ECC Teach in Japan. Table of Classes. < http://recruiting.ecc.co.jp/school/classes.html >
Contract completion bonus : No bonuses for completion of contract. Glassdoor. ECC Reviews. < http://www.glassdoor.com/Reviews/ECC-Japan-Reviews-E230714.htm >
Hiring non-native? 12 years of formal education conducted in English are the minimum requirements. ECC Teach in Japan. FAQ < http://recruiting.ecc.co.jp/faqs/index.html >
Notes on Berlitz
Free insurance : Fully paid travelers insurance (effective from the first day of employment). Unemployment insurance (contributions by employee and company) Berlitz. Teaching Contract and Advantages. < http://teach.berlitz.co.jp/requirements/contract.html >
Housing Assistance: Berlitz: Doesn’t provide housing but will act as sponsor on rental applications. All about Teaching English in Japan. Who’s Got the Best Deal? Compare the Top 4 English Schools: Geos, ECC, Berlitz & Aeon < http://www.all-about-teaching-english-in-japan.com/Geos.html >
Japanese holidays Off : Japanese holidays and Christmas Day off Berlitz. Teaching Contract and Advantages. < http://teach.berlitz.co.jp/requirements/contract.html >
Personal days off : 10 days paid vacation (after 6 months) Berlitz. Teaching Contract and Advantages. < http://teach.berlitz.co.jp/requirements/contract.html >
Contract completion bonus : Yearly contract completion bonus Berlitz. Teaching Contract and Advantages. < http://teach.berlitz.co.jp/requirements/contract.html >
Notes on iTTTi
I work for iTTTi Japan, Peppy Kid’s Club (iTTTi or PKC for short) I thought I’d give you the info for my company as well. We are the second biggest eikaiwa for children in Japan, after ECC. Salary is 250,000 non fixed schedule, random days per week (contracted at 20 working days per month) anywhere from 1-8 lessons per day, 60 minutes per lesson. Located in all regions of Japan excluding Okinawa. Enrollment into Japanese health and unemployment insurance is offered, as well as company housing ((They put us in a leopalace, we pay for it out of our pay checks) We do not receive a living allowance We do not have Japanese holidays off, but we have 10 vacation days per year. We almost always have sunday off, other days off depend on the area. Class sizes can be anywhere from 1-13, ages 1-18, flight from home country is not paid for. Commutation is 100% reimbursed by the company. we have a 12 day paid training in two weeks, with visa sponsorship and overseas hiring. We have a contract completion bonus. The typical minimum contract is 1 year, however for working holiday visa holders it’s only 6 months. Bachelors degrees are not required, but they will have to attain their own visas. They have hired “non-natives” from the Philippines only, in my experience. Message from an iTTTi employee.
Ratings on Glassdoor
Is it a coincidence that those with the best ratings on Glassdoor are the companies with strong union? In any case, I hope this post is helpful to you.
Feel free to comment, share your experience/ opinions.
Thank you to those who helped complete the table!