How much can I earn teaching English in Japan?

ESL teachers have flocked to Japan in large numbers for many years due to the abundance of jobs and good salaries. However, in recent years the cost of living has risen faster than salaries, making it harder to save as much as was traditionally possible in previous years. Although it might have lost some of its status as a high earning destination, there are still plenty of well paid jobs available across the country, particularly in cities such as Tokyo, Osaka, and Yokohama.

What are TESOL salaries in Japan?

Your expected salary will vary based on your previous experience, academic qualifications, the location, and the employer. The typical salary range is from 200,000 to 600,000 yen (currently $2,000 to $6,000 US) per month. Certain jobs might pay an hourly rate rather than a fixed salary and in this case you can expect to earn around 2,500 yen ($25 US) per hour. Many teaching contracts will also include extra incentives such as paid airfares, free housing, health insurance, and even a contract completion bonus.

Who are the main employers of English language teachers in Japan?

One of the biggest employers of foreign teachers in Japan are private language academies known as Eikaiwas. These centers provide classes for children who need extra lessons outside of school hours and adults who want to learn English in their own time. Classes are usually in the afternoons and evenings, and weekend work is also expected. An average class size is between ten and fifteen students and the average salary is around 250,000 yen ($2,500) per month. Added benefits such as paid flights and accommodation are possible but not a given. Another big employer is public schools, usually via government sponsored programs. The JET Program hires around 2000 teachers a year making it the largest recruitment program in Japan. If you go down this route you can expect to earn 280,000 yen ($2,750) per month in your first year, with a yearly increase if you sign an extended contract. The Jet Program also provides flights in and out of the country, paid accommodation, health insurance, and around four weeks paid holiday. Some schools also hire teachers directly and offer similar benefits, although salaries are typically lower than those offered via a recruitment program at around 200,000 and 250,000 yen ($2,000 to $2,500) per month.

Who else employs English language teachers in Japan?

For the best teaching salaries in Japan you should look at universities or international schools. Both of these offer good pay rates in the region of 300,000 to 600,000 yen ($3,000 to $6,000) per month. Employers in this bracket generally expect teachers to have a high level teaching qualification and several years of experience in the classroom. University jobs are particularly popular as the working hours are quite low and the holidays are long.

What is the cost of living for English teachers in Japan?

The cost of living has risen quite sharply in Japan in recent years so it is not as easy to save large amounts as it once was. However, there are always plenty of opportunities for private language tuition in Japan which provides a good way of adding to your income. As the average hourly rate is around 3,000 yen ($30), it is possible to earn a considerable sum on top of your regular wage.