What is the JET Program for teaching English in Japan?

The Japan Exchange and Teaching Program (JET) has been run in conjunction with the Japanese government for over 30 years. Up to 5,000 foreign nationals join the scheme each year with the intention of raising the language skills of young people across the country. This program is a little different to many other programs of its kind as it also has a strong focus on cultural exchange between program members and the local community where they are placed. The scheme is very popular as it includes a good salary and a range of extra benefits.

What are the requirements for the JET Program?

Although the program is officially open to college graduates up to the age of 40, its purpose as a youth culture exchange means that preference is often given to more recent graduates. The minimum requirements are a bachelor's degree or a three year teaching qualification at either primary or secondary level. Applicants are also expected to demonstrate a youthful energy and a willingness to fully embrace Japanese culture and language.

What teaching positions are available through the JET Program?

Although there are three different positions available via the JET program, over 90% of applicants work as Assistant Language Teachers (ALT). People in this category work alongside a Japanese teacher in the classroom helping to prepare teaching materials and participating in extracurricular activities such as sports or language clubs. The other two positions you can apply for are as a Coordinator of International Relations (CIR) which requires a good standard of Japanese language, and Sports Exchange Advisor (SEA) which requires a high standard of sports achievement. For more detailed information please visit the official JET Program website.

What are the benefits of the JET Program?

The benefits you receive from this program vary from one position to the next, although the typically first year monthly salary is 280,000 JPY (currently $2,500 US) before tax. You will be expected to work approximately 35 hours per week, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday to Friday. Airfares in and out of the country are included, as are between 10 and 20 days paid holiday and all national holidays. It should be noted that all participants will have a mandatory monthly salary deduction of around 40,000 JPY that goes towards health insurance and pension contributions.