Is TEFL Certification Required to Teach English in Japan?

by Adam
(Madison, Wisconsin)


Thanks for all the work on this site. It's a life saver. I do however have one question. I will graduate this spring and I am wondering if it is a requirement to be TEFL certified in order to find teaching work in Japan? I see so many ads that are asking for TEFL certification that I am getting discouraged. I will graduate with honors in Journalism from UW-M.

Any advice is appreciated!

Comments for Is TEFL Certification Required to Teach English in Japan?

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

Dec 23, 2016
Is TEFL Certification Required to Teach in Japan?
by: John

Hi Adam,
Thanks for visiting the site and congratulations on graduating with honors from that high-power research university.

Your question is a bit complex. Is TEFL certification required? NO. Absolutely not. Does it make finding a job easier?
Yes. You need to think about market realities. For example, 20 years ago teaching in Japan was not so competitive, wages were higher and you could clean up in the career area with a Masters degree. But that was 20 years ago.

Fast forward to today. Nowadays, tons of recent grads are piling into these teaching jobs. Tons we say. Market reality now accurately reflects supply and demand. Remember large English schools like Berlitz, ECC etc. have large well-oiled recruitment machines based in the U.S., Canada, UK etc. and they recruit by the thousands to fill ALT positions etc. all over Japan. These guys will hire you without teaching certification.

But if you fly over and set up shop here first and then go looking for a job you are now competing in a different world. Why do I say this?
Because you are not only competing against all the recruitment action going on outside of Japan via. large eikaiwa like ECC but in addition to this you are also competing against seasoned, experienced ESL teachers in Japan. Half of them or better have teaching certification and they ALL have teaching experience which trumps everything.

So if you get hired in the U.S. by a big chain school, you don't need TEFL certification (unless you just want to be a better teacher) but if you intend to compete here in Japan get yourself something to give you some edge or in other words don't show up to a gun fight with a knife. Or in other words arm yourself with a teaching certificate to give yourself a bit more pulling power when you submit your resumes.

Hope this helps and good luck!

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to New TEFL Course Questions.

Advertise Here
Get Noticed
Get Traffic 
Find out more here

FREE E-Book. Speed Learn Japanese & Get Our Newsletter on Japanese Proverbs and Cool Expressions.

Recent Articles

  1. Japan visa - It all starts with a visa. Get visa info. on Japan here.

    May 23, 18 01:47 AM

    Japan Visa requirements. Your travels to Japan begins with a visa. Get info on travel visas and working visas here.

    Read On

  2. Your Site Stands Out. I Have Dual Citizenship of Australia and Greece

    May 22, 18 12:29 AM

    Your site stands out as I could tell from the rest that you really cared to help people around the planet and share your knowledge. I am the same - I have

    Read On

  3. Find Teaching Jobs Abroad

    May 18, 18 04:27 AM

    Find Teaching Jobs in Japan on our Teaching Jobs Abroad Page. Full-time & Part-time Listings for Jobs All Over Japan. Teaching Jobs added almost daily.

    Read On

  4. What's a Typical Japanese Apartment Look Like? What to Expect.

    May 18, 18 01:47 AM

    Traveling to Japan to Teach? Get a Detailed Look at What a Typical Japanese Apartment Includes.

    Read On

  5. Find Teaching Jobs Overseas in Japan. Part-Time ESL Jobs Country Wide

    May 17, 18 04:31 AM

    Find Teaching Jobs Overseas and Experience Japan Through a Teacher's Eyes! Big Bustling Cities Like Tokyo or Seaside Undiscovered Gems Like Nikko!

    Read On

  6. My Girlfriend and I Want to Teach English in Japan, But We Don't have degrees.

    May 16, 18 02:49 AM

    Basically me and my girlfriend really want to go and teach English in Japan, but we don't have degrees. This has obviously made our search for work really

    Read On