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Teach ESL Abroad - The JET program

The JET Program is a solid choice if you're going to teach ESL abroad for a year or two. Competition is simply brutal but it’s definitely worth taking a shot. Still, if you want to experience Japan, it beats workin’ for most large conversation schools.

JET. Many apply. Few are accepted…

Teach ESL Abroad – Participating Countries 2018 -2019

Taken from JET's official site, here's the break-down of countries participating in the JET program and their acceptance numbers. (We took the liberty of using bold type for only large participants to increase readability of the article.) So looking at most of their list  your top 30 runners for 2018 - 2019 are:

Teach ESL Abroad With JET

The: U.S. with 3012, second in line is the United Kingdom  with 513, following is Canada with 566 Australia with 355 and New Zealand with 240.

Following is Ireland with 113, France with 26, and then Germany with 22, China with 68, followed by Korea with 54, Russia with 11, Brazil with 13, Peru with 1, Spain with 2, Italy with 2, Mexico with 2, South Africa with 118, Argentina with 1, Belgium with 1, Finland with 2, Mongolia with 5, Austria with 1, Indonesia with 5, Switzerland with 2, India with 4, The Philippines with 88, Netherlands with 6,  Poland with 3, Singapore 76 and Jamaica with 114.

Note: these numbers include all positions i.e. CIR, SEA, and ALT .This info. was taken directly from JET's official site of  participant statistics. For the entire staggering list of  54 participating countries click here.

Teach ESL Abroad – JET Experiences

JET experiences vary greatly. Many new to the teaching scene in Japan regard the JET Program as the “holy grail” of jobs. And while the JET Program does pay better (50,000 yen per month on average), than the big 4, JET isn't without their problems too. Some get gravy jobs with nice, large and subsidized apartments while others claim they don’t have adequate heating in the winter and their shack of an apartment is infested with bugs.

The JET official line regarding the massive swings in living and working conditions is “each situation is different.” It’s the mantra of this organization.

Teach ESL Abroad – Making The Cut is Not So Easy

Thousands apply for few positions and getting in is definitely more difficult than you're average eikaiwa school. How difficult? Pretty damn difficult. Annual turnover is a meager 2500 to 3000 positions. Then when you consider the shear number of applicants who apply from over 44 countries…. Well you get the picture.

This gives them more than enough qualified candidates to choose from in addition to making them too busy to answer even the most basic questions. (We address quite a few of them on this page.)

Teach ESL Abroad – The Waiting is the Hardest Part

One of the biggest hurdles you have to jump over in getting into the JET Program is the excruciating waiting game that many JET applicants complain of. Here’s the blow-by-blow description on the hiring schedule. It all begins before Halloween but you’ll have to wait until June to see if you made the cut. This timeline is from their official website. (It applies to all countries except Peru, Brazil, Korea and China).

Here we go…

  • Early Applications Accepted - Late November
  • Application Deadline* (Varies by Country) January
  • 1st Notice Sent to Applicants - February / March
  • Interviews at Japanese Embassies / Consulates - Late March / April
  • Interview Results Sent to Tokyo - April
  • 2nd Notice Sent to Applicants - May
  • Submit Health Check and Reply Forms - May-August
  • Successful Applicants Receive Notification - May / June / July
  • Successful Applicants Receive Placement Information - July
  • Pre-Departure Orientation - July / August
  • Departure on Designated Day - July / August

Now you can see why so many wannabe JETs are yanking their hair out!

Teach ESL Abroad – Do’s and Don’ts For JETs

The application process is a bit more than tedious. When it comes to crossing your t’s and dotting your i’s, these folks be flat out serious. Any missteps in their application process usually causes your application to get whacked. So providing all information in accordance with their guidelines is critical to getting through this stage and being invited to an interview.

Survival Tip:
When you apply to the JET Program it’s important to use the most recent application as they make changes every year to their applications. Why take chances?

  • Don’t open your letters of reference for a quick look-see. They’ll assume foul-play. These applications aren’t entered in the race.
  • Also, remember to send ALL information for your position TOGETHER. So send your transcripts, application, letters of reference together etc. to the JET office.
  • Send your official transcripts. Don’t do the photo copy thing... JET folks will look for an embossed seal, and the registrar's signature.
  • Just like when applying for state employment, It’s definitely NOT okay to send a resume instead of an application. So fill-it out.
  • During the application season, if you’re dying to see if they got your package, send it certified. The JET office doesn’t like fielding calls during the application period.
  • Also no matter what the circumstance, you need to do your interview in your home country. They don’t take kindly to the switch thing.

Related Pages & The Most Common Eikaiwas are...

  • Work Abroad as an ALT - The basics on on being an ESL English teacher in the public sector.
  • ECC- One of the bigger schools. 171 branches that employs over 600 ESL teachers in Japan. Also does well in the ESL forums in terms of few complaints.
  • Aeon - A monster of a school. 320 branches all over Japan with around 100,000 students under their belt. They focus on adults.
  • Amity - A spin-off of Aeon. It is their children's division with less than 100 schools throughout Japan teaching from toddlers to teens.
  • ALT - The basics on on being an ESL English teacher in the public sector.
  • The JET Program - Another ALT program. Participating  countries. do's and don'ts especially considering the application procedure.
  • The JET Programme - What kinds of interview questions they ask.
  • Nova - The basics on working conditions, accommodations and visas / sponsorship.
  • Salary comparison chart for large English schools in Japan. 
  • Peppy Kids Club - Focuses purely on children. Huge school with a presence in every prefecture except Okinawa.
  • TEFL Program - Online vs onsite programs. The pros and cons are discussed. Find out which is best for you.

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