Frequently Asked Questions
Based on the countless inquiries we have answered in the past, we have put together a selection of frequently asked questions, which may be of use to you. Please take a look through these FAQ’s before calling or emailing us, as they may save you the time and effort of contacting us. Thank you.
Questions on Teaching Position
I would like to be a teacher of Japanese language in the U.S. How would I go about getting a position?
Our answer depends in turn on your answers to these questions: Are you seeking a permanent position or a temporary position? Are you thinking about teaching Japanese as your life-long career, or as a temporary job? Do you need income from teaching to support yourself, or is this part of your "experience" for the future and income is not your major concern --or, even if it were your concern, you could manage to live on a part-time salary--?
Are you a native or non-native speaker of Japanese? Are you interested in teaching at the pre-collegiate level (elementary and secondary schools) or the college level?
1. If you are interested in becoming an elementary or a secondary school teacher as a serious career move, you will first need to obtain certification, in the form of a teaching license, certificate, or credential. Requirements differ from state to state, so find out from the credentialing agency in your state.
(Try http://www.uky.edu/Education/TEP/usacert.html for links to each state you are interested in.) In order to obtain teaching certification, you will probably need to enroll in a teaching certification or credential program at a university or college. Procedures also vary among states, and may vary among colleges within different states as well. You can meet some states' requirements by majoring in Elementary or Secondary Education and obtaining a BA degree; in other states, you will need to enroll in a one-year "add-on" graduate program after receiving a BA degree in Japanese or a related field. If you are a native speaker of Japanese with a bachelor's degree, some states offer a test in Japanese (language, culture, literature, methodology, etc.) in place of a BA degree in Japanese. In most states, you must pass a test in order to be enrolled in the credential program and/or get certification. Please note that a few states do not even offer a teaching certificate in Japanese: in such cases teachers must be certified to teach some other subject area as a springboard (e.g.'s, Math, P.E., American History), or receive an "emergency certificate" which may last a year or longer. The best approach is to contact the state certification agency or someone at a university in your state that offers teacher certification programs. Please note that once you have obtained a teaching certificate in one state, you cannot use it in any other state. However, many states will accept another state's certificate as full or partial fulfillment of requirements in the certificate application process.
2. If you are interested in teaching at the college level, you need to have an MA or Ph.D. in an appropriate field of study. The majority of current teachers of Japanese have typically earned their MA or Ph.D. degrees in such fields as Japanese Linguistics, Japanese Literature, East Asian Languages & Literatures, Applied Linguistics, Educational Psychology, TESL, or Curriculum and Instruction. Some institutions offer MA programs in Japanese language pedagogy. You should be aware, however, that it has been extremely difficult recently to locate a permanent college teaching position without a Ph.D.: the majority of the positions offered to MA holders are limited to one year temporary positions or annually renewable positions that are typically subject to the program's funding situation.
3. If you are a native speaker of Japanese and you're considering a short-term "experience," you may want to consider the following options
ALLEX (Alliance for Language Learning and Educational Exchange) has the IEP (Intercultural Exchange Program) in Japanese, which enables post-secondary institutions to begin or maintain a high quality Japanese language program by providing them with professionally trained, native Japanese instructors who teach in exchange for tuition waivers to pursue a master's, associate's or second bachelor's degree. http://www.eastasia.org/
“The J-Corps program is a new offering of The Laurasian Institution. It is the mission of J-Corps to help teachers create classrooms that are stimulating exchange environments where learning about Japanese language and culture is enhanced.” http://www.laurasian.org/Programs.htm
The REX（Regional and Educational Exchanges for Mutual Understanding） Program is a teacher exchange program facilitated by regional and local governments in the US and Japan. http://www.mext.go.jp/a_menu/shotou/rex/english/main.htm
4. If you are a native speaker of Japanese, are interested in a teaching experience, and do not need to support yourself, there are some agencies in Japan that send volunteer assistants to U.S. schools and universities.
Questions on Japanese Program in the U.S.
How can I find out which schools in the U.S. offer Japanese?
Please visit the Directory of the Overseas Japanese-Language Educational Institutions (Search) http://www.jpf.go.jp/e/japanese/survey/db/index.html. This site, maintained by the Japan Foundation's Headquarters, reflects the data from a world-wide survey conducted in 2006. You can search by type of school and location, etc.
For opening positions, check ATJ’s Jobline (check http://www.aatj.org/atj/index.html for address). You may also want to check with school districts where you are interested in teaching: last minute job openings are found every year in many districts.
I would like to visit some Japanese classes. Can you give me some names of schools that I could visit?
You can find names of schools that offer Japanese by visiting the Directory of the Overseas Japanese-Language Educational Institutions (Search) http://www.jpf.go.jp/e/japanese/survey/db/index.html. You can also refer to the list of regional organization of Japanese teachers. If you have a particular program in mind, please tell us the region and or state as well as the level and the type of school/program you are interested in, and we will try to provide you with some names of schools. It is your responsibility, however, to contact the schools prior to your visit and get their permission to visit their classes.
I would like to contact other Japanese teachers in the area. How would I go about it?
Join the Japanese teachers' association in your area. You can find an appropriate association by looking at Affiliates on NCJLT website (http://www.ncjlt.net/).