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The Japanese Exchange and Teaching Program

Page history last edited by CeCe 10 years, 8 months ago

Wiki Page By CeCe Hue


The Japanese Exchange and Teaching Program

(JET Program)



Have you considered what you want to do after graduation? A lot of people wish to travel, see the world, or learn a new language before going to graduate school, or beginning a long time career. Wouldn't it be great if you could do this AND  get paid? One  option you have that would do this is to  teach English oversees. There are programs available for many different countries and cultures, but for this class this page will focus on Japanese opportunities, specifically the JET Program.


Although there are a lot of programs that offer an opportunity to teach English in Japan, the JET program is the most reliable, pays the best, but also the most  competitive. This program is available through the Japanese government and embassy. People from all over the world compete for a few positions in this program so naturally it is VERY competitive. The application process is extremely vigorous, so if you plan to apply for this program its best to think about the decision carefully and start early.



All of this information comes from last years application requirements. Check the website in early May to find out the requires for this year.


The US emabssy's JET program page is here.

The JET's official page is here.

Application help and suggestions here.


There are 3 official positions available, ALT (Assistant Language Teacher), CIR (Coordinator for International Relations), and (SEA) Sports Exchange Advisor. They all require the same application but some ask for more information than others. The ALT position is the only one that doesn't require fluent Japanese, while the other two do. The CIR position will often be used as translators and the SEA position helps train and plan sports activities.


The JET application is generally due in early November and consists of many different documents. 

You must have 3 copies of each of these documents:

  • Application Form, filled out on-line and printed. In order to fill out the application you must create an account on the site.
  • Self-Assessed Medical Form
  • Physician Form, only required if noted on the medical form. 
  • Statement of Purpose, a 2 page maximum essay stating why you want the position including relevant experience and motivation for applying.
  • Official College Transcript.
  • Proof of Study Abroad, only if you have studied abroad.
  • Proof of Graduation Date and Current Enrollment Status.
  • Proof of Teachers Certificate, If you have one. 
  • Proof of US Citizenship, Birth Certificate, Passport or Naturalization Papers.
  • Reference Letters & Form. You must have 2 references, one professional, one personal.  These people need to fill out a form you will print out for them, and then write a letter. copy both 3 times and put them in separate envelopes, seal and sign across the back.


The parts the take up the most time are the essays, the references, and the college documents. Some documents, such as the proof of enrollment, will only take a day at the most, while others can take up to a week. Also, the application instructions are quite confusing, so read and re-read them to ensure you did it correctly. The program is very specific this way.



After you apply comes the worst part, in my opinion, the waiting.  The earliest you will hear anything about your application will be late February of the next year. After receiving a letter in the  mail with a 'special' number you will be sent a PDF file will be sent to you which has listed about a six thousand numbers, and maybe one of them is yours!!! Well mine wasn't but for six thousand other lucky people it was.


I do plan on applying again, but it is frustrating to have waited so long to not get chosen. The good thing about it is i can go on planning for after graduation. I have applied to numerous other programs to teach over seas, however they are not all in Japan. They all pay, include round trip fare, and  only require a undergraduate degree in any field. You must be able to speak and read English fluently, and like teaching. I feel that this aspect is overlooked sometimes, don't forget you are actually teaching children. Here are some links to those sites:



Some organizations see it as an advantage that you a TEFL/TESOL certificate. If you would like to do this here is a link. This is basically a license you can obtain through classes that teach you how to educate others in learning English as a second language. However, some of these programs certify you through a training program.


If you happen to be lucky enough to pass the first screening for the JET program you should receive a phone call shortly after the PDF email. This phone call will set up a face to face interview at a location 'near' you. For them, 'near' to Asheville was Atlanta. If you pass that interview you are officially selected!  There will be a summer training in June, orientation in July, and you leave August 1st.


In order to get some other poeple's perspective on the JET program i looked for some blogs on-line. I found some really nice ones, I had planned on making a blog too, so if i ever do get to go i will have some inspiration.


Mary Newton's Experience She has all sorts of pictures and video that she made, it's really good!


ALT Online. Since most people who enter the program will work in the ALT position i thought this blog would be nice. It's a every-thing-you-need-to-know type blog about succeeding as an ALT teacher in JAPAN!


My Blog is called New Adventures, so far it just has a few entries about different things. I'm really bad about posting but i will get better i promise!


There are a few sites on this wiki-page that offer information about English and education in Japan, but they are a little limited.

The Point, has a link to the JET program homepage, as well as link to another organization to  teach in Japan.

Education in Japan, only has a few sentences about elementary school.

English in Japan, has a very good description of the introduction of English to Japan, translations of Kanji and some history. It's a pretty interesting site.



My sources were mainly the JET program's site, and personal experience.

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