How to Become a Japanese Teacher

Japanese language teachers may teach in different classrooms or in total language immersion.
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With more globalization and greater interest in East Asian culture, the demand for Japanese language teachers to practice in both public and private schools has increased. Although native Japanese speakers are preferred, you can be fluent in Japanese as well as English to qualify for most teaching positions. Also, with the right degrees, licenses and certifications, you can teach Japanese from the grade school level on up to university level.

    Step 1

    Research all available Japanese language teaching positions commensurate with your educational credentials and language skills. Determine your Japanese language skills by taking state language proficiency examinations. Many grade school, high school and university positions may also require a graduate or undergraduate degree in Japanese, if you are not a native speaker.

    Step 2

    Obtain any additional credentials necessary for the teaching position of your choice. Credentials include teacher certification, state licenses and Japanese language test results, if applicable. Check your state's Department of Education for additional requirements before applying.

    Step 3

    Apply to the Japanese language teaching position of your choice. Complete your application package thoroughly and accurately. It helps to cite any formal and informal teaching or translation experience in Japanese. Travel or residential experience in Japan is also a plus. Application processing times often vary by state or private institution. If selected for an interview, a state or school official will contact you.

    Step 4

    Arrive at your interview at least 15 minutes prior to the appointment time. Bring copies of all degrees, teaching credentials, language test results and state licenses in case the interviewer requests them. Dress in professional attire. Be prepared to display conversational knowledge in Japanese during your interview. Cultural and educationally relevant stories on your past experiences with the Japanese language will also help demonstrate interest and enthusiasm in teaching your target language.


    • Native Japanese speakers can go through channels such as the Alliance for Language Learning and Educational Exchange (Alliex) and the Intercultural Exchange Program (IEP) to teach Japanese in exchange for tuition waivers at colleges and universities.


    • Native Japanese speakers residing in Japan can also find volunteer teaching assistance opportunities in American schools through certain Japanese agencies to gain experience.


    • Although university positions are desirable and require an MA, they are extremely competitive and often require a PhD in Japanese Linguistics, Applied Linguistics, East Asian studies and so on to ensure a permanent position.

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