The Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme, also known as the JET Program, is a great way for people who love Japan, yet don’t know the language or culture fluently, to come to Japan and immerse themselves in the local environment and pick up the language while teaching English.
Top 10 JET Program Questions Answered
There are a few basic, yet very critical aspects of the JET Program that you should know about. We’ve put together the 10 most commonly asked questions about the JET Program, complete with all the information you need to best answer these questions.
1. What is the JET program salary?
The pay is decent by local standards, with the salary increasing every year. In the first year you get around 3.3 million yen, 3.6 million in the second and near 4 million yen by the 4th. Expected working hours are 35 hours a week, with public holidays and paid leave, so you can enjoy a reasonable work-life balance.
Housing is either provided for or subsidized, and your trip to Japan is covered. As with most work arrangements in Japan, your work commute by public transport is covered by your employer. If you don’t splurge, you should be able to accumulate some savings.
2. What is the JET program age limit?
There is no official age limit, though the actual selection process may vary from country to country. There is a limit that you can’t have been in the program for more than 5 years in total. However, there is an unspoken understanding of the acceptable age range, which can be checked on net forums.
3. What is the JET program acceptance rate?
The acceptance rate varies according to country, but there is an upward trend from a 2013 low. For example, in the United States, the program gets around 4,500 applicants each year. Of those, around 1,150 were chosen to take part. This means around a 25% acceptance rate.
4. What are the JET program requirements?
Requirements to apply for the program, other than being a citizen of the country you are applying from, is good mental and physical health, hold a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent, have excellent English language skills, with standard pronunciation and correct grammar usage. You must also have not previously rejected a place in the program in the previous year.
5. What is the JET program timeline?
The process from application to arriving in Japan can be quite long. From around September, application forms are available from embassy sites and deadlines are in November to December.
By the end of January, you will receive notification as to whether you have been granted an interview. Those take place from January to February, and results will be released by April. Arrival and orientation in Japan can take place as early from April till around August.
6. What is JET program housing like?
Housing in Japan can be a complicated affair, requiring a guarantor and various down payments. Fortunately, with the JET program you don’t have to worry about this as housing is usually arranged for you and subsidized. The downside is that the housing may be a bit run-down and location-wise not so ideal, but in general it is of an acceptable level.
7. How likely are the chances of getting a preferred JET program placement?
You are free to request up to three desired locations for your placement. However, these are not necessarily met and even married or engaged couples may be placed far from each other.
We encourage you to hope for the best, while remaining prepared to not receive your desired assignment. In general, JETs are placed at rural areas rather than urban areas. It’s best to keep an open mind and discover the unique features of different regions.
8. What does JET program health insurance cover?
Under the JET program you are covered with the National Health Insurance, this covers 70% of medical expenses for illness and injuries. Medical care benefits include medical check-ups, medicines, emergency treatment, surgery and hospitalization. Do bring any medication that you are currently taking, after checking that they are legal to bring into the country.
9. What is the JET program dress code?
You’ll need a couple of business outfits for official meetings and orientation, though day to day outfits can be more casual. Sleeveless clothing is still not very common in Japan, so that’s good for ladies to keep in mind if you arrive during the summer season. A set of decent pajamas would be handy if you are rooming with other JETs.
10. Is TEFL or TESOL necessary for the JET program?
Successful JET applicants have the opportunity to get TEFL certification after joining through a grant provided by CLAIR (along with a JLPT certification)
TEFL and TESOL are both English teacher training courses that prepare you for different teaching environments.
TEFL is Teaching English as a Foreign Language, while TESOL is Teaching English as a Second Language. TEFL is relevant for teaching English in a country where English is not native, whereas TESOL is designed more recently and contains broader elements of teaching for in both non-native English countries and within English-speaking countries. TESOL would give you wider future career options, but ultimately it depends on your own career plans.
How to Stay Connected While Living in Japan Through the JET Program
The first thing you will want to do after getting off the plane is getting online. JET program lasts a full year, with the option to renew on a yearly basis, which means you will need long-term data either through a SIM or Pocket WiFi.
Did You Know?
1 out of every 4 JET Program members uses Sakura Mobile, and you can apply for our service on the spot at orientation in Keio Plaza!
Since a standard Japanese mobile plan involves a two-year contract with early cancellation penalties, the better option is a flexible plan tailored for JETs by Sakura Mobile. It has no lock-in time commitment, early cancellation penalty, at the same time with data and call SIM options suitable for long-term residents.
Full English support is also provided and you can pick up the SIM card at Shinjuku where your orientation in Tokyo takes place. You can also use your phone from your home country into us. Wifi access is of 4G LTE speed.
For further convenience, you can arrange payment using your credit card issued from abroad, as with no credit record in Japan getting a credit card can be a difficult process.
If you love Japan, the JET option is definitely worth considering, and the specially tailored Sakura Mobile plan will help you ease into your new environment even faster.