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Benefits of TEFL Certification for Teaching English Abroad

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When we speak to aspiring English as a Foreign Language teachers, the main question they have is: what type of qualifications do I need? 

Many potential applicants are unsure whether they require a Bachelor’s degree, a Master’s, or a language-specific certificate to kick-start their career.

In this article, we’ll be discussing the TEFL certification, and how it can benefit English teachers in Japan.

Introduction to TEFL Certification

What is TEFL?


TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) is an internationally recognised qualification that gives you the essential skills and knowledge needed to teach English effectively to non-native speakers. 

Whether you’re planning to teach abroad or online, the benefits of having a TEFL certification include access to a wide range of opportunities across the globe. This means it can be a valuable asset for those looking to take up a career in education, and begin their language teaching journey in Japan.

Why a TEFL Certification can be beneficial for aspiring teachers


Gaining a TEFL certification will help those looking to teach English in Japan, or elsewhere. It not only provides the foundational teaching methods and classroom management techniques, but also improves your credibility as a teacher.

Schools and language institutes in Japan, are more likely to hire candidates who are formally qualified, as it assures them of the teacher’s ability to deliver high-quality, engaging, and effective English language lessons.

Typically, English language teachers in Japan must have a Bachelor’s degree as a minimum requirement to begin teaching. Although a TEFL certification isn’t strictly mandatory, it’s a qualification that employers often look for, and it can be a good way to stand out from other candidates when applying for teaching positions.

TEFL certifications may also be taken into account if you are applying for a work visa. Although teachers can take ‘working holidays’, and teach English using a holiday, spouse, or student visa. However, in order to secure a full work visa, they will need a TEFL certification with a minimum of 120 hours completed, alongside a degree at Bachelor’s level, or above.

The Key Benefits of a TEFL Certification

Improved Teaching Skills


Improving teaching skills is a major benefit of a TEFL certification. The TEFL certificate ensures that teachers are well-equipped with a variety of educational strategies tailored to the needs of English learners. This will improve both the effectiveness of their lessons, as well as their students’ learning experience and knowledge retention.

Classroom Management


Classroom management is a valuable skill that TEFL courses focus on. The training helps aspiring teachers learn how to maintain a positive, supportive, and controlled classroom environment, which is crucial for fostering student engagement and facilitating effective learning.

Effective Lesson Planning


TEFL certification programs also emphasise the importance of effective lesson planning. This skill ensures that each class is structured with clear objectives, appropriate materials, and activities designed to maximise learning outcomes while keeping students actively engaged.

Assessment Strategies


Benefits of TEFL training include learning assessment strategies to evaluate students’ progress. These techniques include both formative and summative assessments, providing valuable feedback that helps students improve their English language skills.

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Increased Job Opportunities

A TEFL certification significantly broadens the range of job opportunities available to aspiring English teachers. With this qualification, you can access teaching positions not only in Japan, but also in other countries, expanding your career prospects globally.

Variety of Teaching Environments


TEFL certified teachers enjoy the flexibility to work in diverse teaching environments, including public schools, private language academies, universities, and online platforms. This variety allows individuals to find positions that best suit their personal and professional preferences.

Preferred by Employers


Employers looking for staff to teach English in Japan and across the world are more likely to hire teachers who have a TEFL certification. This preference is due to the high standard of training provided, ensuring that teachers have both the theoretical knowledge and practical skills necessary for effective language instruction.

Professional Development

Getting a TEFL certification isn’t just about landing a job; it’s also a commitment to ongoing professional development. TEFL certification provides various benefits in this area that encourages growth.

Ongoing Learning


Another benefit of TEFL certification is that the course offers a foundation for continuous improvement and professional growth. Teachers are encouraged to engage in ongoing learning opportunities, which can include advanced courses, workshops, and seminars. This commitment to lifelong learning helps teachers stay innovative and effective in their instructional practices.

Networking Opportunities


Getting a TEFL certification also opens up numerous networking opportunities with fellow educators and professionals in the field of teaching English as a foreign language. These connections can lead to collaborative projects, job opportunities, and valuable exchanges of ideas and teaching practices.

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How TEFL Certification Can Help You Secure a Job in Japan

Understanding the Japanese Education Market

Securing a English teaching job in Japan requires an understanding of the local education market. TEFL certification provides insight into the specific demands and expectations of Japanese schools and language institutes, equipping candidates with the knowledge needed to meet these requirements effectively.

Demand for English Teachers in Japan


Japan has a high demand for qualified English teachers, particularly in cities like Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto. The emphasis on English proficiency in Japan’s educational system ensures a steady need for skilled teachers, which is a benefit of TEFL certification.

Cultural Considerations


It’s also important for teachers to understand cultural differences when teaching English in Japan. TEFL certification courses often include sections on cultural awareness, which are vital for effectively communicating and engaging with students in a manner that respects and appreciates their cultural context.

Job Applications

The job application process in Japan can be daunting, but a benefit of TEFL certification is that you’re better equipped to handle the intricacies of applying for teaching positions. This certification demonstrates to potential employers your commitment to professional teaching standards and your readiness to excel in a competitive market.

Where to Find Job Openings


Job openings for English teachers in Japan can be found on various platforms including specialised teaching job websites, recruitment agencies, and through educational institutions directly. TEFL certified individuals frequently gain access to exclusive job listings not available to those without certification.

Application and Interview Tips


A TEFL certification also helps to prepare you for interviews. It includes training on how to highlight your teaching skills and adapt your communication style to suit Japanese cultural norms, which can be important in securing a teaching position.

Taking the Next Steps Towards Your Teaching Career in Japan

Securing a TEFL certification is your first significant step towards a rewarding teaching career in Japan. This qualification not only boosts your resume but also equips you with the necessary skills to thrive in diverse educational settings

With your certification in hand, you are well-prepared to explore the wide range of teaching opportunities available and make a positive impact on your students’ lives.

Additional Resources and How to Get Started with TEFL

For those ready to start their journey towards TEFL certification, numerous resources are available. Consider exploring accredited TEFL courses, both online and in-person, to find one that suits your needs and goals. 

Additionally, engaging with online forums and communities of TEFL educators can provide insights and support as you navigate your path to becoming a certified English teacher in Japan.

If you’re interested in becoming an English teacher in Japan, make sure you take a look at our available jobs and browse our wide range of blog articles, which cover all aspects of living, working, and making the most of your time in Japan.

About the Author

Brian McDonough is a consultant at Interac, Japan’s largest provider of ALTs (Assistant Language Teachers). Originally from the US, Brian has lived in Japan for over 25 years, giving him a unique perspective on the cultural differences and challenges people face when moving to Japan. He has first-hand experience of working in Japan as an American.