Assistant Language Teacher (ALT)

Please note that all information and dates provided on this page refer to the 2014 JET Program and do not apply to the next application cycle. Updated information for the 2015 JET Program will be available in fall 2014.


ALTs are engaged in English language instruction and are mainly placed in prefectural or local boards of education or public elementary, junior high and/or senior high schools. There are a very limited number of cases in which participants are placed in private schools through prefectural offices or designated city offices.
(*Designated Cities: Twenty Japanese cities with populations of 500,000 or more designated by government ordinance:  Sapporo, Sendai, Saitama, Chiba, Yokohama, Kawasaki, Sagamihara, Niigata, Shizuoka, Nagoya, Hamamatsu, Kyoto, Osaka, Sakai, Kobe, Okayama, Hiroshima, Kita-Kyushu, Fukuoka and Kumamoto.)


Participants who are assigned to local boards of education or elementary, junior high and/or senior high schools work as Assistant Language Teachers under the guidance of Language Teachers' Consultants or Japanese Teachers of English, as specified by the supervision and/or principal of the Board of Education and/or school.

The following is a brief outline of duties, though they may vary from one contracting organization to another:

a. Assistance in classes taught by Japanese Teachers of English in elementary schools, junior and/or senior high schools;

b. Assistance in English language education, usually conversation training, at elementary schools;

c. Assistance in the preparation of supplementary materials for teaching English;

d. Assistance in the language training of Japanese Teachers of English;

e. Assistance in the instruction of English language clubs;

f. Providing of information on language and other related subjects for people such as Teachers’ Consultants and Japanese Teachers of English (e.g., word usage, pronunciation, etc.);

g. Assistance in English language speech contests;

h. Participation in local international exchange activities;

i. Other duties as specified by the contracting organization;


Eligibility Criteria

There are no requirements for course of study (major) at university or college for the ALT position. For example, it is not a requirement for the ALT position to have a Bachelor's Degree in Education or English. All majors are welcome to apply provided applicants meet all other criteria mentioned in this application booklet pertaining to the position for which they are applying.

In general, ALTs are not required to have Japanese language skills to participate in the JET Program. However, successful applicants for the ALT position are expected to make an effort to study or continue studying the Japanese language prior to and after arriving in Japan.

The above notwithstanding, all applicants must:

a. Be interested in Japan and have a desire to deepen their knowledge of Japan after arrival. Be motivated to participate in and initiate international exchange activities in the local community;

b. Be both mentally and physically healthy;

c. Have the ability to adapt to living and working conditions in Japan, which could be significantly different from those experienced in the applicant's home country;

d. Hold at least a Bachelor's degree (or obtain one by July 1, 2014) or have completed at least a 3-year course for education/teacher-training program for elementary, middle, or high school as of July 1, 2014;

e. Be a citizen of the United States by the application deadline.  If you are a permanent resident of the U.S. (living in the U.S. but not a U.S. citizen) you are not eligible to apply for the JET Program using this application. Please contact the Embassy of Japan in your home country for information. Those who possess dual citizenship with Japan and the U.S. are ineligible for the program unless they renounce their Japanese citizenship before accepting a position on the Program and submitting the Reply Form.  Applicants who have dual citizenship in two countries (other than Japan) may only apply in ONE of those countries;

f. Have excellent English pronunciation, rhythm, intonation and voice projection skills in addition to other standard language skills, including strong writing skills and correct grammar usage;

g. Not have participated in the JET Program since 2011, or for more than five years total;

h. Not have declined a position with the JET Program in the last program year after receiving notification of placement;

i. As of November 2013, not have lived in Japan for a total of 6 or more years since 2004;

j. Have a desire to proactively maintain relations with Japan, even after completion of the program;

k. Agree to reside in Japan under the status of residence stipulated in Article 2-2 of the Immigration Control and Refugee Act when entering Japan for the purpose of JET Program participation (this applies primarily to military personnel or their dependents in Japan);

l. Obey all Japanese laws;

m. Have finished any periods of probation and/or paid any fines by the application deadline if a jail term was suspended;

In addition to a. through m. above, ALT applicants must also:

n. Be interested in the Japanese education system and ESL instruction in Japan;

o. Be interested in working actively with students;

p. Already have qualifications as language teachers or be motivated to learn about the teaching of foreign languages.