If you’re someone who has a passion for teaching, combined with the ability to speak fluent Japanese, then working as a Japanese tutor can lead to a number of career possibilities both in America and in Japan.
Depending on the type of audience you wish to teach, you may need to pursue a graduate degree or fulfill certain teaching requirements.
Preparing for a Career as a Tutor in Japanese
- First, figure out at what level you want to teach Japanese and the type of audience you’d enjoy working with, such as high school students, adults, or children.
- Also, choose the type of employment you’re interested in such as working overseas, part-time or full-time teaching or working as a college level instructor.
- If you want to work in the public-school system, you’ll need to contact the board of education in order to learn more about state-specific requirements.
In order to teach Japanese, you’ll need to have an advanced command of the language. Taking Japanese language courses is not enough. You must become familiar with business Japanese if you plan on teaching in the workplace. You will also be expected to know the ins and outs of the Japanese culture.
Learning How to Teach Japanese
You should also study pedagogy and teaching strategies. Studying the different ways people learn will also be important. If you want to tutor children or high school aged students, you’ll need a degree in education with a course study focus on Japanese.
Practice your Japanese whenever possible. There is a huge gulf between being able to teach Japanese and the ability to speak it. If possible, connect with other people in your area that speak Japanese or plan a trip to Japan to test out your skills and learn more about the current slang used in that country.
Obtain teaching references and gain experience. Offer to volunteer your tutoring services. Many employers will value past experience just as much as education.
Consider making the move to Japan for a year before you begin working as a tutor in America.[/thrive_text_block]
Quick Tip: Jobs that use or require Japanese aren’t the easiest to find in America. But not everyone who speaks Japanese fluently wants to move their life across the world. Fortunately, there are some options here in America.
Testing your Ability to Speak Japanese
If you’re someone who is willing to put in the time and effort and do some research regarding employment opportunities available in your area, you’ll discover that there are a surprisingly wide variety of jobs available for fluent Japanese speakers.
In order to increase your chances of landing a position working as a tutor or translator, you should consider earning credentials through language skills tests. Doing so will showcase your abilities, making you more appealing to potential employers.
The Japanese Language Proficiency exam is probably the most respected and well-known test for the Japanese language. It features five levels total, ranging from N5 to N1 certification. N1 is the most difficult level. Many employers prefer applicants who have an N1 or N2 certification, so if you haven’t made it to one of those certification levels, then it’s time to hit the books.
This difficult test is only offered once or twice a year in the winter or the summer. It’s typically administered by a local university or testing center. You can apply for the exam online or at the nearest university or testing facility.
There are a number of accreditation courses and tests you can take to prove your language proficiency.
- In America, the American Translator Association offers a certificate for those who pay a fee and pass a challenging three-hour exam.
- Another option is Australia’s National Accreditation for Translators and Interpreters, which offers certificates for different languages and skill levels.
- Most countries will have accreditation associations or the equivalent for translators which you can find by simply hitting up Google.
Experience with the Japanese Culture
Have you ever been to Japan and worked there? If you have, then you’re already ahead of the competition. While experience living in Japan isn’t a prerequisite, showing how much experience you have with the Japanese language and culture definitely won’t hurt your chances of landing a job as a tutor or translator.
During an interview, be sure to put an emphasis on how much of a positive impact living in Japan has had on your language skills. For example, were you able to easily communicate with coworkers?
Did you take and pass any language proficiency exams during your time over there? Providing answers to questions like these show that your previous experiences immersed in another culture have had a major impact on your skillset.
While in some learning environments, a college degree can be the determining factor to whether or not you qualify for a tutor position, it’s not always the case. But if you do have a degree in Japanese or a type of related field, you’ll have a better shot at qualifying for a Japanese-oriented position. Make sure that your resume focuses on your educational background, in addition to how it correlates with your ability to speak fluent Japanese.
Typically, most employers will assume that a bachelor’s degree equates to intermediate comprehension, while a doctorate or master’s degree means that you’re fluent in the language.
How your Japanese Interview Can Seal the Deal
Pro Tip: Probably the best and easiest way to prove your ability to fluently speak Japanese is during an interview. The odds are, if you’re interviewing for a position as a translator or tutor, the interview will take place entirely in Japanese. It’s just the easiest way for your potential employer to assess your skills.
While many employers may claim the interview will take place in English, you should definitely expect some testing to occur during most of the interview. If you’re nervous, then it’s a good idea to prepare an introduction and answers to some basic questions.
If you really want to make yourself stand out, begin speaking in Japanese, even if the employer initially begins speaking to you in English.