Salary and Benefits: What to Expect from the JET Program in Japan

Salary and Benefits: What to Expect from the JET Program in Japan
Last Updated: June 30, 2024

Are you fascinated by Japanese culture and keen to experience a completely different way of life? Do you also want to work in a rewarding and exciting role? Then the JET programme in Japan sounds perfect for you! A popular teaching exchange programme, JET offers some unique benefits and an attractive salary, which makes it especially appealing to professionals eager to put their teaching skills to good use overseas. However, understanding exactly what you can expect if you decide to apply for this programme is crucial to determining whether it's right for you.

What Is The JET Programme?

The Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme, or JET for short, is an organisation that was established in the late 1980s to bring teachers who speak English into Japanese schools to fill roles as ALTs or Assistant Language Teachers. English teachers working in Japan report that they find the experience extremely enjoyable and rewarding, so if you have a particular interest in Japanese culture, you should definitely consider finding out more about the JET program in Japan.

Can I Apply For The Jet Programme?


There are a few requirements that applicants must fulfil to be considered for this programme:

  • You have to be a citizen of a participating country. There are 54 participating nations, including the UK, USA, and Canada.
  • You must have a Bachelor's degree.
  • You must be interested in Japan and its culture.
  • You must speak English at a native level.
  • You must be healthy, both physically and mentally.
  • You mustn't have resided in Japan for over six years before applying.

While having a TEFL certificate isn't actually a specific JET requirement, it makes sense to obtain one since the programme is extremely competitive, and being able to demonstrate your teaching skills and expertise will help you stand out from other applicants.

Although the JET programme was originally designed for young people, it's worth noting that there are no age limits for applicants.

What Is The JET Programme Salary?

The salary that you can expect on the JET progamme is very attractive and increases year-on-year for as long as you remain a participant.

  • In the first year, you'll receive a pre-tax salary of ¥3,360,000.
  • In your second year, you receive an annual salary of ¥3,600,000.
  • In the third year, your salary will be ¥3,900,000.
  • In the fourth and fifth years, your salary is ¥3,960,000.

Bear in mind, too, that Japan's cost of living is relatively low, so you can expect a comfortable standard of life.

JET Pay Deductions

Unfortunately, there are some pre-tax deductions from your pay when you participate in the JET programme to cover employment insurance, health insurance, and the national pension fund contribution. These deductions equate to about ¥41,000 a month from a gross monthly salary of ¥280,000. After leaving Japan, you'll be able to apply for your pension contributions to be returned to you, too.

Jet Programme Benefits

One of the top benefits of the JET programme is that it covers the cost of your flights to your teaching location and back home. While your accommodation won't be covered in your benefits package, your contracting organisation will usually arrange a furnished house for you, so settling in will be quite easy.

How Long Is A JET Contract?

Each JET programme contract lasts for a year and can be renewed yearly up to a maximum of five years.

What Do JET Programme Participants Do?

As a JET teacher, you'll work as an ALT or assistant language teacher in a high school, junior high school or elementary school. You'll work typical school hours, starting around 8:30 in the morning and finishing at around 5 pm on weekdays.

Your role will involve helping Japanese teachers with their English classes, preparing materials, supervising activities, assisting with clubs, activities and school events, and providing information about English word pronunciation and use. You'll also engage in international local exchange activities.

Where Do JET Teachers Work?

One of the best things about working as a JET teacher is that you'll usually be placed in a small or mid-sized town rather than one of the big cities like Kyoto or Tokyo. If you've always wanted to really immerse yourself in the culture of Japan, this will really give you a truly authentic experience, and you'll be able to get to know the local community well and integrate with the local population.

You'll have the opportunity to request your top 3 locations when making your application, but bear in mind locations can't be guaranteed, so you'll need to be flexible and willing to go anywhere nationwide. With this in mind, you should get some tips about Japanese language and culture before you go!

Is The JET Programme Right For Me?

If you've always wanted to see the authentic side of Japan and immerse yourself in its culture while enjoying a rewarding job that uses your skills and expertise, the JET teaching programme could be perfect for you. It's the ideal way to make a real difference in children's and young people's lives while having the experience of a lifetime. 

Cindy Baker
Editorial Team
The editorial team behind is a group of dedicated HR professionals, writers, and industry experts committed to providing valuable insights and knowledge to empower HR practitioners and professionals. With a deep understanding of the ever-evolving HR landscape, our team strives to deliver engaging and informative articles that tackle the latest trends, challenges, and best practices in the field.

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