Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program

Founded in 1987, the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program has sent more than 70,000 participants from around the globe (including more than 35,800 Americans) to work in schools, boards of education, and government offices throughout Japan. What makes JET unique is that it is the only teaching exchange program managed by the government of Japan. With more than 55 countries around the world currently participating in JET, this program offers a unique cultural exchange opportunity to meet people from all around the world, living and working in Japan. Before departing for Japan and upon return, there are a number of JET alumni organizations that host social, volunteer and professional development activities to help individuals through the transition process. Becoming a JET puts you in an elite network of incredible individuals.

The JET Program is a competitive employment opportunity that allows young professionals to live and work in cities, towns, and villages throughout Japan. Being a JET is an opportunity to work and to represent the United States as cultural ambassadors to Japan. Most participants serve as Assistant Language Teachers (ALTs) and work in public and private schools throughout Japan; some work as Coordinators for International Relations (CIRs) as interpreters/translators.

This award does not require university endorsement. 


National Deadline: November, 2023

The JET Program seeks participants who are adaptable, outgoing, and who have a deep interest in Japan. Only the best candidates are chosen to represent America. The JET Program typically receives 4,000-5,000 applications each year from U.S. applicants. Of these, 1,000-1,100 will be selected for participation on the JET Program.

Each fall, applications are reviewed to ensure that all required documents have been submitted. Applicants who pass the initial screening are invited to interview. Selected candidates will be offered a position with the JET Program and then matched with a contracting organization. The application for the 2022 JET Program will open on Tuesday, September 28th and close on Friday, November 12th at 11:59pm HST.

Interested individuals are encouraged to like the Official JET Program USA Facebook page or follow the JET Program USA on Twitter. Updates and notifications are posted frequently throughout the application and interview process.

The JET Program is implemented by contracting organizations of Japan in cooperation with the Council of Local Authorities for International Relations (CLAIR), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), and the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC). More information about each of the ministries and their relation to the JET Program can be found on the CLAIR website.

Eligibility Criteria

All applicants must:

  • Be interested in Japan 
  • Be both mentally and physically healthy.
  • Be a citizen of the United States by the application deadline.  
  • Hold at least a Bachelor’s degree or obtain such qualifications by June 29th, 2023. 
  • Have the ability to adapt to living and working conditions in Japan
  • Have excellent standard pronunciation, rhythm, intonation in the English language
  • Have not participated on the JET Program since 2020 
  • Have not declined a position with the JET Program
  • Not have lived in Japan for a six (6) or more years in total since 2013
  • Have an interest maintaining some type of relations with Japan
  • Agree to reside in Japan 
  • Obey all Japanese laws.
  • Have finished any periods of legal probation

Please refer to the JET website for a detailed list of the eligibility criteria.

  • JET Application Form
    Available through the online portal.
  • Self-Report of Medical Conditions
    Available through the online portal.
  • Statement of Purpose (2-pages, double-spaced essay)
    Describe your motivation and qualifications for participating on the JET Program.
  • Two (2) Letters of Recommendation
    To be submitted through the online portal. References should be academic or professional (from a professor, advisor or supervisor).
  • College/University Transcripts
    From ALL colleges and universities attended, including study abroad institutions. Transcripts must be official; unofficial transcripts and/or student portal screenshots will not be accepted. 
  • Proof of Graduation (or Expected Graduation)
    Showing the conferral of a bachelor’s degree or the date of expected graduation if the applicant is still a student at the time of application.
  • Proof of U.S. Citizenship
    Such as a U.S. passport, birth certificate, or completed naturalization papers.


  • Teaching Certification
    If the applicant has a state-issued certification to teach (grade level, subject, substitute, etc.)
  • TESOL/TEFL Certification
    If the applicant has completed a certificate in English as a Second/Foreign Language.
  • Japanese Language Certification
    If the applicant has passed any level of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT).
  • Statement of Physician
    If the applicant lists medical history in the Self-Report of Medical Conditions form that requires a clearance to participate from a physician or medical specialist. If you are a current applicant and need to download this form, it is available on the ‘Document Checklist’ page within your online portal account. 
  • Criminal History Background Check
    If the applicant lists any relevant history in the application. For more information please see FBI Identity History Summary Information
  • Complete two NCA forms:
  • Launch your online application (application opens in September)
  • Complete and submit application by National Deadline in November
  • If not applying through university, then application only need to be completed by national deadline
  • Competition for this program is keen. To give yourself the best chance of being a competitive applicant, allow yourself time to work through multiple drafts of your materials.
  • Information on this page is intended to supplement, not supplant, your own careful review of the official Japan Exchange and Teaching Program website. If you find any discrepancy between the two, the JET website takes precedence.
  • Though you should seek out others’ advice and feedback on your application, the essays should be your original work (no one should be writing your essays for you). UC’s Student Code of Conduct applies.