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Frequently Asked Questions


Here you can find answers to the questions we are most often asked.  You can click on a question to jump straight to the answer for that specific question, or you can scroll down to read the answers to all of the questions.

Before Applying

Q1: I have no teaching experience. Is it still possible for me to join ALTIA CENTRAL?

Q2: Do I need a major in English or Teaching to apply?

Q3: Can I apply from overseas or only from within Japan?

Q4: If I am applying from overseas, what expenses do I need to cover before arriving at O/T and/or my new apartment?

Q5: If I am applying from within Japan and already have my own living arrangements, how far can my schools be from my apartment without having to move?

Q6: What format is best when sending in my application and various documents?

Q7: Is a Letter of Recommendation in Japanese acceptable?

Q8: How would you like to receive Letters of Recommendation?

Q9: How long is an ALTIA CENTRAL contract?

Q10: Is it possible to work on a monthly contract or six-month contract?

Q11: How long can I work for ALTIA CENTRAL? / How many times can I request to renew my contract?

Q12: When does ALTIA CENTRAL find out about next year’s openings?

Q13: When can I apply to ALTIA CENTRAL?

Q14: What prefectures does ALTIA CENTRAL have contracts in?

Q15: Are there senior high school positions available?

Q16: Is Japanese necessary for the ALT job?

Interview

Q17: Is it possible to interview by phone or online using Skype?

Q18: What should I prepare for the interview?

Q19: How and when will I find out if I ‘passed’ the interview?

Orientation/Training and Beyond

Q20: What is Orientation/Training like?

Q21: What training related costs does ALTIA CENTRAL cover?

Q22: Is there a dress code for ALTIA CENTRAL ALTs?

Q23: Do I have to take a health check?

Q24: Does ALTIA CENTRAL provide apartments?

Q25: Can I change from a non-driving position to a driving position (or vice versa)?

Q26: Does ALTIA CENTRAL pro-rate salaries for summer and winter holidays?

Q27: What kind of support would I get as an ALT with your company?

Company/Employee

Q28: What is ALTIA CENTRAL’s company background?

Q29: What are the benefits of ALTIA CENTRAL over other companies?

Q30: Is there any chance to progress within the company?

Q31: Do you have any social media webpages?



Q1: I have no teaching experience. Is it still possible for me to join ALTIA CENTRAL?

A1: We do prefer applicants with teaching experience, preferably ALT work or other teaching experience here in Japan if possible. Other teaching background such as ESL teaching, language tutoring, or volunteer work and language exchanges is also acceptable. We do often employ people with the right skill set and disposition that we believe will allow them to become great ALTs, even without the relevant previous experience, but in this case other factors such as Japanese language skills and relevant studies become even more important.

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Q2: Do I need a major in English or Teaching to apply?

A2: We do not typically focus on English or Education degrees per se, though we certainly do hire several ALTs from these fields. For overseas applicants who are fresh out of university with little or no teaching background, we would generally look for relevant degrees or minors. This includes fields such as Japanese, Asian Studies, Teaching English as a Secondary Language (TESL) etc., though combinations such as BA in English, with a minor in Asian Studies are very attractive as well. We also consider applicants with TESL certification, conversational Japanese language ability and having some experience of living in Japan, such as on a study abroad program, student exchange or something similar.

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Q3: Can I apply from overseas or only from within Japan?

A3: People who have worked for another ALT company or Eikaiwa school, as well as those finishing the JET Programme, make up most of our new ALTs each year. We generally hire most of our ALTs from within Japan but do hire more and more overseas applicants each year as well so overseas applications are very welcome. Overseas applicants have a 2-part interview process, first passing a face-to-face screening interview by one of our interviewers overseas before being interviewed a second time via Skype with our Recruiting Division Manager. For overseas applicants especially, we do place a lot of emphasis on previous work with young children, degrees in Japanese or East Asian studies, participation in an exchange program or previous ESL work experience here in Japan and we rarely bring over those applicants with little relevant background, experience or basic Japanese language skills.

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Q4: If I am applying from overseas, what expenses do I need to cover before arriving at O/T and/or my new apartment?

A4: For overseas recruits, finances are often a big concern. Typically, we would recommend you prepare about 2,000 to 2,500 US dollars before you come, and that should be more than enough until your first salary on the 20th of the following month. You need to cover your own airfare to Nagoya as well, so that money would be on top of the airfare costs. We pay for the apartment key money, we pay the hotel during Orientation/Training, and we supply a company car for drivers, so there are not many large payments you have to make. You will be asked to cover your first month’s rent up front, and the first 2 months of health care/pension payments come out at the same time from your first salary, but other than that it’s just normal daily and food expenses that you need to cover.

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Q5: If I am applying from within Japan and already have my own living arrangements, how far can my schools be from my apartment without having to move?

A5: If you have your own apartment or are finding your own place to live, that’s perfectly fine, but it does affect the positions we can consider you for. We would prefer no one to have a daily commute more than 1 hour each way. Even though people will generally say they can do it at the start, over time it leads to more stress, absenteeism and ALTs being late more often. So, if you do have your own place that’s fine, and many of our ALTs do, but it may limit the number and variety of positions that we can place you in and for overseas recruits especially, it’s just much, much easier to let us arrange an apartment in a suitable location for you.

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Q6: What format is best when sending in my application and various documents?

A6: For documents the simplest way would be to send them in PDF format. As for photographs and the like, JPG or .PNG files are the easiest for us to open and use.

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Q7: Is a Letter of Recommendation in Japanese acceptable?

A7: If you have a letter of recommendation in Japanese, we can certainly accept that.  You may have experience teaching with Japanese public-school teachers or had Japanese managers at your English conversation school, or perhaps a Japanese language professor from University, and if they prefer to write a letter in Japanese that is perfectly fine. We also would like to have our Japanese staff contact your referees by phone after a successful interview, so contact information is also necessary.  At the interview, we ask for contact information, so extra letters would not be required again at that point, just the contact numbers alone would be acceptable.

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Q8: How would you like to receive Letters of Recommendation?

A8: It is easiest to send in your Letter(s) of Recommendation with your initial application as PDF attachments. You can also have your referee(s) email them directly themselves. Just be sure to have him/her include your name in the subject of the email so we know who the letter is for. If your referee(s) prefer to send them "sealed", in an envelope via post, that is fine with us as well but sending them digitally is generally best.

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Q9: How long is an ALTIA CENTRAL contract?

A9: The contracts themselves are 1 year, starting from April 1st and each officially ending with the school year at the end of March. That is, as school starts from the beginning of April and ends at the end of March, we expect every ALT to work through until the end of March regardless of when the ALT started with ALTIA CENTRAL, so a contract might end up being a bit less than a full year.  When we bring in a new ALT for a new school year, the students deserve to have that ALT continue for the entire duration of the school year, so perhaps even more important than the contract, we feel the commitment to the students for the whole school year is really what we are looking for.

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Q10: Is it possible to work on a monthly contract or six-month contract?

A10: Generally, no. We do not have nor offer part time or shortened contracts like this, though if you are filling in mid-year for an ALT who had to leave for a family or health emergency, it might be possible. We feel a full school year commitment goes without saying in this kind of position so the commitment to the BOEs, the schools, the teachers, and ultimately the students outweighs anything else and this is very important to us at ALTIA CENTRAL. If you are looking to work only a short period and then move on, it’s not likely that we can help you out in the end.

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Q11: How long can I work for ALTIA CENTRAL? / How many times can I request to renew my contract?

A11: We have no set limits on how long you can work as an ALT with us. Each winter, we ask our ALTs about their intentions for the following school year and ask you to “apply” for a new 1-year contract. The vast majority of our ALTs are good ALTs of course, so it’s an easy decision to “offer” them a new contract and keep them working with us. We have many ALTs who have been with us for 4, 5, 6 or more contracts and are still doing amazing work in their schools. So as long as you are doing well and making positive contributions, we are generally happy to keep you employed with us.

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Q12: When does ALTIA CENTRAL find out about next year’s openings?

A12: That is the million-dollar question!  The general process begins in the fall and continues throughout the winter for April contracts.  Generally, by the end of January we can get a good idea of which of our current BOE contracts will sign up for another year, and which areas we will have to make a new proposal or presentation for.  By the beginning of March, we should know about the bulk of our contracts, and together with the plans from our current ALTs and whether they are planning to move on or not, we are making hiring decisions and filling open positions.  By about mid-March most of our positions are filled except for a few special cases, but we do continue to hire a few final people for remaining openings through to the end of March where needs be.

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Q13: When can I apply to ALTIA CENTRAL?

A13: You can apply to ALTIA CENTRAL at most any time during the year. However, our busiest placement periods are April and September so the months leading up to those periods are the main recruiting seasons. For April start positions, our biggest hiring season, we start accepting overseas applications in September and doing interviews throughout October and November. For in-country applicants for April positions, December onward is about the best time to get in touch with us to apply, and most interviews are in the January to March period.  We do also occasionally have 1 or 2 random positions to fill in any given month so check our Available Positions or look for our ads on gaijinpot.com throughout the year.

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Q14: What prefectures does ALTIA CENTRAL have contracts in?

A14: Well, as you can see here in our Available Positions page, we are concentrated around the Chubu area of Japan.  Our head office is in Nagoya city, Aichi prefecture and thus most of our contracts are in Aichi and the 3 neighboring prefectures, Gifu, Shizuoka and Mie.  We also have contracts in Osaka, Hyogo, Shiga, and Fukui, a few up in Nagano, and a number further west in Okayama and Hiroshima prefectures as well. We do not have any contracts in the greater Tokyo/Kanto area at all.

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Q15: Are there senior high school positions available?

A15: Our clients are the local town and city Boards of Educations (BOEs), who usually only manage junior high and elementary schools in their respective areas. A few of our ALTs do occasionally go to local kindergartens, but we have maybe just 1 or 2 senior high school positions each year, only in those rare city-run high schools, as the senior high school system is typically run at the prefecture level or privately. An ALTIA CENTRAL ALT position is most likely a junior high only, elementary only, or a mixed junior high and elementary position.

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Q16: Is Japanese necessary for the ALT job?

A16: We strongly prefer that our ALTs have some conversational ability in Japanese, and generally look for people who have studied the language for several years or have perhaps lived and/or worked in Japan previously or currently. Being immersed in an all-Japanese environment means having a general understanding of what is going on around you as well as using basic communication skills to greatly enhance your presence and effectiveness. More interaction helps build rapport and understanding between you and the school, especially outside of the classroom around the school, but we certainly don’t feel you should be using Japanese in the classroom itself. Not all our ALTs are strong at Japanese, especially those who are working in junior high school or are new to Japan, but when comparing applicants, we certainly do consider language ability when making hiring decisions.

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Q17: Is it possible to interview by phone or online using Skype?

A17: Unfortunately, no.  The positions we offer, representing foreign cultures and working with young children in public schools, are just too important to trust a phone or skype chat to. We feel that our best chance to find the most suitable applicants is a lengthy, professional, face-to-face interview.  For overseas applicants, once they have passed an initial in-person screening interview with one of our overseas interviewers, we do a follow-up Skype interview as well, but this is pretty much the only exception.  Sorry if that disappoints, but we take our interviewing process very seriously and face-to-face interviews are important to us.

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Q18: What should I prepare for the interview?

A18: When we can confirm a date and time for the interview, our recruiting department will let you know exactly what to bring for the interview itself.  This will include some documents such as your passport and visa copies, a copy of your 4-year diploma/degree, 2 recent passport-style photos, contact information for references, and a lesson plan which we will tell you more about in the confirmation email.  Some of these documents can be scanned and emailed beforehand (or afterwards if otherwise impossible), especially for overseas interviews, but we do prefer that in-country applicants bring as much as possible in person to the interview, so we can quickly go over them together. There are many things to discuss and talk about at the interview and not a lot of time to go over documentation, so having all the requested materials prepared and ready to go is much appreciated.

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Q19: How and when will I find out if I ‘passed’ the interview?

A19: Well, if you ‘passed’ the interview, we will be in touch with very soon to begin discussing how to move forward from there and any possible placements for you.  We may need to collect more documentation from you, apply for a Certificate of Eligibility or Change of Visa Status, confirm preferences and timetables, and keep you up to date on position availability etc.  On the other hand, please understand that due to time constraints, we may not have time to contact every person whom we are not able to consider further following the interview.

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Q20: What is Orientation/Training like?

A20: Orientation/Training at ALTIA CENTRAL is a very comprehensive 4-day (or 5-day for overseas recruits) training seminar which will get you familiar with all levels of the Japanese public school system, teach you basic skills and techniques, get you acquainted with our resources and materials, and prepare you for your first day and first month at school.  We have a wonderful group of dedicated, native English speaking supervisors and trainers, most of whom have been working and teaching in Japan for 10 or 15 years or more, as well as other head-office staff available to assist you and answer your questions.  The event is intensive but also very rewarding.  You will be tired afterwards, without a doubt, but you will also have a chance to meet many great people, have a lot of fun, and really get fully prepared for your new position.  We have heard many positive and great things about the quality of our Orientation/Training from employees who have previously worked with other companies and the JET Programme in Japan and we are very confident that it is one of, if not the best, of its kind.

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Q21: What training related costs does ALTIA CENTRAL cover?

A21: ALTIA CENTRAL will put all new ALTs up in a local hotel at or very near to the training venue and cover that cost.  We are not able to cover your travel costs to get to Orientation/Training, but we will reimburse you to get from Orientation/Training to your placement location, be it by highway, train or even the shinkansen.  We will also subsidize your lunch each day of training and offer you free refreshments throughout the event to help you feel more comfortable.

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Q22: Is there a dress code for ALTIA CENTRAL ALTs?

A22: Working as a teacher in a school environment, we feel that dressing smart is a requirement to make a positive and professional impression. This does not require you to dress in a suit and tie every day. Formal and professional attire is required for when you are meeting the school and principal for the first time or attending a formal school event such as graduation ceremony or parent observation day. A general rule of thumb is to dress one level above than the teachers at the school you are attending. Generally, for men, a collared shirt with long trousers or khakis, no jeans or denim, and for women, a blouse or nice shirt/sweater with a pair of slacks or a conservative skirt and tights/stockings are common. Often a change of clothes for more casual or outdoor activities such as recess or after school sport clubs are also encouraged, especially in the hot months of the year.

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Q23: Do I have to take a health check?

A23: Every year, all ALTs must take a health check before starting their contracts with ALTIA CENTRAL. 健康診断 (けんこうしんだん) as it is called in Japanese is a requirement by law for people working in the public school environment. A form with all the basic medical checks needed, including a chest x-ray, is provided by ALTIA CENTRAL. For new recruits, the cost is covered by yourself before you join the company, but we will reimburse up to a set amount for any subsequent health checks in new contracts you are offered by ALTIA CENTRAL after that.

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Q24: Does ALTIA CENTRAL provide apartments?

A24: ALTIA CENTRAL does provide company sponsored housing in most of our contract locations, usually a furnished one-room apartment called LeoPalace. Apartments are usually ready to move into at the beginning of the contract, right after completing Orientation/Training. These apartments are not large to be sure, but they are clean, practical, generally less than 10 years old, and close to your working areas. Unlike some other employers, upfront costs such as key money & deposits are taken care of by ALTIA CENTRAL. ALTs simply need to pay their rent and a monthly management fee of 3,500 yen to handle a small portion of the overall upfront and administration costs incurred. Some ALTs either have their own apartments or choose to find them, but all upfront costs and paperwork will be up to you in this case.

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Q25: Can I change from a non-driving position to a driving position (or vice versa)?

A25: Since most public schools are in residential areas and most ALTs teach in at least 2 or 3 schools, many of our positions do require driving. When you interview with us we will of course ask your preferences and confirm whether you are legally able to drive in Japan. So yes, you can request a change or transfer in your 2nd contract if need be. Having a valid Japanese license (an International Driving Permit is only valid for the 1st year) is necessary and you would need to have this in hand before we could even consider you, but it is possible.

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Q26: Does ALTIA CENTRAL pro-rate salaries for summer and winter holidays?

A26: For our most common, full school year and full benefit contracts we do NOT pro-rate an ALT's salary during the summer and winter breaks, as most companies do. We continue to pay full salary, including during months such as August, for example, where there are usually very few if any school obligations at all. In this ultra-competitive industry however, most other companies continue to lower prices to the BOEs, thus lowering ALT salaries in multiple months as a result.  With some BOEs also reducing the number of working days throughout the year, we are under increasing pressure each year to find ways to balance things fairly and a small number of our contracts in select cities unfortunately do now have pro-rated August salaries.

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Q27: What kind of support would I get as an ALT with your company?

A27: We feel that supporting the ALT is one of the main strengths of our company.  For most ALTs (excluding places like Osaka and Nagoya city) we arrange for you to live in a company-sponsored LeoPalace type semi-furnished apartment and pay the upfront costs.  If your position requires a car we can supply that as well, and no, you do not have to lease the car like some other employers.  We sponsor your visa, give you super high-quality training before you begin, and hand you a whole heap of valuable teaching resources.  We communicate regularly with you, listen to you, answer your questions and visit you in school to offer ongoing and vital advice and classroom support. We take care of your taxes, arrange your schedules, and overall, we simply treat you professionally and respectfully. So, if that’s not enough to make you feel supported, well, please ask and we’ll see what we can do above and beyond all that.

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Q28: What is ALTIA CENTRAL’s company background?

A28: ALTIA CENTRAL, in its current form, is over 20 years old, but its history dates back about 25 years.  It originated as an English Conversation school and when the ALT industry started to pick up in the 1990s, an ALT division was created.  Eventually the ALT division became a separate company altogether and finally, that company became ALTIA CENTRAL, with a new President, Board of Directors and office in 1999.  And in 2017, ALTIA CENTRAL joined a much larger educational services organization known as Z-Kai and currently operates as an important part of that group. Since the beginning, our commitment to excellence, to giving back to the community, and to doing everything we can to ensure a great experience for every public-school student our ALTs teach, have been at the core of our values. Our president and senior division managers have mostly all been with the company for 15 or 20 years or more, and that longevity has created a strong sense of stability and continuity through thick and thin, in good times and bad.  We are committed to maintaining a strong, stable, positive company for both our head office employees and all our valued ALTs.

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Q29: What are the benefits of ALTIA CENTRAL over other companies?

A29: Well, that is a tricky question to be honest.  We would rather not compare ourselves to other ALT, eikaiwa, or dispatch companies.  We do what we say we do, we treat people as fairly and honestly as possible, and we enjoy a very good reputation amongst both ALTs and BOEs.  We have a very solid and effective training program, including follow up training and professional development events.  Our supervisors are very experienced, dedicated and spend most of their time communicating with their ALTs by visiting them in their schools to help and support.  Our original resources are top notch and new employees are almost always impressed by the volume and high quality.  Our ALTs enjoy working with us and appreciate the support and guidance that we give them, and a huge number of applicants each year are friends and former co-workers of our current ALTs who have been recommended to ALTIA CENTRAL.  So, the benefit of working at our company is that rather than working “for” a company, you work “with” us here at ALTIA CENTRAL.

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Q30: Is there any chance to progress within the company?

A30: All recruiters, supervisors, trainers and lead teachers working with ALTIA CENTRAL in our head offices have previously been standout ALTs with us and have moved up from within the company. ALTIA CENTRAL always places great emphasis on training, support and professional development of our ALTs because we would like to utilize the wide skill set of our great ALT base (e.g. for certain projects, talks, camps, professional events and teacher-trainings etc. as we have done in the past). That being said, the opening of managerial positions within the office are too far and few to be used as direct encouragement when interviewing and hiring new ALTs. Once you are in the company, excel in your role and are noticed for your above-and-beyond abilities and talents, there will surely be head office openings in the future for you to consider. For starters though, we hire capable people to be ALTs and expect you to do a great job in your assigned schools

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Q31: Do you have any social media webpages?

A31: Yes, we do. We currently make use of several forms of social media to highlight what the company and particularly the recruiting department is involved in. We currently have the following webpages up and running:

YouTube: ALTIA CENTRAL Youtube Channel

Twitter: @AC_Recruiting

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/altia-central

Instagram: @altiacentral

We also periodically post blogs about ALT work and the regions of Japan we operate in on GaijinPot Blogs.

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