Working in Japan

How To Get a Childcare License In Japan… Even If You Are a Foreigner

Can you get a childcare licence in Japan as a foreigner, without speaking perfect Japanese?

Why would you want to get a childcare license (子育こそだ支援員しえんいん – Kosodate Shien-In) in Japan when you can get a teaching job in English without one?

There are a lot of great reasons, and whether you want respect in your chosen profession or just to get paid more, the childcare license can make a BIG difference for you and those in your care.

Every Ninka Hoikuen NEEDS someone with a childcare license

In order to qualify for government assistance (aka “free money”) every Ninka Hoikuen (registered childcare provider) needs to have at least one person with a Hoikushi (保育士) license on their staff. Depending on the number of children, these facilities may be required to have more than one licensed childcare professional whereas the other professionals can be either a Hoikushi or a Kosodate Shien-In (which is like a Hoikushi-Lite).   The Kosodate Shien-In is not an “assistant” to the Hoikushi; it is just that the level of training is not enough to allow the person to be the Sole or Head Certified/Licensed Childcare professional.

Anyway, this is a requirement for the school or childcare facility to receive this money; therefore, anyone with this license keeping the school in compliance, willing have increased job security and earning potential. Other benefits include:

  • Personal development and improved skills (more rewarding work)
  • Learn how to improve your effectiveness with students and children in your care
  • Better image of competence and professionalism for yourself and your school
  • Schools can even cover the cost in obtaining a license with welfare expenses

But what if you aren’t fluent in Japanese?

There are lots of foreigners already working in childcare without licenses and thinking that they can’t get one without being native-fluent in Japanese. That’s why OBP Academy is supporting foreign teachers and staff to get a childcare license. The license is not only very useful for your work but something that clears the hurdles of most foreign workers in Japan such as:

  • Have limited Japanese
  • Are working full-time
  • No visa issues for foreigners to obtain the license
  • No validity period (doesn’t expire)

So how does OBP Academy support foreigners getting their childcare license?

Well, first they can provide the full application procedure and guideline in English, so you can understand all the steps needed. They can also help to secure a spot for the 2-day observation training at a Ninka Hoikuen (This would prioritize your seat for the Childcare License Course). The OBP Academy course would cover:

  • 2 Online sessions
  • On-demand class (Lasts for 2 months)
  • Textbook with English translation (Covers the content for the Childcare License Course)
  • English Translation booklet of Infant and Child Care Principles and Guidelines (Hoiku Jo Hoikushi Shisin)
  • Kanji workbook (Covers the often-shown Kanji in the Kosodate Shien-In Course and ECEC settings)

Hoikushi vs Kosodate Shien-In

Both terms,  the Kosodate Shien-In (子育て支援員) and Hoikushi (保育士) have similar translations into English. I like to refer to the former as Hoikushi-Lite as getting this license is much easier and takes far less time.  OBP helps prepare foreigners to obtain either/both of these licenses; however, the the Hoikushi license usually takes years of study, higher level of Japanese and will need the holder to have either permanent residency (similar status) or citizenship in order to actually work as a Hoikushi.

Where can I learn more about this Childcare License course?

TAIP and OBP Academy recorded this incredibly useful seminar on the topic, which you can watch here:

Please fill out the form below to learn more about this certification.

    Peter Lackner is the Managing Partner at and has had management-level positions at major job boards in Japan including:, GaijinPot, CareerEngine and currently the managing partner at

    Running a job board gives Peter the opportunity to speak with employers and job seekers every day and find out why some are successful and others are not. Speaking to both employers and job seekers has given Peter the ability to be able to see both sides of the hiring process. This is why exists - to help job seekers find the jobs they want and employers to find the candidates they need.

    Peter is active in the ETJ (English Teachers in Japan organization), a member of JALT’s School Owners SIG and currently on the Executive Board of the Tokyo Association of International Preschools.

    You can often find Peter speaking to groups on how to get a new or better job, and to employers on how to avoid making a bad hire.

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