Upgrading a Special Teaching License

2018-04-22

I got a Special Teaching License (特別免許状) several years ago. This license allows me to do solo teaching and be a homeroom teacher in public and private schools (JHS & SHS) in Tokyo. The Special Teaching License is valid for ten years and can be renewed, but it can only be used in the prefecture where it was obtained. However, it's possible to upgrade from a Special Teaching License to a Regular Teaching License (普通免許状), which can be used anywhere in Japan. There are three classes of the Regular Teaching License: Second Class (二種免許状), First Class (一種免許状), and Specialist (専修免許状). The upgrade procedure goes to the highest rank, Specialist. I haven't done the upgrade, but here are some notes based on information from national education regulations and the Ehime Board of Education.

普通免許状への上進(免許法別表第3)
小学校、中学校、高等学校教諭の特別免許状を有する教員が、免許状取得後、現有免許状に相当する学校の教員として3年以上良好な成績で勤務し、かつ、大学等において所定の単位を修得すれば、普通免許状を取得することができる。

Teachers currently holding a Special Teaching License who have taught using it for three or more years and have enough university credits in certain areas qualify for the upgrade.

教育職員免許法施行規則 第十一条の二
特別免許状を有する者で免許法別表第三の規定により普通免許状の授与を受ける場合の単位の修得方法は、次の表の定めるところによる。

Required university coursework is specified in the table below.

第一欄第二欄
受けようとする免許状の種類教職に関する科目教科又は教職に関する科目
中学校教諭専修免許状一〇一五
高等学校教諭専修免許状一〇一五

For both JHS and SHS, ten credits related to education are needed, and fifteen credits related to either education or the target subject (i.e., English for English teachers) are needed. In Japan, a university class that meets once a week for 90 minutes for one semester is worth 1 credit (単位).

備考
  1. 第二欄に掲げる教科又は教職に関する科目の単位の修得方法は、第六条の二第一項に定める修得方法の例にならうものとする。ただし、教科又は教職に関する科目の単位のうち三単位までは、第六条第一項の表に規定する教職に関する科目に準ずる科目の単位をもつて、これに替えることができる。
  2. 中学校教諭又は高等学校教諭の専修免許状の授与を受ける場合の教職に関する科目の単位の修得方法は、第六条第一項の表に規定する教育の基礎理論に関する科目六単位以上並びに生徒指導、教育相談及び進路指導等に関する科目四単位以上を修得するものとする。
  1. The types of required coursework is described in Article 6.2.1. However, up to three credits related to education or the target subject may be replaced with similar courses listed in the table of Article 6.1.
  2. For junior and senior high school licenses, at least six credits must be fundamental education (教育の基礎理論) coursework, and at least four credits must be in student guidance/education consultation/career guidance (生徒指導、教育相談及び進路指導等) coursework.

Unfortunately, according to the Tokyo Metropolitan Board of Education, the college coursework has to be completed at a Japanese university after you receive the Special Teaching License. In other words, old college courses don't count, and neither does international distance learning. It seems to me that working full time while trying to complete fifteen credits at a Japanese university would be an awful lot of work, but if you have advanced Japanese skills and are working part-time, then it might make sense.