Altia Central Reviews

Updated March 9, 2015
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  1. 2 people found this helpful

    Great company

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Assistant Language Teacher
    Former Employee - Assistant Language Teacher

    I worked at Altia Central full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Incredibly supportive - doctor's appointments can be arranged easily (which for Japan is not always easy). My supervisor called to check on my regularly, and when I was having a difficult time was genuinely interested in helping me get back on my feet. Professional development is taken seriously and the company tried its best to keep me comfortable. Pay and reimbursements are on time - each position is different, but I had 12 full months of pay, no deductions at all for summer, winter, or spring holidays, plus a small annual bonus. Great proprietary materials, and a management who care about teaching English, not about simply scoring big contracts. 10 weeks fully paid holiday a year and an honest, supportive company - I could not have asked for more. Oh, and they leased me a car to get to work for cheap!

    Cons

    Nothing that isn't typical of the industry (e.g. at any ALT company salary will not go up, promotions are few and far between, time off during the school year is nearly impossible).

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Altia has great supervisors and staff. Keep giving them the support they need to support the ALTs and I am positive your contracts and areas will keep expanding.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  2. Good Company

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - ALT
    Former Employee - ALT

    I worked at Altia Central full-time (less than a year)

    Pros

    They were very organized in terms of finding housing, meeting me at Tokyo airport, and getting a hotel for several days before moving to my town. Very good support overall throughout my time in Japan.

    Cons

    Not too much I can think of.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  3. 1 person found this helpful

    A Sleek Corporation Making a Profit on Education and their Pawns

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - ALT in Ōgaki (Japan)
    Former Employee - ALT in Ōgaki (Japan)

    I worked at Altia Central

    Pros

    It is the least evil corporation which contracts people to work in Japanese schools. They do have excellent resources and generally the upper level foreign staff are old-timers in Japan, understanding the situation and work market. The business side runs efficiently. The company generally takes good care of gaijin who have families. They are very good at deception; "Today's Impression - Tomorrow's Dream".

    Cons

    "Choosing the lesser of two evils is still choosing evil," Jerry Garcia. As a corporation for profit, they will cut corners to screw you over, especially if you are single or they feel they can trick you into accepting inferior benefits for exhaustive work. They run out of an office the size of a closet, but present the image of being a major corporation, like Bob's Burgers pretending to be McDonalds. The Japanese upper-staff are generally cold and heartless and are quick at giving their foreign employees the evil eye. They also make underhanded dealings with local governments to screw people out of their lawful right to apply directly to a local government (direct hire), why? Well if you make 25k a year, it is likely that Altia Central is getting paid 50k by the government for your position. There are benefits to the government and Altia central by keeping you in your place: a dead-end job instead of a career in education.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Be transparent. Cut out the bull. Stop building upon your corporate mantra on impression, because once someone sees through the mask, it's remarkably ugly. Stop working with shady politicians to limit the professional freedom of the individuals you employ. Stop being greedy. Be the leader of an educational and political reform. Be strong. Be brave. Stick up for the rights of foreigners in Japan, rather than undermining them. Support professional growth by fostering them to become independent of corporate middlemen.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
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  5. 2 people found this helpful

    A Good First Experience

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Assistant Language Teacher
    Current Employee - Assistant Language Teacher

    I have been working at Altia Central full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    The people at Altia definitely know what they're doing. Training was thorough (almost too much so), and the amount of materials and support given was surprising to me. I thought I'd be coming to Japan and thrown into a classroom with little more than a "Good luck!" Training gave me some ideas of what to expect--even if all of my expectations didn't come to fruition once I was at my actual schools (more on that below).

    I'd say the best pro of Altia is the community sort of feel you have with your co-workers and supervisors. The supervisors I've interacted with are always helpful and nice, and always willing to do what they can to smooth over any sort of situation that arises. Training, in my case, was a large group of people of similar backgrounds. We all bonded well and those of us who remained made a nice little niche for ourselves. People move on or go home, but even still making the contacts is always nice.

    The pay isn't amazing, but it's enough to live on and save if you use your money wisely each month. I was provided with a company car and apartment (though I've since moved into my own apartment). The process and support with that--including getting a license here--was great. I'd say that Altia genuinely cares about its employees and the schools it has contracts with--though, sometimes, the schools come before the employees.

    A generous amount of time off over winter, spring, and summer vacations.

    Cons

    This largely depends on the school, but your schools can be boring and completely opposite of what you expect. As I said above, training is great in that it gets you fired up and excited to make a difference. If you're going to junior high, you'll quickly find that you aren't as much of a "teacher" as you are a "reader" or, as the term goes, "tape recorder". Again, it depends on the school, but from stories I've heard, schools can either really welcome and value their ALTs, or not care about them so much. The ALT position requires a lot of flexibility and patience. If you are expecting to be this life-changing, game-changing, Japan-changing teacher--think again. That's not what you'll be, and that's not what the schools want you to be.

    No yearly bonuses or pay increases. Somewhat strict/overbearing on taking personal days. There's a lot of pressure to report everything you do to Altia; to not speak directly to the teachers about problems, but to report them to Altia for Altia to figure it out. While I understand their reasoning, especially for ALTs who aren't strong in Japanese, I also think putting Altia (who, as an entity, isn't there in the teacher's room, and doesn't have a personality or know the personalities of other teachers) as a middle man only complicates things more than they need to be complicated in certain situations.

    There's also a lot of "The schools don't like this, so don't do it!" talks and warnings, when in my experience the schools really don't care.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Talking level rather than down helps build trust and respect all around. Give employees/trainees a better idea of what to expect at some schools--down time, crazy teachers, problem kids, etc.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  6. 1 person found this helpful

    Not bad, probably the best ALT job in Japan

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Native English Teacher in Hatsukaichi (Japan)
    Former Employee - Native English Teacher in Hatsukaichi (Japan)

    I worked at Altia Central full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    I enjoyed the environment and felt connected with my supervisor. I like teaching, and didn't find the workload too heavy.

    Cons

    The occasional weekend training summits were useless, and the pay was low. Benefits were nonexistant and I wasn't offered any kind of raise for my second year. Enjoy being treated like the lowest of the low, but that comes with most ALT positions.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Need more incentives and benefits to stay with the company.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  7. 2 people found this helpful

    Great ALT company for those new to Japan, with dodgy policies that hurt long-term prospects

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - ALT in Gifu-shi (Japan)
    Current Employee - ALT in Gifu-shi (Japan)

    I have been working at Altia Central full-time (less than a year)

    Pros

    There's a great training structure in place. There's some pretty in-depth teaching of how to actually be an ALT, which other competing companies and programmes lack dearly.

    Holidays are in line with the school year (Summer/Winter/Spring breaks), so there's plenty of time off throughout the year.

    Management generally stays out of your way and lets you do your job. I get the impression there's a level if ignorance that happens - the company is required to do certain things to say they've done them, then those policies are ignored in favour of what the individual Boards of Education or Schools want.

    Paid travel expenses.

    Cons

    The company treats employees like children, and after a while it's a painful experience. A lot of ALTs are not allowed to drive simply because they are foreigners, despite this being completely illegal.

    Holidays are fixed to the school year. In reality this isn't something that should be complained about in a School/Educational setting, but it's worth noting.

    There's an odd discrepancy between what the schools/BOEs think the ALT is paid and what the ALTs are actually paid. You're expected to work to the standard of a much higher salary than you are actually paid.

    Communication is appallingly sparse. Information is given with a monthly irrelevant newsletter that provides no real information other than basic common sense, and paperwork is often neglected. Important documents are often not followed up upon, and the administration doesn't seem to understand basic tax legislation - or, worse, is taking advantage of those not in the know.

    There's zero career opportunity. The contract is non-negotiable, and I feel if I was to try and negotiate it I'd lose the job.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Fix the underhand practices to avoid legal battles. I've consulted with lawyers and labour standards with advice to take things further, but it's realistically not worth it for such a low salary.

    You, as a company, do have a fantastic training program and provide a good opportunity to young newcomers to Japan but it's executed wrongly. Increase the pay, increase the quality of ALT and you could make a difference - as it stands, you offer a marginal allowance and expect the world's best teachers, with absolutely zero career prospects or ability to talk things further.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
  8. 2 people found this helpful

    Offering great support for aspiring language teachers.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Assistant Language Teacher
    Current Employee - Assistant Language Teacher

    I have been working at Altia Central full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    +Give you ample training and support
    +Raises based on longevity and merit
    +Allowed the freedom to teach how you wish

    Cons

    -Teaching salary caps out fairly low

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Try to do more to support those in unfortunate/dangerous school placings.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  9. 2 people found this helpful

    One of the better ALT companies in Japan.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Assistant Language Teacher in Kōnan (Japan)
    Former Employee - Assistant Language Teacher in Kōnan (Japan)

    I worked at Altia Central full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Reasonable starting salary compared to other ALT companies
    Transportation support in the form of company car usage
    Teaching support is good with lots of in house teaching materials

    Cons

    Recently decreasing compensation for long term teachers
    Inelgible for bonus payment in the case of early retirement before contract ends
    Placement in major cities doesn't come with a higher salary despite higher cost of living

  10. 3 people found this helpful

    One of the best companies in a dodgy job field

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Altia Central full-time

    Pros

    -Pay on time
    -Paperwork is processed promptly
    -Nice in-house resources for lessons
    -Easy job
    -Long holidays
    -If you lower your expectations and accept the McJob nature of ALT work, this is not a horrible way to make a living.

    Cons

    -Supervisers will often ignore emails with awkward questions. I worked at a junior high school and we had an outbreak of violence among the kids. I contacted my superviser to inform her and got zero reply. You're on your own.
    -The Japanese teachers are always right and the foreigner is always wrong. AC is a business and they want to keep clients happy. ALTs are a dime a dozen and...

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Hard to say, as these ALT companies are simply responding to the school boards' decisions to cut corners left and right and investment in foreign language teachers is a good example.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  11. 1 person found this helpful

    Straightforward, no messing employees around

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - ALT in Nagoya, Aichi (Japan)
    Current Employee - ALT in Nagoya, Aichi (Japan)

    I have been working at Altia Central full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Great pay for Nagoya school year.
    Great vacation time.
    Nice supervisors.
    Fun work.

    Cons

    Low responsibility, high boredom.
    No promotions or salary increases.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

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