BRINGING J-1 TEACHERS AND U.S. SCHOOLS TOGETHER - TEACH IN THE USA
TEACH IN THE USA
The prospect of teaching in the United States is a dream come true for many teachers out there. It is not only an opportunity to be part of the best-funded education system out there, but it is a great way to intimately become familiar with a foreign culture and people.
It doesn't have to remain just a dream either. The US provides ample opportunities for foreign teachers to come to the US through an exchange program. If this sounds exciting to you, read on and we'll tell you everything you need to know.
HOW TO BECOME A TEACHER IN AMERICA
The United States offers an extensive Exchange Visitor Visa (J-1) program that allows foreigners to temporarily reside in the United States for a variety of reasons. The program includes students, au pairs, physicians, and of course, teachers. Making use of this program is an excellent way to teach in America.
BENEFITS OF TEACHING IN THE UNITED STATES FOR INTERNATIONAL TEACHERS
Teaching in the United States is an excellent opportunity that provides many benefits that we'll explore in this section:
Exhilarating and new life experiences: working in a new country is always an exhilarating experience, especially when you're a teacher meeting new students and their parents. The US teacher exchange program offers unique experiences few other jobs do.
Valuable work experience: 'teaching experience in the US' is one of the best things you can put on your resume as a teacher. It shows you have experience teaching in a foreign environment meeting high standards. It'll open up entirely new avenues for you.
Excellent working conditions: income levels in the United States are one of the highest in the world, and this is especially true for teachers (and international teachers in particular). If you are teaching a foreign language or have unique teaching experience, you'll be compensated very well in the US.
RESPONSIBILITIES WHEN TEACHING IN THE US
All of these benefits don't come without any responsibilities, however. the responsibilities of teaching in the United States under the exchange program doesn't differ much from regular teaching jobs in most countries. Despite that, when deciding to take on teaching jobs in the United States, it is important to keep responsibilities in mind:
The program only applies to full-time teaching positions.
If you want to teach at the pre-kindergarten (PreK) level, you can only teach language immersion.
Each year, the teacher is required to complete 'a cultural activity component'. These include either activities that familiarize the school with the teacher's home country or activities that facilitate communication between students in the United States with students/teachers in other countries.
Of course, these are not your only responsibilities. Host schools and the state you move to both have their own list of responsibilities and requirements. You must read both carefully if you want to be a J1 teacher in the US.
TEACHING JOBS IN THE US
The easiest way to find a teaching job in the US is looking through the job postings here on j1teachers.com. Once you have found a job that you like and you are accepted by the host school, HTP J-1 Visa Programs will issue paperwork for the J-1 visa. When you apply for a J-1 visa, you have to understand that there are three key institutions involved in your teaching job:
DESIGNATED SPONSOR ORGANIZATION
As a 'Designated Sponsor Organizations ‘, HTP is responsible for the necessary background checks to ensure you're suitable for a teaching job in the US. HTP checks your documents, qualifications, proficiency in the English language, monitors you in the US to ensure you perform your cultural activities, confirms the duration of your stay in the US, and much more.
The Designated Sponsor Organization isn't an establishment where you can teach and get a job, however. They only help you with the exchange program's process. You'll work in a host school. The host school will determine your teaching responsibilities, the terms of your employment, and monitor your performance as a teacher.
You can either independently find a host school that will sponsor you or find a suitable host school here on j1teachers.com. Regardless of how you choose your host school, you should realize this will be the most influential decision that will impact your entire stay in the United States. So, you always need to make adequate research and be really careful before you make your final choice.
UNITED STATES STATE DEPARTMENT
the United States State Department has exclusive authority over issuing nonimmigrant and immigrant visas to foreign citizens. If you want to get a J-1 visa to teach in the USA, you have to get the approval of the State Department. The process is a bit lengthy and complicated, but as a Designated Sponsor Organization, HTP will help you adequately prepare all the necessary paperwork. They'll help you schedule an interview with your nearest consulate/embassy to get a J-1 visa.
As we've broadly touched on before, a J-1 visa is what you need if you want to work as an exchange teacher in the United States. This visa will give you the right to temporarily reside and work in a specific host school in the United States. In this section, we'll go over everything you need to know about this type of visas.
Qualifications for a J-1 visa isn't easy, but if you fulfil all of them, you should have a decent chance of being accepted:
You're a non-US citizen who is older than 18.
You have some proficiency in both spoken and written English.
you're either employed as a teacher in your home country at the moment of the application or you've completed a higher education course in the past 12 months.
A minimum of 2 years of experience as a lead teacher in an educational establishment in the past 8 years is a hard requirement.
The host school also has its own requirements, and you have to satisfy all of those before being eligible for the program as well.
You must not use the program as a means to apply for other types of employment or permanent residency.
You have to supply three reference letters from your previous employers, colleagues, etc. that you are of good character, reputation, and teaching skills.
Certificate of Eligibility (Form DS‐2019) Document
Designated Sponsor Organizations are the only authority that can issue this document. This document has data about the length of the program you're participating in, its location, and much more. This document is necessary for your J1 visa application.
Expenses and Fees
Before you make the final decision, it is important to learn all the fees involved. The fees are minimal for the most part, but they should make be part of your decision making.
Service fees of the Designated Sponsor Organization and any third-party organization you might contact.
Visa application fees stand at around 160 dollars right now and are subject to change.
Travel expenses to and from the US in case of any emergency. This cost varies greatly depending on your area of origin.
Enough money to cover your initial stay before receiving your first salary from your host school.
Fees for the translation of your documents into English by an accredited translator.
Cost of various insurances you'll need.
It always pays to bring more money than you think you need in case of some miscalculation or emergency.
Frequently Asked Questions
ABOUT TEACHER EXCHANGE PROGRAMS, USA
What Questions are Asked in the Embassy/Consulate Interview to Obtain a J1 Visa for Teachers?
When applying for an interview for a teacher exchange program, the interview typically focuses on questions about your experience as a teacher. Questions like 'what do you teach? How is your host school? Why do you want to obtain a teacher visa and teach in the United States?' are quite common.
Another type of question they'll ask you is about ensuring that you're genuine about planning to teach there and you don't want to abuse the J-1 visa. To this end, they'll ask questions like what are your travel plans to the US? What are your plans for the future? How have you planned your budget? etc.
Can I Get a J1 Visa for a Second Time?
Typically, J1 visas for teachers are given out for periods less than 3 years, but your host school can apply for a two-year extension. After this, you have to go back to your home country and you can't reapply immediately. After spending two years in your home country, you can reapply again for a J1 visa.
Is a J1 Visa Hard to Obtain?
This largely depends on the quality of the application, your experience as a teacher, the host school you decide on, and your host country.