The J-1 Teacher Program is a non-immigrant cultural exchange, which gives foreign teachers the opportunity to teach in accredited primary and secondary schools in the United States. Teachers may work in a U.S. school for up to 3 years, with the possibility of a 1 or 2 year extension.
The J-1 Teacher Program includes a cultural component which gives teachers the opportunity to engage more broadly with Americans and to share their own cultures with their U.S. hosting communities. At the end of the program, teachers return home with new classroom and pedagogic skills to share with their home communities and schools.
Teaching Position Requirements
Host School Responsibilities
Program Duration / Extensions
○ Exchange teachers must be placed in full-time ( 32 hours/week ) teaching positions in K-12 classrooms only, including prekindergarten language immersion programs offered as regular courses of study by accredited primary schools.
○ Positions must be temporary, even if the teaching positions are permanent, and may not lead to tenure.
○ Teaching positions, including duties, responsibilities, hours of employment, and compensation, must be commensurate with those of similarly situated U.S teachers in the school district or host school where that exchange teacher is assigned to teach.
○ Exchange teachers, unless on a program where the Department is the sponsor, must be employed by and under the direct supervision and guidance of his or her host school and, where applicable, host school district.
○ The J-1 Teacher Exchange Program must not be used as a substitute for ordinary employment or work purposes, nor may it be used to displace American workers.
○ Exchange teachers must comply with any applicable collective bargaining agreement.
Host Schools must agree to:
○ Abide by the Department of State regulations governing the program.
○ Place exchange teachers in the position listed on the teacher's DS-2019 form, unless approved by sponsor.
○ Provide teachers with at least the number of hours of paid employment annually as identified on their written job offer, and pay teachers eligible for overtime in accordance with applicable state or federal law.
○ Provide sufficient classroom space, equipment, and guidance to help ensure the teacher's success.
○ Program Duration: Program duration is three years, with an extension permitted for one or two additional years based on school need and exchange teacher performance during the exchange.
○ Program Dates: Per new regulations, program dates must coincide with the U.S academic year cycle to ensure a smooth transition as exchange teachers arrive and depart. Per sponsor policy, starting during the 2016/17 academic year, all teacher programs will end on June 30th of the final year unless an extension or renewal has been processed and approved.
○ Extension Application: Participants must submit extension application to sponsor no later than four months prior to the beginning of the desired extension period. A letter of reference from the Host School supervisor is required.
○ Returning Home: The purpose and intent of all J-1 programs is for participants to return to their home country after their program to share their experiences and increased knowledge of the U.S. As such, the Host School shall not encourage nor assist the exchange visitor participant to stay in the United States beyond his/her program end date, which is the end date shown to the DS-2019 document. Host Schools shall not assist in any way to help a participant change visa categories.
○ Repeat Participation: Upon completion of program, an exchange teacher is not eligible for repeat participation unless he/she has resided outside the United States for at least two years following the completion of his/her most recent teacher exchange program.