Do I qualify to teach if I teach at a university or a language institute?
Since we recruit teachers to teach in schools from kindergarten through grade 12, hiring schools are looking for teachers with experience teaching in these settings. At the time of your application, you should be employed by a regular private or regular public school.
Do I qualify if I never graduated from university? / Can I teach without qualifications?
You need a university teaching degree in order to qualify for a teaching license in the U.S. Unfortunately, you cannot teach with Participate Learning in a U.S. school without one.
I have a university degree in an area other than education and have been teaching for many years. Do I qualify to teach with Participate Learning?
In order to be able to teach in a public school in the U.S., you need to have a teaching license which requires a university degree in education. Therefore, you need to have a university degree in education to be eligible to participate in our program.
Do I qualify to teach with Participate Learning if I am a U.S. citizen/resident or am planning on marrying a U.S. citizen?
We sponsor J visas for program participants and their families. Only candidates who are not U.S. residents or candidates who are not looking to relocate permanently to the U.S. are eligible to be sponsored.
Do I qualify to teach with Participate Learning if I don't have a driver's license?
We ask that you have a driver’s license and at least a year of solid driving experience at the time of travel.
Access to public transportation is not widespread in most of the U.S., and you will need to buy a car upon arrival in the U.S. and be able to drive. For your safety and the safety of others, you should not only have a driver’s license, but also know how to drive well. If you do not have a driver’s license or know how to drive well, we recommend that you wait until you meet this requirement before applying.
I do not yet meet the minimum application requirements, but will be qualified in the near future. What do I do?
The list of degrees below represents the most common teaching credentials we accept by country.
Not all recruitment countries are listed here.
Check our recruitment country list to find out if we accept applications from your country.
Argentina: Profesor de Educación (obtained through at least a four-year program).
Barbados: Bachelor’s or Master’s degree including teacher training.
Belize: Certificate in Teaching and Bachelors degree or Bachelors degree including teacher training.
Canada: Bachelor’s or Master’s degree including teacher training.
Chile: Profesor and Licenciado en la Educación.
China: Bachelor’s or Master’s degree including teacher training.
Colombia: Licenciado or Especialista en la Enseñanza.
Costa Rica: Bachillerato or Licenciatura en la Enseñanza.
Ecuador: Licenciatura en Educación or Profesorado.
Estonia: Bakalaureuskraad (Bachelor’s degree) including teacher training.
El Salvador: Licenciatura en Educación or Profesorado (obtained through at least a four-year program).
France: Equivalency of a U.S. Bachelor’s or Master’s degree including teacher training.
Guadaloupe (France): Equivalency of a U.S. Bachelor’s or Master’s degree including teacher training.
Guatemala: Licenciatura en Educación or Profesorado (obtained through at least a four-year program).
Guyana: Bachelor’s or Master’s degree including teacher training.
Honduras: Profesor en Educación con el Grado de Licenciatura.
Ireland: Bachelor of Education or a combination of a Bachelor’s degree with a Postgraduate Certificate or Degree in Primary Education (PGCE or PGDE).
Jamaica: Diploma in Teaching followed by a Bachelor’s degree including teacher training or four-year Bachelor’s degree including teacher training.
Kenya: Bachelor of Education, Bachelor’s degree including teacher training or Master’s degree in Education.
Mexico: Licenciatura or Bachillerato en la Enseñanza from a university or Escuela Normal Superior.
Panama: Licenciatura en Educación, Licenciatura en Enseñanza, or Profesorado.
Peru: Profesor or Bachillerato en Educación or Licenciatura en Educación.
The Philippines: Bachelor of Elementary Education or Master in Elementary Education.
Poland: Dyplom ukończenia wyższych studiów zawodowych (including teacher training), Licencjat with teacher training, Dyplom Magister Sztuki (education), Dyplom Tytuł Magister (education) or Magister in Education.
Romania: Diploma de Licenta.
Spain: Magister, Maestro or Diplomado en Magisterio or Licenciatura followed by Certificado de Aptitud Pedagógica (CAP) or Master en Especialización Didáctica.
Slovenia: Universitetni diplomirani including teacher training or Profesor.
South Africa: Higher Diploma in Education, Bachelor of Education or 1-year PGCE following a degree.
Trinidad and Tobago: Diploma in Teaching followed by a Bachelor’s degree including teacher training or four-year Bachelor’s degree including teacher training.
United Kingdom: Bachelor of Education or a combination of a Bachelor’s degree with a Postgraduate Certificate or Degree in Primary Education (PGCE or PGDE).
Venezuela: Profesorado or Licenciado en la Educación.
Remember that not all recruitment countries are listed here. Check our recruitment country list to find out if we accept applications from your country. If your degree is not listed here, we may still be able to accept it. Feel free to contact us using the blue chat icon in the bottom righthand corner for more specific information or click the button below to start your application.
Do I qualify to teach with Participate Learning if I don't speak English very well?
Your English does not need to be perfect. However, you must be able to communicate effectively (written and orally) with your principal, staff, colleagues and your students’ parents.
We will evaluate your English proficiency throughout your application process and will let you know if your proficiency is at the level needed to succeed as an Ambassador Teacher.
I don't see my home country listed on the list of countries you recruit from.
We wish we could recruit from all countries in the world!
However, we are not able to due to several reasons, including teacher training compatibility with the U.S. licensure, budget constrictions (we cannot travel to every country) and types of positions available. Should this change in the future, we will update this list.
The list below includes all countries where we recruit teachers. If you are a citizen of one of the countries below, but currently live elsewhere, that is OK. If your country is not on the list below, then your application will not be accepted, unfortunately.
We will work with you throughout your application process to determine what position is best for you—we take into consideration your training, experience, your interviews and your preferences. Positions are available in different subjects, but not all subjects teachers are recruited in all countries. See bottom of this section for a list of subject positions available.
Trinidad and Tobago
We recruit teachers for positions in the following subjects:
Elementary education (primary education),
Dual Language Immersion (bilingual education in elementary, Spanish, Mandarin, French and German),
World Languages (Spanish, Mandarin, French, German),
For more information about our positions, go here.
Do I qualify to teach with Participate Learning if I teach special education, language arts (secondary), English (secondary), social studies (secondary), music, physical education or any other subject not listed in the positions list?
We used to recruit teachers for all teaching positions in the U.S. Presently, we only recruit teachers for elementary (primary), world language (Spanish, Mandarin, French), ESL and dual language immersion (bilingual primary) positions. Should this change in the future, we will update this page. For more information about the positions that we have available, visit our positions page.
Do I qualify to teach with Participate Learning if I teach math (secondary) or science (secondary)?
At this time, we do recruit math and science teachers for secondary positions from some countries. Go ahead and start your application to find out if you qualify.
Can my family come with me to the U.S. if I participate in the program?
Yes! Your spouse and children under 21 can come with you to the U.S. They will come with a J2 visa, as dependents to your J1 visa.
Your spouse can apply for work authorization once that person has arrived in the U.S. Processing times for work authorization is about 3 months.
The video below provides some insights about bringing your family to the U.S.
I have a domestic partner. Can they come on the J visa too?
We can only sponsor visas for your legal spouse. In order for your spouse to come with you to the U.S., you must be legally married.
I am in a same-sex relationship. Can my partner come on the J visa too?
Same-sex marriage is legal in the U.S., so we can sponsor visas for legally married same-sex couples. You need to have gotten married in a country where same-sex marriage is legal. Civil unions, unfortunately, do not apply here.
Where can I find information about the curriculum in U.S. schools?
Each state has its own curriculum. For more details, visit the Department of Education websites below.
The Participate Learning staff will determine what positions you will be considered for. We make this decision based on your training, experience, interviews and preferences.
Once we have made a decision, we will help you best prepare for this position. Some candidates are eligible for more than one type of placement and more than one level. We will strive to find you a position in which you have the best chance of succeeding and will benefit most.
Will I receive preparation before I begin teaching?
Participate Learning provides training sessions for all teachers joining our cultural exchange program. Online support is also available to eligible teachers who are awaiting teaching positions with Participate Learning. Our online support offers information on teaching in the U.S., as well as logistical details about the visa process, budgeting, transportation and preparing to relocate to the U.S.
Upon arrival, teachers will take part in an orientation hosted by Participate Learning, which includes additional preparation for working in a U.S. classroom and settling into a new community. Most U.S. school districts also host their own orientations for new teachers prior to the start of the school year.
Salary, Finance, and Benefits
Where can I find a summary of fees and costs for participating cultural exchange teachers?
Please visit this page for up-to-date information about costs and fees of participation.
Do I get paid the same amount as a U.S. teacher?
Yes! All salaries are determined based on the year you graduated from university and how many years of full-time teaching experience you have after graduation. Salary is non-negotiable. In the U.S., salary is quoted yearly, as opposed to monthly, and is quoted before taxes.
North Carolina uses one salary scale for all teachers, regardless of the school district they teach in. All teachers in N.C. are paid based on a Bachelor’s degree, and advanced degrees are not taken into consideration.
In South Carolina and Virginia, salary scales are decided by school districts. Advanced degree salaries are paid in these states. Cost of living is also typically higher in these states.
What health benefits do I get?
As your visa sponsors, we make sure you are covered by health insurance. This is why all of our teachers and their families must use the health insurance provided to you—you cannot choose to use any other insurance provider. Participate Learning subsidizes the cost for you every month, as we pay for part of your premium, and you pay the rest. Health insurance is paid for on a monthly basis, and our health insurance provider is United Healthcare.
We also offer you the option of purchasing dental insurance, which you will pay for separately. You will also receive free life insurance.
Do I need to buy a ticket to get to the U.S. for orientation?
Participate Learning will buy a one-way ticket for you after your visa is approved. You are responsible for any additional tickets you might use throughout your experience to visit home or any other travel.
If your family will travel to the U.S., you are responsible for paying for their tickets. All family members should travel at least 1-2 weeks after you.
Do I have to pay for housing and food?
Yes. You will pay for your own housing, food, and transportation.
Do I have to buy a car?
There is not easy access to public transportation where teachers are placed, meaning you will need to buy a car upon arrival in the U.S. and be able to drive. Typically, Ambassador Teachers pay a down payment for a car and continue to pay for the car while living in the U.S.
Will I need to open a bank account?
Participate Learning will open an account for you before you arrive. Most school districts will deposit your salary directly into your bank account.
Is there a fee for participating in the co-teacher program?
Participate Learning does not charge fees to applicants to any Participate Learning program. However, all teachers, including co-teachers, who secure a position to teach with Participate Learning, will be required to pay any applicable visa processing fees.
How does a co-teacher with Participate Learning differ from other dual language teachers?
Co-teachers with Participate Learning are fully qualified teachers who spend their first year with Participate Learning in a dual language classroom shared with a returning ambassador teacher. Co-teachers have the same responsibilities as other educators, but are encouraged to learn from their partner ambassador teacher and gain valuable experience teaching in a dual language classroom. A co-teacher with Participate Learning program lasts for one year, as co-teachers should lead their own classroom starting their second year with Participate Learning.
Will I have medical benefits in the co-teacher program?
Participate Learning offers a very competitive health benefits program for all program participants. Participate Learning program participants and any accompanying J-2 family members are required by the U.S. Department of State to have health insurance at certain minimum coverage levels. To meet this requirement, all teachers are enrolled in the same health benefits program through the entirety of their program participation. Participate Learning pays a large portion of the monthly premium cost—however, all teachers are also responsible for paying a portion of the monthly premium.
How is travel arranged for co-teachers?
Participate Learning provides all teachers, including co-teachers with airline tickets for transport from major airports in their home countries to the U.S. for orientation. Participate Learning arranges travel plans and emails itineraries prior to travel. Additional travel during holidays or visits, costs of travel for family, and return tickets at the end of the program are purchased at the teacher’s expense.
How is my visa sponsored for the co-teacher program?
Participate Learning is authorized by the U.S. Department of State to sponsor cultural exchange teachers in the U.S. for up to three years. Ambassador Teachers apply for a J visa, which is specifically designed for cultural exchange programs. A new visa is not required to continue to a new position after successful completion of the co-teaching year unless otherwise required by the country issuing the visa.
What kind of support will I receive throughout the school year in the co-teacher program?
Participate Learning is committed to providing supportive, comprehensive experiences for all co-teachers. This includes participating in Participate Learning’s online professional development, as well as instructional support provided to all dual language program teachers. Participants completing online professional development modules will earn digital badges that can be shared on resumes and via social media, and are stored for endorsement and certification. Additionally, Participate Learning staff are available by phone and email for questions and make school visits throughout the year.
What are the requirements for the co-teacher program?
Co-teachers must be native speakers of the target language, Spanish or Mandarin, and have at least intermediate levels of written and verbal proficiency in English. You must have completed a degree equivalent to a U.S. Bachelor’s degree, which includes teacher preparation programs. Like all Ambassador Teachers, co-teachers must have valid driver’s licenses before arrival in the U.S. and cannot be citizens or permanent residents of the United States.
What are the benefits of the co-teacher program?
Co-teachers have the opportunity to learn more about teaching in a U.S. dual language classroom by sharing teaching responsibilities with another, experienced Participate Learning dual language teacher. Like all other Ambassador Teachers, co-teachers receive full-time teacher salaries, health insurance benefits, visa sponsorship, and ongoing dual language and cultural exchange program support throughout participation in the program.
Visa Sponsorship and Length of Stay
How will I be sponsored to teach in the U.S.?
Participate Learning is officially designated by the U.S. Department of State as an Exchange Program Sponsor. As such, Participate Learning is authorized to sponsor cultural exchange teachers in the U.S. for the maximum time allowed by the U.S. Department of State. Ambassador teachers apply for J-1 visas, which are specifically designed for cultural exchange programs. These visas are available only to non-U.S. citizens and those who are not permanent residents of the U.S.
The initial J-1 Exchange Visitor visa used by Ambassador Teachers is valid for up to three years. During the third year, teachers who remain in good standing may be eligible to apply for a two-year extension, for a total of five years. At the end of the program, Ambassador Teachers are expected to return to their home countries to share their experiences and fulfill the cultural exchange.
Teachers and schools renew contracts with mutual consent at the end of each year of employment for a maximum of five years. Schools typically have the expectation that teachers will remain for the maximum length of time allowed under the J-1 visa.
How long can I teach with Participate Learning?
Participate Learning ‘s multi-year cultural exchange program is designed to provide teachers with significant international experience and professional development. Our teachers average around four years in the U.S. with Participate Learning sponsorship.
Participate Learning encourages teachers to plan to participate for as many years as possible. Minimum availability is two years and maximum length of stay allowed by the J-1 visa is five years. It has been our experience that both teachers and school districts report the greatest satisfaction with the exchange experience in the teacher’s second and third years, once the teacher has successfully completed his or her first year and adjusted to the new classroom and community.
How long must I be available to live in the U.S. to participate?
Applicants should plan to live in the U.S. for at least two school years. Prospective applicants who are not committed to teaching in the U.S. for at least two years, or who have work or personal obligations that would prevent them from doing so, should not apply to teach with Participate Learning.
Why does Participate Learning require a minimum commitment of two school years for participation?
Ambassador Teachers work in full-time teaching positions where they serve as teachers of record at U.S. public or private schools. Unlike other exchange programs where teachers “swap” positions with U.S. counterparts or enter into job-sharing or teaching assistant programs, Ambassador Teachers take on the expectations and responsibilities for students like any newly hired teachers.
Settling into life in the U.S. and new school positions requires significant commitment and time from international teachers, as well as school administrations. The length of adjustment periods vary depending on the similarities and differences teachers encounter—it requires time to learn, adapt and, most importantly, build trust with new students and colleagues. Again, both teachers and school districts report greatest satisfaction with exchange experiences during a teacher’s second and subsequent years, once the teacher has successfully completed his or her first year and adjusted to the new classroom and community.
Participate Learning partner schools are aware of the adjustment period for teachers in their first year, and recognize that frequent turnover in teaching staff can hamper student progress. Therefore, they are unwilling to host teachers for only one year and expect teachers to remain in their positions, if possible, for the full extent of the J-1 visa program. Accordingly, Participate Learning has set two school years as a minimum commitment for program participation.
Will I be guaranteed employment for at least two years?
Your continued employment as an exchange teacher is largely your responsibility and will be dependent upon your ability to teach successfully in the classroom in accordance with the requirements of your teaching position at the host school district and / or as assessed by Participate Learning personnel. While we cannot guarantee employment for a specific period, we will work hard to provide you support and the opportunity to adjust quickly to your new community and succeed in the classroom.
The terms of program participation, including departures prior to full completion of program participation due to resignations, terminations, contract non-renewals or other extenuating circumstances, are addressed in more detail in the Participate Learning Educator Agreement that is provided to all participants before beginning the program.
How long does it take to adjust to life as a teacher in the U.S.?
Most Ambassador Teachers refer to their first year as “challenging,” due to the number of changes they encounter. This includes a new country and culture, a new school system, new colleagues, a new home, new food, new friends and more. Cultural adaptation requires a significant adjustment period as one moves through the various phases. Typically, it takes at least six months to arrive at the final phase where one begins to adapt to the new culture and fit in.
While the first year is primarily one of learning, adjustment and personal challenge, the second year begins to offer true program benefits as teachers settle in and begin to make significant contributions. This is also the year in which personal growth truly starts to occur. Teachers begin to feel they have accomplished something of significance, and gain more confidence and new perspectives on the nature of teaching itself. Participate Learning staff provide support throughout the experience, and teachers also have access to professional events with other Ambassador Teachers and staff.
COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement
Am I required to get the COVID-19 vaccine?
Yes, Participate Learning requires all incoming teachers and their adult dependents, age 18 and over, to be fully vaccinated.
How do I provide proof of vaccination?
Participate Learning is not currently collecting documentation of vaccination and it is no longer required for international travelers entering the U.S. However, we ask that you bring any related documentation with you when you travel as it may be requested upon arrival or at a later date.
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