The Au Pair programmes in the US were designated by the US Government. For several years Au Pair prorgams in US have provided the best live-in child care opportunities to host families across the US and au pairs from around the world.
How do I qualify to be an au pair?
Being an au pair in America is not for everyone. Taking care of young children requires maturity, hard work and patience. And don’t forget, you will also be adapting to a new culture and trying to establish a solid relationship with the parents and children. The work will be challenging but can also be rewarding and satisfying. You should be sure you are ready to work a full 12 months before committing to the program.
If you are between the ages of 18-26 and have completed secondary school you may apply to the program. The other government regulations are:
- Speak and write conversational English
- Be willing to share your culture and learn about others
- Be willing to commit to 12 months in the U.S.
- Agree to having a background check performed
- Have at least 6 months childcare experience
- Be able to provide 2 non-family childcare references and one character reference
- Possess a driver’s license (unless your host family doesn’t need a driver)
- Be in good physical condition as evidenced by a Physician’s Report
- Pass a psycho-metric test given by the Agency
Au pairs caring for children under the age of 2 in the USA must have 200 hours of verifiable childcare experience caring for children under the age of 2 before being placed in the home.
Most families in the U.S. will not accept a smoker. If you smoke and think you cannot quit before departing for the U.S. for a year, it’s better not to sign-up for the program. You may not smoke on the program unless the host family has signed an agreement with you stating it is OK to smoke during the program year.
What are the duties of Au-Pair?
Au pair duties are related to childcare. This means that the au pair can walk or drive the children to school, straighten their rooms, do their laundry, prepare meals, undertake development activities such as playing games, drawing or helping with homework. An au pair is considered a member of the family such as a big sister or brother and is not permitted to do heavy housework, gardening or the parent’s laundry.
What you get by taking part in the program?
- Au Pair Education and Training
You can study at a University while being an au pair in the U.S. There is an educational requirement to the program stating that au pair participants must be enrolled in an accredited post-secondary institution for not less than six hours of academic credit or its equivalent meaning you take at least 72 classroom hours of academic credit during your year-long stay in America. The host family will provide up to $500 toward completion of this requirement.
You can take English classes or more diverse classes such as history, political science, literature or even art or pottery. The choice is yours! Taking classes is interesting and fun and an excellent way to meet American students.
Upon arriving to the U.S. to spend a year with your new host family, you will first attend an Au Pair School Training & Orientation for one week. During this week at the Au Pair Training & Orientation, you will meet other au pairs in the region and socialize so that you can keep in touch and get together during the year.
What are the Benefits?
- Sponsorship of a legal 12-month J-1 visa
- Round-trip airfare to and from United States
- Arrangement of one week’s training at the Au Pair Training School and Orientation
- Pocket money of $195.75 per week
- Up to $500 tuition for enrollment in an accredited post-secondary institution for 6 units of academic credit or its equivalent
- Room and board in a private bedroom with a pre-screened host family
- Two weeks paid vacation & one full weekend off per month (for travel)
- A 24 hour number to call in case of an emergency
- Health and accident insurance
- Introductions to other au pairs in the area and monthly meetings with your local community counselor
- Maximum work of 45 hours per week/ 10 hours per day
The local Au Pair agency does the following:
- Interviews the family in the home
- Performs a 2-Week Orientation after the au pair arrives
- Speaks with the host family monthly (or more often as needed)
- Meets the au pair monthly (or more often as needed)
- Mediates the placement throughout the year
- Offers advice and assistance pertaining to program regulations