Teach in the USA: Checklist for J-1 teacher program

Here is a checklist for teachers participating in the J-1 Teacher program. This checklist is used to meet the requirements with Colorado Learning and our J-1 Visa partners in processing your application and getting you a job here in the USA. Seems like quite a list, don’t worry Colorado Learning will guide you through the whole process.

Colorado Learning (CL):

Colorado Learning Agreement

Submit Support Material for Teacher Profile to Colorado Learning, such as, Resume, Cover Letter, References, Teaching License, Picture etc.

Interview via Skype to go over material and prepare for CICD pre – screening.


Teacher Agreement

Cultural Component Prompt 1 and 2

Host School Agreement

Offer Letter from Host School (CL works towards getting the Job Offer and this Offer Letter)

2 Letters of Recommendation (1 from colleague, 1 from Supervisor),

Bachelor’s degree,

Copy of CV/Resume,

Copy of Teaching Certificate

Criminal Background check from home country

Copy of Passport

Copy of any previous visas

Letter from school in home country stating dates of employment and responsibilities (CL gets this from the school after job secured).

Letter from school in home country stating their willingness to participate in the cultural exchange activity proposed by J-1 teacher

J-1 Teacher Qualifications

To qualify as a J-1 Teacher, you must:

  • Meet the qualifications for teaching at the primary, including pre-kindergarten, or secondary levels in schools in your home country; be working as a teacher in your home country at the time of application; and have at least two years of full-time teaching experience. Must have a valid passport for at least 3 years as this is the initial J1 period.


  • Not be working as a teacher in your home country at the time of application, but otherwise meet the qualifications for teaching at the primary (including pre-kindergarten) or secondary levels in schools in your home country.
  • Have had at least two years of full-time teaching experience within the past eight years; and
  • Within 12 months of your application submission date for the program, have completed an advanced degree (beyond a degree equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s degree) in education or in an academic subject matter that you intend to teach or that is directly related to your teaching subject field.
  • The only way to get a J1 IF not currently teaching is to have completed an Advanced Degree within the last 12 months.

Additional Requirements: Monetary and Teaching:

WE CANNOT ASSIST ANY TEACHERS NOT HAVING THE PROPER FINANCIAL RESOURCES. These resources must be gathered in advance and NOT after the job is secured.

  • Possess appropriate monetary funds to pay for the J1 Visa approximately ($2200) and the Colorado Learning Employment Placement Fee. The fee is a percentage of the salary of the job we secure for you.
  • Possess monetary funds for securing a rental unit from your home country – first months rent and deposit. Varies depending on unit approximately $1200.
  • Possess monetary funds for travel related expenses, such as, airline ticket, spending money in US for all essentials for the first month (food, etc.) as candidate gets paid after working for at least 2 weeks to a month.
  • Possess the monetary funds to pay for any other visa related expenses in their home country.

IF the candidate does not have the funds at present, then the candidate must arrange with family or friends or other loan opportunities with banks or other sources to gather these funds to prepare for the hiring season in March of the year the candidate want to move to the USA. Colorado Learning will verify before accepting a J1 candidate for any job search that the candidate has the monetary resources to fund the job search.

  • Possess, at a minimum, a degree equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s degree in either education or the academic subject field in which you intend to teach;
  • Satisfy the teaching eligibility standards of the U.S. state in which you will teach (e.g., meet minimum educational requirements, pass teacher training coursework at a sufficiently proficient level, have provided an evaluation of foreign teaching preparation coursework, have demonstrated the requisite prior teaching experience, etc.)
  • Provide any required criminal background or other checks;
  • Are of good reputation and character;
  • Agree to come to the United States temporarily as a full-time teacher of record in an accredited primary or secondary school, understanding and agreeing that exchange teachers may teach a variety of subjects and levels at their host school or schools, if qualified, but at the pre-kindergarten level, may teach only in language immersion programs.
  • Receive from a qualified U.S. host school a written and signed “teaching job offer” (offer of employment”).
  • In order to be eligible for the J-1 teacher visa, the candidate must provide a letter from a school outside of the United States confirming their willingness to participate in the cross-cultural component of the program. The cross-cultural component is a mandatory part of the J-1 teacher program, and we must collect annual reports for each school year. The cultural exchange must take place between the host school and the ”home-school”. It can be either the school where you are currently working, or any school outside of the U.S with the same education level as your host school (primary vs secondary).