USA J1 Teacher Exchange


Status : Program Open
Embassy : Open
Vaccination Required : No
PCR Required to Enter : No

This program is designed for the exchange of different teaching methodologies with other teachers, and the opportunity to teach a classroom of American children much more than basic education. The program provides a rare chance to share your country’s culture and heritage, exposing American students to the ideas of international inclusion and tolerance, and enabling them to think with a greater world perspective.

Teaching is a special profession. It gives you unlimited potential to influence and impact young lives. OVC, along with our partners, help teachers broaden the world view of today’s American youth through matching excellent and inspired teaching professionals with accredited host schools across the U.S. Each school is carefully screened to ensure that they are not only accredited institutions, but that they are in full compliance with Department of State regulations. This means you can focus on teaching while we focus on finding the right fit for the next step in your educational career.

In addition to teaching, you will be facilitating cross-cultural exchange between your U.S. classroom and your home country. Once a year you will organize a day or activity that highlights your culture and allows for your U.S. students to have a dialogue (through virtual exchange or other means) with students in your home country. The Teacher Exchange Program enables international educators to utilize their knowledge to help build the critical and analytical skills of our youth, and to personally showcase the value of cultural exchange.

You will be teaching full-time within the American educational school system, working directly with young students, exchanging teaching methodologies with other teachers, and reporting to your supervisor-teacher and principal.

- We recruit teachers in the fields of General Education, Maths, Sciences (Chemistry, Biology, Physics), Spanish or Special Education at Kindergarten, Primary and Secondary schools.
- Limited positions available each year.
- 3-year program, which can be extended by 1-2 years based on teacher performance and school need.
- Salaries starting from $60 000 per annum
- Repeat participation is allowed after the teacher has spent 2 years outside the USA.


- Ages 21-55
- Have a degree-equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s degree in either education or the academic subject field in which they intend to teach – General Education, Maths, Sciences (Chemistry, Biology, Physics), Spanish or Special Education.
- Have a minimum of two years (24 months) of teaching or related professional experience.
- Be working as a teacher in your home country at the time of application, or, if not working as a teacher, otherwise meet the eligibility qualifications and (a) have recently (within 12 months of application) completed an advanced degree and (b) have two years of full-time teaching experience within the past eight years.
- Clear criminal record.
- Must have excellent English language proficiency.
- Must be able to show a teachers license (SACE).
- Must have the relevant finances for the program.

Start/Finish Dates

Arrive mid-July annually and work for 3 years. The program will end on 30 June of the final year.

Applications open from around September each year for the following year.

Applicants not placed can try for the next year.

Limited positions - apply early!

Visa Info

- 3 Year J1 Teacher Exchange Visa
- Extension of 1-2 years is available on a performance and school needs basis
- Repeat participation is allowed after the teacher has spent 2 years outside the USA.


Admin fee R9500
Program fee $3100 - See Below in MORE INFO
Other fees $1100 annual renewal fee for same school (subject to yearly increase)
Visa fees $185 Visa $220 SEVIS, R315 Collect for free from DUR/JNB/CPT/PTA DHL office. Pay the fee for delivery to your home.
Travel Insurance Included for first 90 days
Airfare (approx) Approx. R10 000 – R20 000 (One way)
Recommended Spending Money Please see More Info below


- Get together all application documents and submit to your OVC office.
- Application is sent to the program manager for review.
- Once approved by the program manager, applicant must pay the application fee.
- Pre-Screen interviews will take place during Nov/Dec/Jan.
- Applicants who pass the pre-screening will interview with schools from January to March.
- Once placed, pay Visa and SEVIS fee
- Once placed, applicants will also work hand-in-hand with OVC to source and secure housing.
- Attend your visa interview and get approved April to June.
- OVC will make all your travel arrangements for July.
- Applicant will attend a final preparation meeting with OVC to ensure that you are ready to fly.
- Applicants arrive in the US mid-July.
- Orientation with school during August.
- Teachers usually begin teaching from mid- to end August.

More Info

- Must be able to commit to a 3-year contract.
- Location can be requested but not guaranteed (Austin, Houston, Dallas, Ector)
- Most placements are in the state of Texas.
- Dependants may work (subject to applying for a work permit) and kids may go to school.
- Dependant can travel on a J2 program (spouse or children under age 21).
- Insurance for the first 90 days is included in program fees, thereafter teachers need to take out schools insurance or alternative insurance that must adhere to Department of State regulations.

Costs to Budget in SA and on Arrival in the USA:
- Foreign credential evaluation – From $290
- Police Clearance R170
- Certificate of Good Standing
- Program Fee - $500 paid up front, $2600 paid ($260 x 10 months)

Spending Money – Breakdown:
- $1500 approximate rent deposit
- $1200 approximate 1st month rent (often unfurnished)
- $50 - $200 – transport first month
- $600 – First months food
- $300 – Utilities
- $500 – Utility deposits
- $3000 – Additional Funds

Additional Costs to Budget in the USA on renewal or extension:
- Taxes: approximately 30% of monthly salary
- Insurance - ranges from approximately $45 to $140 per month
- Annual renewal fees are collected directly by the US sponsor company and are due on 30 June of each year - $1100
- Annual renewal fee if transferring to another school is $1600.
- Transfer to another school (in special circumstances only) $500.
- Extension of original 3-year program, $367 plus annual renewal fee


Are you aged 21-55?
Do you have a bachelors' degree in education, special needs, maths or sciences?
Are you currently working as a teacher in the above fields or general teacher?
Do you have 2 years prior full time teaching experience?

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