host an international teacher

Host a J-1 Teacher

Add international expertise to your school, as well as a love for learning about the world. Join other top-rated, accredited US primary and secondary school districts hiring international teachers on Spirit’s J-1 Teacher cultural exchange program. Spirit’s international teachers come from all over the world to share their international expertise and culture with your students and staff, while at the same time learning American customs and gaining teaching experience in the United States.

Program Details

Spirit is designated by the United States Department of State as a J-1 visa teacher sponsor. Spirit places qualified international teachers in open teaching positions for one to three years in a variety of concentrations, including:

  • General Education (primary grades)
  • Foreign Languages (Spanish, German, French & Mandarin)
  • STEM
  • Special Education

All international teachers commit to sharing their culture with their students and host community in a meaningful way. Community presentations and international nights, as well as virtual classroom exchanges between students at your school and schoolchildren in the teacher’s home country are just examples of the impact this program will have on the lives of your students and community.


All Host Schools must meet the following requirements:

  • Be a publicly or privately-operated primary or secondary institution for educating children in the United States that offers mainly academic programs and is duly accredited by the appropriate academic accrediting authority of the jurisdiction in which the institution is located.
  • Have sufficient resources, equipment and trained personnel available to provide continuous on-site supervision and mentoring by experienced and knowledgeable staff
  • Assign an experienced and knowledgeable Host School Supervisor, who will be responsible for providing continuous on-site supervision, mentoring and assistance in arranging or identifying quarterly professional development opportunities for the teacher for the duration of the program.
  • Assign a Host School Mentor, who will assist the participant with settling into the community and in identifying personal cultural activities in the area the teacher can take part in monthly.
  • Ensure that participants will have opportunity to participate alongside, share ideas and interact regularly with US citizens during their teaching experience.

Learn more about required qualifications for J-1 Teachers. 

Cultural Activities

teach in the usInternational exchange teachers act as citizen diplomats.  They foster public diplomacy by sharing their home culture with US classrooms and communities via virtual classroom exchanges, presentations to civic organizations, community international festivals and more.  Exchange teachers experience American culture both in and outside the classroom by sharing US holidays with new friends, attending community events, and visiting historical sites during their free time.  Cooperating Host Schools support and contribute to these efforts to foster international understanding on a local level.  

Premium Placement

premium international teacher placementNeed assistance with J-1 Teacher recruitment?

Spirit’s Premium Placement option offers a full-service choice to Host Schools interested in hiring an international teacher but aren’t sure how to begin. Select the Premium Placement option and Spirit will access its international network of candidates to identify a qualified teacher that matches well with your school’s requirements.

Independent Placement

Already Have an International Teacher Selected?

Spirit’s Independent Placement option is available to Host Schools that have already identified a candidate abroad who qualifies as a J-1 Teacher. In this case, Spirit ensures J-1 visa requirements are followed, provides visa support documentation, medical insurance and 24/7 support to participants and cooperating Host Schools during the program.

Program Costs

Many Host Schools cover some or all the program and placement fees as part of their teacher compensation package.  Current fees are as follows but are subject to change. 

Annual Program Fee: $1490 per year 

Optional Premium Placement Fee: $1,500
(One-time fee for Host School Placement.  Fee is waived for participants who identify their own Host School without Spirit assistance) 

Program Costs

What is the J-1 Teacher Program?

The J-1 Teacher Program is a cultural exchange program monitored by the U.S. Department of State to foster peace and diplomacy across nations. Exchange teachers gain professional education experience by teaching in the US as part of a 1-3 year cross-cultural exchange. As lead teachers in K-12 classrooms across the US, international teachers offer a unique resource for global learning to American students and schools.

What is Spirit Cultural Exchange?

Spirit is a J-1 Visa sponsor designated by the U.S. Department of State for the J-1 Teacher, Intern, Trainee and Work/Travel Programs. We provide high quality recruitment, screening, monitoring, and support of all exchange participants on our J-1 visa programs.

How long can teachers participate in the program?

J-1 Teachers can participate anywhere from 1-3 years. After 3 years, teachers can apply for an additional 2-year extension from the Department of State for a total of 5 years.  Extension applications are not guaranteed.

What subjects are taught?

Participants teach as lead teachers in K-12 classrooms in subjects including Science, Math, Special Education, World Language and Spanish Bilingual. At the pre-kindergarten level, participants are only able to teach in a language immersion program.

How do teachers get certified in the US?

The first step in becoming certified to teach in the US is for teachers to complete a foreign credential evaluation. This step is required for teachers prior to interviewing at a Host School. Spirit works with Host Schools to provide guidance to participants to ensure that teachers receive proper certification.

What experience do international teachers need to have?

J-1 Teachers must have at least two years of teaching experience, a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in Education, Teaching, or their academic subject, and be qualified to teach in their home country.

What are the requirements for Host Schools?

All schools must be accredited and provide a full-time teaching position with a minimum of 32 hours per week. In addition, schools must provide a mentor and supervisor for teachers who can provide classroom advice and supervision, as well as information about the community.

Get Started as a Host School

Apply Now to Host a Teacher

What host schools say…

We have greatly enjoyed welcoming J1 teachers into our schools and being able to learn more about one another’s cultures. We have worked with several J1 agencies and Spirit is definitely one of the best! They are knowledgeable, helpful, communicative, and prompt.- Host School Administrator, Arizona

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