The United States Department of State (DOS) requires each au pair to register and attend classes offered by an accredited U.S. post-secondary institution during their program. Traditionally, only classes with in-person instruction have been accepted to fulfill this requirement. However, we are excited to introduce new guidance from the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) that allows au pairs to take online or hybrid courses to meet their educational needs. Please continue reading for information on school selection, credit/hour requirement, attendance options, and other frequently asked questions.
Important Guidelines for Choosing/Completing Courses
All courses taken toward the completion of an au pair's educational requirement MUST be through a post-secondary accredited institution. Always verify accreditation PRIOR to enrolling. Click the link below to make sure your chosen school meets these important requirements!
Au pairs participating in a 12-month program are required to complete 6 credits (72 non-credit hours) of coursework through an accredited post-secondary institution. Please see the FAQ section below for educational requirements during an au pair's extension program.
We recommend that all au pairs prioritize in-person classes, giving them the opportunity to interact with American peers and gain a valuable cultural experience through immersion. However, au pairs may take a maximum of one online course per semester for a total of two online courses per year (6 credits or 72 non-credit hours).
Frequently Asked Questions About the Educational Requirement
To determine if your chosen institution meets these requirements, click on the following link to search for your school PRIOR to enrollment:
The calculation of one credit is as follows: (1 hour of classroom work + 2 hours of homework) per week x (15 weeks/semester) = 1 credit for that semester.
Non-credit courses are short-term classes offered through the continuing education department. They are intended for students who want to gain general knowledge, learn a new skill, upgrade existing skills or develop personal interests. Upon completion, students may request a certificate of completion from the College.
Au Pair International calculates the value of non-credit courses as follows: 12 classroom hours = 1 credit. Typical classes are 36 hours or 3 credits.
Ideally, in-person class attendance should be prioritized over online course options as they do not offer au pairs the same opportunity for cultural exchange/immersion. However, per updated guidelines from the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), au pairs may take a maximum of one online course per semester (3 credits or 36 non-credit hours), for a total of two online classes per year (6 credits or 72 non-credit hours).
! It is important to note that host families cannot require an au pair to take online courses to accommodate their childcare needs.
Hybrid courses combine both in-person instruction with online components. Hybrid courses with primarily in-person instruction will be counted toward in-person attendance toward he educational requirement.
Au pairs can choose to take any credit or non-credit course offered through a U.S. post-secondary institution listed on the following website:
During the initial 12-month program, host families are responsible for contributing up to $500 toward the educational expenses of their au pair (books, tuition, etc.), in addition to transportation costs to facilitate attendance (gas money, parking expenses, or public transportation, etc.)
! Consider the cost of education before making a final decision. Educational expenses over $500 are the responsibility of the au pair. For example, if classes cost $750, the au pair will be responsible for paying $250 of the total amount.
During the extension program, host families are responsible to pay the following toward their au pair’s educational requirement:
12-month extension: $500 plus transportation costs
9-month extension: $500 plus transportation costs
6-month extension: $250 plus transportation costs
12-month extension: 6 credits or 72 non-credit hours
9-month extension: 6 credits or 72 non-credit hours
6-month extension: 3 credits or 36 non-credit hours
Au pairs extending their program for an additional 6, 9, or 12 months must have education completed prior to submitting the extension application. Applications are due no later than 45 days prior to the end of their program year. Late applications are NOT (absolutely no exceptions) accepted by the U.S. Department of State, so be sure to complete the educational requirement and apply on time.
Au pairs completing their program and requesting Au Pair International book their return flight, must have education completed no later than 45 days prior to the end of their program year, to avoid late fees.
The educational component of the Au Pair Program is a requirement for participation. Failure to complete education will affect an au pairs ability to extend or successfully complete the program.
Course Options Around the U.S.
The following options are available to au pairs who wish to complete their educational requirement in as little as one weekend. Working in cooperation with accredited post-secondary institutions, courses taken through these avenues meet the U.S. Department of State educational requirements for J-1 visa holders.