J-1 Visiting Teacher Program to the United States

Are you a non-U.S. citizen with teaching experience?  Costa Rica Frika’s US Visiting Teacher Program offers you a unique opportunity to learn different methods of teaching in the US. Visiting teachers bring an important international perspective to U.S. classrooms and students. The reciprocal benefits of this program will foster greater understanding of different teaching methodologies. At the same time the program provides an opportunity to learn and teach much more than basic education. Expose students to the ideas of inclusion and tolerance and enabling them to think with greater perspective. Visiting teachers have a rare chance to shape a new generation of leaders.

The Purpose Of The Visiting Teacher Program
  • Increase your understanding of American culture and society.
  • Enhance American’s knowledge of foreign cultures and skills through an open interchange of ideas between participants and your American associates.
  • Return home and share your experiences with family, friends and colleagues.
  • Develop practical skills which will enhance your future career.
Program Benefits

Through this Visiting Teacher Program, experienced teaching professionals with a qualifying degree may teach in accredited educational institutions (primary and secondary schools) for up to 3 years.

Why work with Costa Rica Frika? Our support ensures a successful program experience by providing expert resources. We include placement assistance, a thorough eligibility review, recruiting and screening of host school placement, 24 hour participant support and compliance assistance to ensure regulations are being met.

Are You Eligible To Teach In The United States?

To receive a full time teaching job in the US:

  • Meet the qualifications for teaching in primary or secondary schools in Costa Rica (Pre-K through High School). You must be teaching at the time of application and have at least two years of full-time teaching experience. OR:
  • Meet the qualifications for teaching at the primary or secondary levels with two years of full-time teaching experience within the past eight years. At the time of application, have an advanced degree (or be on plan to complete the advanced degree) in education or related subject matter that you intend to teach.
  • Possess a degree equivalent to a US Bachelor’s Degree in either education or the academic subject field in which you intend to teach.
  • Satisfy the eligibility standards of the U.S. state in which you will teach.
  • References must be secured from one colleague and one current or former supervisor attesting to that teacher’s good reputation, character and teaching skills.
  • Be seeking to enter the United States for the purpose of teaching full time at a primary or secondary accredited educational institution.
  • Share your American experience with a school and students in your home country during your program.

To learn more about the program and eligibility requirements please refer to the U.S. Department of State website.

Exchange Teacher Fees

First year fee:  $3,995.  This includes your visa fee, vetting of your formal application and documents, and the full time teaching job, which we vet before you sign your contract.

Second and third year visa renewal fee:  $1,800 each year.

Year one formal application deposit:  $1,000.  We deduct this deposit from the $3,995 first year fee. That leaves a balance of $2,995. You pay the balance when all required documents are vetted to support your application and before you receive your DS-2019 form for your appointment at the embassy to qualify for your J-1 Visa.

How Much Will I Make?

According to Niche.com, the national average starting teacher salary is $36,141, while the average teacher salary in America (non-starting) is $56,383.

Montana has the lowest starting salary: $27,274, while D.C. has the highest starting salary: $51,539. Coming in second is New Jersey at $48,631. New York has the highest average teacher salary: $75,279 and South Dakota has the lowest: $39,580.

When compared to the first year application and visa fee, the year two and three visa fee, and initial costs to travel to the US, security deposit on housing and other initial costs to begin living and teaching in the US, over a three year period, you can earn in excess of $100,000US.

Using the link above on Niche.com, look at the average teacher salaries in those states and you will discover that the start up costs to get to the US and begin teaching are almost negligible when you see what you will earn over the next 3-years!

Where Do Most Teachers Get Placed?
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Nevada
  • Washington, DC
  • Minnesota
  • Oregon
  • Florida
  • Maine
  • North Dakota
  • South Dakota
  • Missouri
  • Kentucky
Steps to get started:
  1. Take 30-minute online iTEP English conversation test to test for proficiency.  A score of 7 or above is recommended.
  2. Complete online application.
  3. Pay application fee.
  4. Submit reference letters, resume, university degrees, proof of current teaching employment and for at least two years.
What happens next?

We will begin matching you with prospective school districts.  Please note this can be a time consuming process and depending on the state there may additional requirements to meet.


Before you pay the balance of your first year fee, you may wonder about a refund of your initial deposit. The refunds below are before you pay your balance.

  • You are not accepted into the program: $500 refund.
  • You are denied your J-1 Visa: $500 refund.