How to become an Au Pair
If you love adventure and enjoy spending time with children, becoming an Au Pair may be right for you!
How to Become an Au Pair in 3 Easy Steps
The Au Pair program is a journey of self-discovery and cultural connection–an opportunity to expand your education, gain valuable life and work experience, confidence and independence.
As an Au Pair, you get the exciting opportunity to live and travel in the US, experience American culture, be part of an American family and care for their children full-time. It’s an opportunity to make a difference in a family’s life and your own.
Go Au Pair gives you the resources and support to be a success in the program and build the mindset and skill sets that lay a foundation of success for your future. Learn more through your local agency.
Learn the American culture
Become part of a welcoming family
Gain valuable child care experience
Improve your English skills
Become more self-reliant
Establish friendships for a lifetime
Earn weekly compensation
Ability to study and travel in the U.S.
Your application is the first step to becoming an Au Pair in the United States of America. Additionally, you can start thinking about the Au Pair programs for which you might qualify.
Being an Au Pair in America is an experience you will always remember. To ensure happy Au Pairs and happy Host Families, we take our commitment to follow the U.S. Department of State’s Rules and Regulations very seriously. There are certain requirements each Au Pair must meet in order to be accepted into the program:
18-26 years old – Au Pair applicants must be between the ages of 18 and 26 years old. Au Pairs may turn 27 while in the U.S. and still extend their stay, but they must initially enter the U.S. while they are still 26.
Speak English – English is verified through an interview conducted entirely in English with your International Representative.
High School graduate or equivalent – A copy of a diploma or certificate is required as part of the application process.
Have previous child care experience proven through references – All Au Pairs are required to provide at least 2 child care references and at least 1 character reference. References cannot come from family members, only non-related references are accepted. Au Pairs who provide care for children under the age of two-years-old in the U.S., need at least 200 hours of verifiable experience working with children this age prior to their arrival.
- Standard application form
- Letter to potential Host Families
- Criminal background check
- Physician’s report
- Psychometric test
- Personality test
- Pictures of yourself
- Copies of supporting documents
During the matching process, you work closely with your International Representative who helps you prepare to be a great Au Pair. Go Au Pair’s exclusive Mutual Match process lists you on our Host Family portals, facilitates interviews with potential Host Families, and gives you the chance to review applications from Host Families with the option to accept or deny any offers made by Host Families. After you accept an offer from a Host Family, you apply for your visa with the help of your International Representative and Go Au Pair.
Finding the right Host Family is the most important step in the entire Au Pair Placement process. We have taken 20 years of child care and Au Pair experience and developed a unique, easy and helpful way to ensure you and your Host Family have a great year together.
Knowing every one of our Host Families is part of our commitment to you for your safety and enjoyment during your year in the Au Pair program. Just as you are required to meet certain qualifications to participate in the Au Pair program, Host Families likewise have to meet rigorous standards established by the U.S. Department of State.
One of the requirements of the U.S. Department of State is to have a Local Area Representative within a one-hour drive of our Host Families homes. Your great Local Area Representative helps you adapt to life in the U.S. while introducing you to other Au Pairs in the area.
Go Au Pair lists your profile on our Search Au Pairs tool. Search Au Pairs allows Host Families to search Au Pairs without even having to apply. This means numerous Host Families see your profile while looking for an Au Pair that fits their needs. Host Families can find your profile by creating searches based on their preferences, including:
Child care experience
Work closely with your International Representative to help your profile stand out by highlighting your talents and experience.
Go Au Pair developed the Mutual Match system based on our 20 plus years of experience to help create the best match between you and your Host Family.
Through the Mutual Match system, Go Au Pair allows families to view multiple Au Pair files, so they can choose the best Au Pair for their needs. This means you don’t have to worry about a family matching with you because they think you are their only option.
When a Host Family finds that your qualifications meet their needs they will want to interview you by telephone. Host Families may call you via telephone or Skype depending on the technology available to both you and them. Your International Representative helps you prepare for the interview.
The interview is a great time to get to know the potential Host Family. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the family lifestyle, interests and hobbies. Knowing the Host Family with which you place helps ensure compatibility and a great match.
The final stage of our Mutual Match process comes when the match is made. When a Host Family decides you are the best fit for their family, they will call you and offer you the position. After reviewing parts of the Host Family’s application, a basic schedule, and house rules, and talking with them at least two times, you have the option to decide if you think you fit well with the family. If you do not think you are a good fit for the family, please decline their offer so you can find a more suitable match.
After matching with a family, you need to schedule an appointment for an interview at your local U.S. embassy. In order to apply for a visa you need a Form DS-2019. This is a form that Go Au Pair issues which is our sponsorship of your visa. We send this form once you have matched with a Host Family and all of the required paperwork and training are complete.
Every embassy operates differently and scheduling an appointment can vary greatly by country. Your International Representative is familiar with the embassies in your country and will assist you throughout the entire process.
Since the final decision rests with the consulate at the embassy, Go Au Pair cannot guarantee that every Au Pair receives a visa. However, we, along with our International Representatives, help you prepare for your interview as much as possible to give you the best possible chance of obtaining your visa.
Depending on your location, it usually takes two to six weeks from the time your visa is approved until you arrive at your Host Family’s home. Although we would like to be able to guarantee the time it takes to arrive to your Host Family’s home, we are unable to do so.
Go Au Pair is the only agency to book each Au Pair’s flight individually. Our dedicated Travel Coordinator works with both you and your Host Family to reserve a flight that fits everyone’s schedule.
Your experience working as an Au Pair begins once you arrive to your Host Family’s home. During your time with your Host Family, you work closely with your Local Area Representative. Enjoy enrolling in school and attending exciting cultural events with the other Au Pairs in the area.
Your Au Pair experience begins with a meeting between you, your Host Family and your Local Area Representative. During the Au Pair and Host Family orientation, you and your Host Family review house rules, responsibilities, schedules and child care expectations. This meeting is a great time to get to know your Host Parent and their style of parenting. Your Local Area Representative will also be there to help answer any questions about rules of the Au Pair program and to help you get accustomed to your new adventure.
Your Host Family provides you with full room and board. You will have a private bedroom and your Local Area Representative verifies your room conditions meet or exceed Go Au Pair’s strict standards before you arrive. Your Host Family also provides you with food just as if you were a member of their own family.
Your Host Family is also responsible for providing you with two weeks of paid vacation. You can take your vacation at a time both you and your Host Family agree upon after your arrival.
As an Au Pair America, you provide up to 45* hours of child care each week with a maximum of 10 hours per day. Your Host Family pays your weekly stipend directly to you. The stipend amount is based on federal minimum wage. Currently the stipend is $195.75 per week. The stipend you receive depends on the Au Pair program in which you participate. You also receive a minimum of 1 ½ days off each week and one full weekend off (Friday night to Monday morning) at least once every month.
Due to school and work schedules, your Host Family may need to change your work hours on a fairly regular basis. It is normal for work schedules to change and is something you should expect. However, even if the schedule is different each week, you are not allowed to work more than the maximum hours allowed by the U.S. Department of State.
Being an Au Pair means you are part of your Host Family. You have the chance to provide morning, before and after school and evening help. In addition to care and supervision of your Host Family’s children, you also help with household chores pertaining to the children for whom you care. You make a meaningful contribution by helping with some of the following items.
- Clean up after snack time
- Bath time
- Prepare and clean up after children’s meals
- Homework help
- Driving to and pickup from school, after school sports, dance, other activities
- Teaching, tutoring
- Cultural sharing, language instruction
- Game time
- Kids laundry, ironing
- Arts and crafts time
- Musical support
- Making kids bed, tidying up room
- Outside play time
- Reading time at home, at the local library
- Getting ready for school in the morning, packing lunches, backpacks
- Visit zoos, museums, parks, more
- Sick day help, doctor visits
- Potty training help
- Nap time
- Teach good behavior
- Swimming, skiing
- Play dates
- Birthdays, holidays
- And more!
Although you may want to help with extra things around the home, keep in mind Au Pairs cannot do the following:
- Grocery shopping for the family
- Walking the dog or care of other animals
- Provide care for neighbor’s children
- Cook for the entire family
- Do the entire family’s laundry
- Clean areas of the home other than children’s living and playing areas
- Administer medicine
- Any tasks not directly related to the care of the children
You have the great opportunity to further your education and make new friends while fulfilling your educational requirement. As part of your cultural child care experience, you have the opportunity to take a number of credits at a U.S. university. Your Host Family contributes up to $500** towards your educational requirement and facilitates transportation to and from your classes.
You have the option to study any subject you would like, so long as it is at an accredited, post-secondary university. Go Au Pair provides you with a list of schools in your area shortly after you arrive so you can enroll in your classes right away.
Prior to arriving to your Host Family’s home, you enjoy support from your International Representative and Go Au Pair. When you arrive, you have a many resources available to you. Your Local Area Representative and Go Au Pair are available to answer any questions and assist in all your needs.
During your year, you have the support from one of our experienced Local Area Representatives. Each Local Area Representative lives within your community, so support is never far away.
While you may contact Go Au Pair’s corporate office at any time, your Local Area Representative contacts you every month to ensure things are going well. Your Local Area Representative also supports you in the following ways:
- Contact you within 48 hours of your arrival to your Host Family
- Conduct an arrival orientation with you and your Host Family to ensure a great year
- Maintain monthly contact with you and your Host Family
- Provide you with the resources you need to live in your community
- Provide you with information about educational and social opportunities
- Organize and host regular activities and outings for all the Au Pairs in your community
- Organize and host events for Host Families and Au Pairs in your community
Our friendly staff at our corporate office is always ready to help. Whether you have questions about education, rules and regulations or anything else, we find the answer for you. Go Au Pair also maintains regular communication with you so you are always up to date regarding Au Pair program information and local events.
In addition to your Local Area Representatives and Go Au Pair’s corporate support, you always have access to support from your International Representative. Your international Representative is instrumental in helping you apply for the Au Pair program, prepare for your embassy interview and organize yourself for your year in the United States.
Repeat the Experience
As your time with your Host Family nears an end, you have the option to continue the experience. Extend with your current Host Family or match with a new Host Family to experience a new part of the United States. Whatever you choose, Go Au Pair takes care of all the details, so you can continue enjoying your cultural experience