Working in America
Do I need a summer job before I go?
All students travelling on the J1 programme MUST have an approved seasonal job before they can take part on the programme.
How can I find a summer job before going?
You can avail of one of the hundreds of job interview slots that USIT can arrange for you over the season, or you can find your own summer job independently. If you decide to do it independently, speaking with family members, friends and previous J1 students is a great way to make connections. Make sure to get your CV converted into the American style resume and start to apply for summer jobs as soon as possible.
What kind of jobs can I do?
Any summer job, whether or not it is included in the list below, must be generally compatible with the rules, regulations, and intent of the program. Please note, you must work an average of 32 hours per week. Participants must be able to balance their work responsibilities with time spent exploring their local community, learning about the U.S. and getting to know Americans. In addition to the above, any summer job that could bring notoriety or disrepute to the Exchange Visitor Program is expressly prohibited by the program regulations.
It is also important to note that you need to ensure that all Work & Travel USA jobs are "seasonal" and not taking work from American Citizens. The typical Summer Work Travel job is in seasonal/resort areas in a seasonal business. There are seasonal needs outside resort areas and there may be suitable jobs in these areas. If a job is in an office environment, it should be seasonal and NOT an internship ie. if there is intent for professional development or some sort of career experience, then it likely belongs on the Intern side. In addition, you need to be careful that you are not working in isolated/remote areas.
The following job types are currently prohibited by the US Department of State:
- Au pairs, child carers, mother's helper, nanny
- Babysitter, maid, or other jobs of a domestic nature in private homes
- Childcare provider
- Medical Services (medical interns or anything involving hands-on therapy, counselling, administering treatment or making diagnoses of medical, psychiatric or psychological patients)
- Jobs involving sustained physical contact with other people
- Veterinary Science (making medical diagnoses or administering treatment to animals)
- Teaching, including but not limited to Language teacher, teaching assistants, or full-fledged trained teacher
- Coaching positions or as a Personal Trainer
- Beauty therapy jobs including massage, hairdressing, manicurist positions or any jobs involving 'hands-on' therapy of any kind
- Farmer ranch jobs
- Camp Counsellors
- Crew member on ship or airplanes or as pilots
- Certain casino positions
- Pyramid salespersons
- Jobs involving driving a vehicle
- Operators of pedicabs, rolling chairs, or other passenger-carrying vehicles for hire
- Jobs in gaming/gambling
- Jobs in Manufacturing, warehouses, or factories/fisheries
- Moving companies or catalogue/online distribution centres
- Mall kiosks or carts
- Jobs in modelling
- Jobs involving controlled hazardous substances
- Employment with a staffing agency
- Commission-only positions
- Jobs in the adult entertainment industry are not permitted, including but not limited to: escort services, adult book/video stores, massage parlors, strip clubs
- Jobs requiring shifts that are predominantly between 10.00pm and 6.00am are not permitted
- Lifeguard with a pool management company
- White water rafting guide
- Vacation home cleaning crew
- Housekeepers, dishwashers or laundry
- Apartment building doormen
- Jobs with multiple sites of activity, i.e. tent setup, landscaping, catering
- Bouncer or security positions
- Positions involving any advance or start-up fee to the participant or with a travelling concession business
- Jobs identified as hazardous to youth by the US Department of Labour
- Labour/construction work
Are There New Rules For Getting Jobs Approved Because Of Covid-19?
- The Host Employer agrees to follow the CDC guidelines related to workplace safety and sanitization, as well as all local health and safety requirements.
- The Host Employer has a contingency plan in case of an outbreak in the workplace.
- If the Host Employer does not provide housing, they agree to provide substantial assistance to Participants to secure housing prior to their arrival, including providing housing leads and/or local resources.
- If the Host Employer does provide housing, they agree to have a contingency plan in place in the event of an outbreak in housing.
- The Host Employer agrees to inform Participants of any arrival testing or quarantine requirements in advance of the placement interview.
- The Host Employer agrees to support Participants in the event of an outbreak, shelter-in-place order, or border restriction preventing a successful return for the Participant. This includes but is not limited to: providing hours, stipend, extending the stay and reducing housing costs, or providing food.
- Should hours be reduced due to COVID-19, the Host Employer will make every attempt to provide additional hours in other departments as appropriate, or reduce housing/food costs, and/or provide a stipend to the Participant.
- The Host Employer agrees that there must be a documented, seasonal need for Work & Travel USA Participants to be placed. If there were any domestic staff impacted by layoffs or furloughed, domestic staff must first be rehired in order to host Participants. Work & Travel USA Participants must not displace American workers.
- Host employers must document efforts to hire Americans into the seasonal positions which Work & Travel USA Participants will be placed. This documentation may be requested by CIEE at any point within the year.
- The Host Employer agrees they have reviewed all other resources and expectations CIEE has provided.
Can I change my summer job while in the USA?
If a participant wishes to leave their employer, they must contact the US Sponsor to explain why they want to change jobs and seek approval. If approval is granted, they must work a minimum notice period of 2 weeks before finishing with their current employer.
Can I have more than one job?
Yes. You can have as many as you like provided they all meet the programme requirements and have been approved by the US Sponsor.
How much can I earn?
It's up to you how much money you can earn. The more hours you work and the more jobs you have will determine whether you'll be able to pay off that student loan on your return!! However, participants working for 'salary only' must be paid at least the federal minimum wage. Participants working for 'salary plus tips' will receive a lower basic wage.
Do you need to be above 21 to serve a bar in the US?
Yes however, there are other positions available in bars/restaurants such as servers, hosts, bussers that you can work in if you are under 21.
What’s the minimum amount of weeks can I work?
You can legally work from the 15th of May to the 15th of September and have 30 days of travel after your work date.
What is the minimum number of hours I can work?
The minimum number of hours you will be given is 32 hours a week, which is required by your visa.