about Work as an Au Pair in America

If you love working with children and you'd like to live, work and travel for 1 year in the USA, then we have the perfect opportunity for you.

You can live with an American host family, looking after their children as an equal member of their family, and in return you will receive free flights, all your meals, your own room, you will earn $10,000 for your hours plus loads of other great benefits!

This Au Pair programme was established in 1986 by the US government as an educational and cultural exchange with a strong childcare component. It offers a unique opportunity for overseas visitors to the USA to immerse themselves in the American way of life, gain amazing work experience abroad and earn money as an Au Pair living the American dream!

Before your Au Pair placement begins, you will be given comprehensive online training programme so you can learn the ropes before taking on your new Au Pair role in the USA.

If this sounds like the opportunity for you, please read on...!

As an Au Pair in the USA you will receive:

  • Your own private bedroom in the family home
  • All your meals included
  • A salary of $10,140 (equivalent of approximately £150 per week)
  • At least 1.5 days off per week
  • 2 weeks of paid vacation
  • $500 to go towards 6 credits of education classes, where you will get to study at an American University
  • 24 hour emergency support

work for an
american host family

Our American host families are based all over the United States and come in all different dynamics and sizes! You will live with your American host family for 12 months, looking after their children and providing support as you become an extended part of the family. Working for up to 45 hours each week you can earn $10,000 in one year! What's more, each of our American host families have been thoroughly checked to ensure they pass all criteria for taking on an Au Pair, our Au Pairs safety is paramount.

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who can be an au pair?

To become an au pair you need to qualify within the criteria. To qualify for our Au Pair USA programme you must be able to answer TRUE to the following statements.

Before you apply for this programme, please check if you qualify by taking this eligibility questionnaire


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being an au pair

Every Au Pair's role is unique, and every family is too, so each day with your new American host family and their kids will be different!

the au pair role

Every au pair's role is different however every Au Pair in the USA will work up to 45 hours of childcare each week, working no more than 10 hours a day.

common au pair duties include:

  • Getting the children up and ready for the day
  • Providing them with breakfast, snacks, lunch and dinner
  • Playing and organising activities
  • Taking the children to and from school
  • Helping the children with home work
  • Organising the children's bedroom and laundry
  • Going on play dates with other Au Pairs
  • Entertaining the children during school vacations
  • Looking after the children when they are sick or have unexpected days off
  • Taking the children on fun outings

benefits of being an au pair

This is one of the only ways you can get to experience the real America and get paid work in the USA for a year! As if this wasn't enough incentive to enrol on the Au Pair programme in America, every Au Pair will also be provided with loads more brilliant perks as part of the programme. Here are a few of the best reasons to become an Au Pair in the USA

  • Free flights
  • Free medical insurance
  • Earn $10,140 income per annum. You will be paid $195.75 (equivalent to approximately £150) weekly.
  • You will get at least 1.5 days off per week, 1 full weekend off per month and 2 weeks paid holiday
  • Accommodation and food included for 12 months
  • Use of the family car
  • Monthly cluster meetings with other Au Pairs in your area and meetings with your local coordinator
  • Receive $500 to study at an American University or College
  • 24 hour emergency support
  • 1 month's time off to travel at the end of your placement
  • A great cultural experience!
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host families

Our American host families are chosen from all over the United States and each host family is put through a similar application process to you, to ensure they are the right family to suit the programme

Living with and getting to know your new American host family makes for a rewarding and unforgettable Au Pair experience, and you'll soon become part of the family as you take on your new, responsible Au Pair role.

Host Family Application Process

Each host family begins by creating an online application. The parents will be interviewed by a Local Coordinator in their home. During the interview the Local Coordinator will assess the family's suitability for the programme and check to see if the home is suitable for an Au Pair. The host children must be present so the Local Coordinator can see the full picture of each host family. Every family member is referenced and police record checked, so you can be assured that the application process for host families is thorough and comprehensive.

Family Preferences

As all host families differ in dynamics and every Au Pair has different child care experience, we ask you to let us know your preferences on the type of family you would like to be placed with.

You will put forward the types of families you would feel comfortable working with, and the following considerations may form part of that selection process:

  • The age range of the children you will care for
  • The dynamic of the family (single mum, 2 parents, 1 or both parents working from home, same sex families)
  • Religion
  • The number of children
  • Location

We prefer Au Pairs to be open when it comes to location, as it is more important that you find the right family, and that this consideration is put over and above a specific location. However, a location preference can be stated in your Au Pair application.

It is important to us that you are matched with the right family so you have a successful and enjoyable year in the US. We find that matching on personality is also very important on the Au Pair programme!.

meeting your host family

This is the big day everyone has been waiting for! You've completed your US orientation and are ready to take on your new Au Pair role, and it's time to meet your new family...

Your host family will have been briefed and given a home orientation handbook so they will be fully prepared for your arrival. The first 3 days are spent getting to know each other, establishing your Au Pair role and familiarising yourself with your new environment.

you will go through the following details and introductions with your host parents:

  • Household Safety
  • Household Appliances
  • Household Tour
  • Food
  • Transportation and the family car
  • Driving Practice (very important as they drive on the right hand side!)
  • Phone use
  • Computer use
  • Neighbourhood tour
  • Unspoken house rules
  • Work responsibilities and duties
  • And most importantly meeting and getting to know the children!

application process

It is straight forward and we will provide assistance and support throughout the process!

the application process

  1. Pay your £99 deposit - online (top right corner) or by phone - 01892 527 392
  2. Our friendly Au Pair coordinator will call you for a brief telephone interview. You will chat about your experience and be introduced to the application process.
  3. If your telephone interview is successful, you will receive an email with information about the next stage of the application process. You will be given a date for a face-to-face interview, and information about references and medical forms.
  4. Make an appointment to see your GP to complete your medical form.
  5. Attend a face-to-face interview and one-to-one consultation with our coordinator at our Gap 360 Office in Tunbridge Wells. Bring your completed forms with you.
  6. Pay £65 for the DBS police record check and bring in your three forms of ID for verification.
  7. Complete an online profile (letter to the host family, video about yourself and a photo album)
  8. Match with an American host family!
  9. Once you have matched with a family, pay the remaining programme cost.

We advise starting your application at least 5 months before you would like to start your placement to allow enough time for the application and matching process.

We run orientations at least every month. You will be asked for your availability start dates at your interview.

happy kids


  1. Your profile will then go live on to the database of international Au Pairs and American host families
  2. Participate in phone/Skype interviews with host families
  3. Accept a host families offer to be their Au Pair

how long does this
process take?

This is a very common question, but it is a hard question to answer as all Au Pairs have different levels of experience and flexibility. We ask that you allow at least 5 months from the date you apply for the programme to the date that you will be matched with a family.

We ensure that we will help you complete your application and be available to host families as soon as possible. Our US Programme Representative in the US will constantly refer your application to host families to give you the best possible chance of getting matched.

During your application we ask you for your earliest available arrival date and your latest available arrival date, which must be 90 days apart. We will then work towards placing you with a family within this time period.

Please note that male Au Pairs may take up to one year to place. Our biggest season for Au Pairs to start placements is during the summer months, as there tend to be many more families looking for Au Pairs to start between May - September. If you are looking to go during the quieter months (October - April) please allow more time for matching.

preparing for your placement

Before you set foot in the US, you will receive a pre arrival pack. This pack includes an Au Pair handbook, a childcare guide and a briefing pack so you will feel more than prepared before you start your adventure in the States!

Our Au Pair Manager will be able to assist you with any last minute questions too!


Once you have been matched with your American host family we will assist you with applying for your J1 Exchange Visitor Visa.

InterExchange will issue your visa invitation letter. This allows you to make an appointment at the US embassy. You will attend your appointment at the embassy, and then your passport will be sent back to you with your J1 visa about 5 working days later.

Included in your programme is the SEVIS fee for your visa but the embassy will ask you to pay for an MRV Fee, which is approximately $160 (£100)

We will provide you with comprehensive instructions and offer you guidance throughout this process.


When your J1 visitor Exchange Visa has been granted, we will book your flights for you from your requested city of departure.

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orientation course

The orientation sessions are designed to inform you about your new Au Pair role, train you to deal with your new responsibilities and get you ready to take up your new and exciting Au Pair challenge in the USA!

As part of your Au Pair experience you will participate in an exciting and informative online orientation before you begin your Au Pair placement.

Topics covered during the orientation include rules & regulations, the practicalities of living and working in America, information about childcare, child safety and first aid and childhood development. The course will be provided in a variety of training methods including videos, live online sessions with USA staff, online courses and offline activities.

Topics covered during the orientation include:

programme rules and regulations:

  • Programme regulations
  • Culture shock
  • Legal documents
  • Taxes
  • Record of hours
  • Accident and sickness insurance
  • Extension programme
  • End of year documents
  • Driving in US

childhood development

You will also follow up on the online preparation you have to do before leaving for the USA. The following topics are covered for each stage of child development:

  • Physical skills
  • Language skills
  • Thinking skills
  • Social - Emotional skills
  • Discipline
  • Nutrition
  • Activities

during your placement

You'll have all the support you need during your time as an Au Pair in the USA, with the chance to meet and mingle with other Au Pairs in your area.

Compulsory cluster meetings are held once a month for all international Au Pairs living in your area, and offer the ideal chance to meet other Au Pairs, make new friends and enjoy a ready-made social network. These monthly meetings also offer a chance to talk with your Local Coordinator about any concerns you have on your placement.

Cluster meetings are fun and tend to incorporate days out to local attractions, holiday festivities or picnics. Throughout the year you will have more informative cluster meetings too, where you will recap on child safety and development. You will also have useful sessions where you will brainstorm ideas with other Au Pairs about new and exciting activities you can create for your host children.

studying at an american university or college

Not only will you be earning money, getting work experience with kids and living the American lifestyle for a year, but you'll also get a chance to add to your education and learning during your time in America. As part of your visa requirements you must complete 6 credits of educational classes at a recognised US educational institution during you year as an Au Pair

This works out to be around 60 hours of classes spread throughout the year and made up of 2 subjects. You can pick any subject, as long as it is academic in nature and it is available in your area! During your first meeting with your Local Coordinator you will be shown a list of the courses available.

You can spend a couple of weeks researching in to the course and then when you have come to a decision your local coordinator will help you enrol. Depending on your schedule you will either study when the children are at school or attend weekend/evening classes.

Not only will you gain an American qualification which will look great on your CV, the US University experience is a great way to meet new people! You will meet other Au Pairs from around the world and also learn along side local American students.

You will receive $500 to go towards these classes.

Placement Extensions

If you are having an amazing time in the US and are not ready to come home after 12 months, you can extend your placement for another 6, 9 or 12 months! Our friendly US programme representatives will be able to assist you with this. You can stay with the same family if they offer or if you wish to experience a different state or a different family we can help arrange this too.

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  • Gap 360 Programme Fee: £449
  • DBS Police Check Fee: £65
  • Medical Report: £30 (approx charge by Doctor's)
  • US Visa Fee paid to the US embassy: £100 ($160 approx)
  • Travel Expenses to Gap 360 Office, 
    US Embassy and Airport: Varies

When you are ready to apply for the programme, please book on with a £99 deposit. You can do this online or over the phone on 01892 527 392. Please note that the £99 deposit is non - refundable so please check you are eligible for the programme by taking our 'Do I Qualify' questionnaire before you apply. If you have any questions about your eligibility please contact us before you apply for the programme. You don’t have to pay the full programme cost until you have been matched with a host family. Just pay the £99 deposit and then concentrate on finding the perfect host family for you. No pressure!

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Check out what our Au Pair's think about this programme.

overall reviews


What was the highlight of your placement?

Being with a great family In an amazing part of the world.

Please describe your relationship with your host family

I've been so lucky with the family I'm placed with..they are so welcoming, kind and generous. they treat me like I'm part of the family and include me in everything they do.

Please sum up your experience with Gap 360 in 10 words (or less)

Easy from start to finish.

Could we have done anything better?


Would you recommend Gap 360 Au Pair to a friend?



What was the highlight of your placement?

Meeting loads of different people from all over the world! Not just au pairs people here love to talk and are genuinely interested in who you are.

Please describe your relationship with your host family

My host family is the best!! I love spending time with them but they also give me space when I need it. My host mum takes me shopping and we go have our hair done together etc. My host dad worries about me and texts me to make sure I'm ok when I'm out. It's like being their daughter but you have more freedom!

Please sum up your experience with Gap 360 in 10 words (or less)

Really enjoyable and easy!

Could we have done anything better?

Maybe follow up on how I was doing here earlier. But nothing major.

Would you recommend Gap 360 Au Pair to a friend?



What was the highlight of your placement?

Seeing so many different parts of the US

Please describe your relationship with your host family

My host family and I are pretty relaxed about our relationship, they treat me like a member of the family, we joke about and can enjoy each others company. It's definitely not a 'serious', 'boring' work relationship.

Please sum up your experience with Gap 360 in 10 words (or less)

Exciting, informative, eye opening, scary

Could we have done anything better?

Not that I can think of

Would you recommend Gap 360 Au Pair to a friend?



What was the highlight of your placement?

There is so much to say. I love meeting new people, seeing New York and New Jersey. I loved been picked up by my family and been welcomed in to the family. And I am most looking forward to the rest of the year.

Please describe your relationship with your host family

I feel I have a great relationship with my family. They were and still are very welcoming, I can approach them at any time with any issue or concern. I have bonded well with my host child. And have full enjoyed every moment so far and look forward to the rest of the year.

Please sum up your experience with Gap 360 in 10 words (or less)

Emma Larby at Gap 360 was amazing, helpful, professional, supportive.

Could we have done anything better?

I have had no concerns or issues so far, I feel my experiences with Gap 360 was great and wouldn't change a thing.

Would you recommend Gap 360 Au Pair to a friend?



Orientation – What to Expect

When you first arrive in the United States you’ll enjoy a 3-day orientation in New York City. This is a great opportunity to ease into life in America and to learn some important tips, rules and information about living abroad...

Continue reading


After reading this information you may have a few
'what if?' questions. Frequently asked questions include:

What if I am not happy with my host family?

We will ask you to stay with your host family for at least 30 days after you arrive. We find that there is a natural adjustment period for both the Au Pair and the host family and problems can usually be resolved within this time frame.

If you feel unhappy within the first couple of days or weeks we ask you to talk to your host family - usually communicating effectively helps. If you are still not happy then you can ask your local coordinator for a meeting where you can discuss your concerns. A 3 point meeting with your local coordinator and host family will then be arranged, where you will try and find ways to resolve the issue. You can then have a trial period after the meeting to see if your host family have made the changes that you require.

If you are still unhappy after 30 days, you will go in to what we call the transition period. We will try and find you an alternative host family and also find an alternative Au Pair for the host family.

If we cannot find you an alternative family within two weeks you will need to return home to the UK at your own cost.

If for any reason you were unhappy due to the host family breaking programme rules, you will be removed from the family home immediately and we will look after you until a replacement family can be found for you.

What if I cannot drive?

We can only accept applicants who have a full driving license. 95% of the American host families will request for their au pair to be able to drive. This is so the au pair can take the children to school and activity clubs and it allows the au pair to be independent from the host family. You will have full use of the family car which you can use to go to your cluster meetings, your educational classes and meet up with friends.

What if I get homesick?

The most important thing to remember is that it is normal to get homesick when you're off on a new adventure away from home, and every Au Pair has experienced homesickness, so you're not alone! You will have the support of your host parents, cluster group (where you will make friends with both other Au Pairs who have just joined the programme and those who are months in to their placement, so you can use their experience to help you) and your Local Coordinator so you will have plenty of support to get you through this tricky period.

Skype is an amazing invention too so you can video call your friends and family at home for free!

What if I do not fit all of the requirements for the programme?

We can only accept applicants who fit all of the requirements for the programme. If you believe that you are eligible for the programme you can contact our Au Pair Manager to discuss your eligibility.

What if I want to extend my placement?

Many of our Au Pairs decide to extend their placement and spend more time in America. You can extend for a further 6, 9 or 12 months; our friendly US programme representatives in New York will help you organise this.

How does the visa extension work?

After you have completed your 12 month placement and as long as you have met all of the requirements of the programme, the US government will allow you to extend your visa for 1 month. This is a great time to travel around America, finishing your incredible USA Au Pair year with an American holiday you'll never forget!

Do Au Pairs clean the house or do other domestic duties?

No. Au Pairs are treated as an extended member of the host family. Your duties as an Au Pair will all relate to taking care of the children. These responsibilities may include picking up after the children, preparing some meals, doing the children's laundry and performing certain regular chores. However, you will not be expected to clean the entire house, do the family laundry or to regularly prepare meals for the entire family.