What is an Au Pair?
An au pair is a young woman or man who has a genuine love for children and an interest in living and sharing their culture with an American family.
All au pairs are required to:
- Be between the ages of 18 and 26
- Have completed secondary school or its equivalent
- Be proficient in spoken English
- Possess a driver's license
Au pairs are also enthusiastic and mature with a desire to travel abroad to learn about other cultures while sharing their own.
What are an Au Pair Responsibilities?
Some of an au pair's responsibilities can include:
- Preparing meals for children
- Getting children ready for school
- Driving children to school and activities
- Tidying children’s rooms and doing children’s laundry
- Changing diapers, entertaining babies, feeding babies
- Taking toddlers to the park and activities
- Bathing, dressing and putting children to bed
- Supervising homework
- Playing with children, leading activities, teaching games, and songs
- Taking children on outings in local community
Responsibilities vary depending on the needs of the host family and their children.
Au pairs can work up to 45 hours per week and no more than 10 hours in a day.
As part of J-1 visa program requirements, au pairs are also required to complete at least six semester hours of academic credit at an accredited post-secondary institution during their time in the U.S.
Is Being an Au Pair Right For Me?
- Do you want to get to know a different culture and explore a foreign country?
- Do you want to improve your English language skills and gain new important experiences for your personal and professional future?
- Do you love caring for children?
- Do you want to participate in the life of an American family for a year?
If you have answered these questions with "Yes", then being an au pair might be right for you.
Being an au pair is an incredible opportunity to live and travel in another country long-term, however, there is also a great deal of responsibility, especially when it comes to childcare. It is important to be ready for any challenges you will encounter as an au pair both with the childcare and cultural changes. Au pairs need to be flexible and willing to adapt to a new culture and family setting.
What compensation do au pairs receive?
Au pairs are paid by their host families based upon 45 hours of child care per week in compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) at a currently minimum weekly rate of $195.75.
Additionally, au pairs are given a private bedroom and meals while living with their host family.
Au pairs are also given an educational stipend of up to $500 by host families to cover their J-1 educational program requirement.
What is a Host Family?
A host family has at least one child under the age of 16 requiring care and the desire to participate in long-term cultural exchange through welcoming an au pair into their home for a year. The au pair will live with the host family and participates in family activities such as outings, meals, and celebrations.
The main duty of an au pair living with a host family is looking after the children and helping with light housework connected to the care of the children. In return, the family provides the au pair with a room of his or her own in the family home, the program-specified weekly compensation, and educational program allowance.
Please see our Childcare Comparison page for further information comparing an au pair with other childcare programs.