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Navigating Au Pair Classes: A Comprehensive Overview of Requirements

an au pair sitting with a young child reading a book

If you enjoy spending time with children and experiencing other cultures, then becoming an au pair could be your ticket to seeing the world and enhancing your resume. There are au pair classes and other requirements you’ll need to get started, but completing these requirements will allow you to travel and immerse yourself in a new culture with the support of a host family.

Au pairs assist families with young children in exchange for room, board, and pocket money. Au pairs’ duties typically include performing childcare tasks and providing the children with language tutoring. For young people who may never have traveled abroad before, working as an au pair offers an exciting way to experience a foreign country. In addition to the long-lasting bonds often formed with the host family, being an au pair can also be a stepping stone to a career in teaching. So, how do you become an au pair? What are the requirements, and where can you find au pair classes? Let’s dive in!

Want to learn more about becoming an au pair in the U.S.? Read our article, “Explore the World: Your Guide to Becoming an Au Pair in the USA.”

What are the requirements to be an au pair?

Requirements for au pairs may vary depending on the program. However, some basic requirements you can expect include:

  • Must be between 18-26 years of age
  • Must have a B1 level or higher of English proficiency
  • Must have some experience with children
  • Must have a high school or equivalent diploma
  • Must be in good health
  • Cannot have a criminal record
  • Must be willing to live abroad for one year
  • Must be willing to participate in a cultural exchange program
  • Must be willing to complete the required six credit hours of academic training (more on that below)

Interested in learning more about teaching English abroad requirements? Read an in-depth breakdown of what you really need to teach abroad.

a teacher showing letters to her young students
Being an au pair provides opportunities to explore a new country and culture while also building English teaching skills.

How do you meet the au pair educational requirements?

In the U.S., au pair programs are considered a type of cultural exchange program. Thus, applicants enter with a J-1 visa. To receive this au pair visa, applicants must complete au pair classes worth six credits (72 hours) at an accredited U.S. post-secondary educational institution (like Bridge). It’s worth noting that as part of your au pair benefits, you’ll receive up to $500 toward the cost of your course.

While all of Bridge’s courses are accredited, the 120-hour Master TEFL Certification meets these au pair credit requirements and is a popular choice among au pair courses. As an accredited training provider, Bridge provides TEFL certification courses that meet the requirements to teach English online and worldwide. The Master Certificate is an online, tutor-led course that can be completed at your own pace in three months or less. If you’re looking for au pair weekend classes, this is a good choice as the online course is self-paced, so you can complete it in your free time. Master Certificate students gain core teacher training, earn an English grammar certification, complete a specialized teaching module that introduces strategies to teach young learners, and complete a job advising module.

Not only will you meet au pair learning credit requirements, but you’ll also become a certified English teacher. Given the prominence of English in today’s world, TEFL teachers are in high demand, and becoming a certified ELT educator can open many career doors for you. You can choose to teach online and travel as a digital nomad, work in traditional schools or with online companies, or even start your own business as a teacherpreneur!

a woman stretching her arms up
Becoming an au pair is a great way to travel, as your basic needs of food and accommodation will be part of the program package.

Can au pairs take classes online?

The short answer is yes! Accredited online classes can be taken to fulfill U.S. au pair visa requirements. For example, the Bridge Master Certificate, which qualifies you to teach English as a foreign language, meets au pair education requirements and is 100 percent online. Taking an au pair course online gives you the freedom to complete the class on your own time, whether that’s during weekends or throughout the week.

What types of au pair courses meet the requirements?

In order to meet course requirements to secure an au pair visa, you’ll need to take a class that meets the following requirements:

  • The course should be worth six hours of academic credits.
  • The au pair class must be offered by an accredited U.S. post-secondary educational institution.

If you’re looking to meet these requirements or want to use your time as an au pair to jumpstart a career in education, you can take a course like Bridge’s 120-hour Master TEFL Certificate, which qualifies you for most English teaching jobs. This self-paced, tutor-led online course will give you a robust foundation in English language teaching techniques and lesson preparation skills, ensuring you step into the classroom with confidence.

Bridge courses allow you to earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs), nationally recognized units of participation in continuing education programs. Bridge (and, therefore, all of Bridge’s TEFL/TESOL courses) is accredited by ACCET (Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training) and AQUEDUTO (Association for Quality Education & Online Training).

The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) is the regulator of qualifications, examinations, and assessments in England and the regulator of vocational qualifications in Northern Ireland. Bridge courses have been similarly reviewed and recommended for university credit equivalencies by ACE CREDIT® (American Council on Education’s College Credit Recommendation Service) and many university partners.

Learn more about Bridge’s accreditation.

For young people with a desire to explore the world, working as an au pair offers a fantastic opportunity to travel and learn about a new culture in a structured, safe way. Start your journey today!

Learn more about the 120-hour Bridge Master TEFL Certificate course and how it can help you start your au pair adventure.

Linda D'Argenio is a native of Naples, Italy. She is a world language teacher (English, Italian, and Mandarin Chinese,) translator, and writer. She has studied and worked in Italy, Germany, China, and the U.S. In 2003, Linda earned her doctoral degree in Classical Chinese Literature from Columbia University. She has taught students at both the school and college levels. Linda lives in Brooklyn, NY.