What to Expect

What to Expect

Your responsibilities as a teacher in the United States might be different than what you’re used to in your home country. We do our best to make sure you’re prepared before you go into the classroom. If you have questions once you get here, don’t worry, we’re here to support you!

Your responsibilities

Your responsiblities as a teacher in America might be a little different than what you're used to. In general, you'll be expected to: 

  • Conduct daily instruction according to the state and local curriculum
  • Regularly assess your students’ progress and maintaining a careful records of student grades
  • Communicate with parents about their child’s progress
  • Develop a clear and transparent method of formulating grades
  • Publish grades according to your school’s schedule
  • Engage students in meaningful activity in a way that lets them be responsible for their own education

Your schedule

If you’re accepted to teach in America with FACES, you’ll sign a 12 month contract. In South Carolina, most schools are in session between 7:45 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. from August until the end of May. Teachers work 200 days per year and students attend class for 180 days. You’ll have a break from classes during the summer months and for two weeks during Christmas. You’ll never be asked to work on Saturday or Sunday.

Contracts are for a 12 month school year, but can be renewed for a second or third year.

General summary of fees

Although there are no costs involved with applying to the FACES Exchange Visitor Program, you will incur expenses while an exchange visitor teacher. The only expenses you will incur prior to arrival in South Carolina is to obtain a course-by-course evaluation (average cost is $150 USD), obtaining a police clearance (cost varies per country) and the application fee for obtaining a Visa (form DS-160, a non-refundable $185.00 USD nonimmigrant application processing fee). Each exchange visitor who applies for a visa at a U.S. embassy, or consulate, must pay the current nonimmigrant visa $185.00 USD application processing fee. When applying for Exchange Visitor (J1 status), FACES pays the exchange visitor's SEVIS (Student Exchange Visitors Information System) fee of $220 USD. Read more about current fees for State Department services. Visit Bureau of Consular Affairs on how to apply for a J visa.

  • Sponsor fee: FACES does not charge a sponsor fee to applicants or participating exchange visitor teachers ($0.00).
  • Sponsor fee for J2 dependents: FACES does not charge a fee for J2 dependents ($0.00).
  • Foreign or domestic third party or partner fees: FACES does not use any ($0.00)
  • Request for extension fee: FACES does not charge a fee for extension requests ($0.00)

Anticipated cost of living

The following monthly expenses are approximate $USD depending on lifestyle choices and based on 1 person (no family members). Based on 12 months, FACES teachers can earn a $2,700 to $5,200 per month before any taxes, or withholding. Salaries vary depending on verifiable experience and earned degrees.

  • Housing - $800 to $1500 per month depending on location, number(s) of bedroom(s), amenities, etc. This expense can be reduced with sharing rent with a roommate. Some accommodations come furnished.
  • Food - $300 to $400 depending on your appetite.
  • Utilities (electric and water) - $125 - $150 depending on amount of use. Some utility expenses are included in the housing rent.
  • Cell phone service - $50 - $100 depending on the usage and various carrier packages.
  • Automobile
    • $400 - $550 installment payments for financed loan repayments on used automobile costing $16,000 - $25,000.
    • Repair and fuel costs depend on vehicle use (approximately 10% of auto purchase).
    • $150 - $400 insurance premium depends on extent of coverage limits, type and age of vehicle acquired.
  • Income Taxes (Federal and State) - 16% of gross earned income.
  • Other Federal Taxes - 7.65% for Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) includes Social Security Tax and Medicare Tax for resident aliens. Upon arrival in the U.S. you are a nonresident alien. After approximately two years, your tax status changes to resident alien.
  • Health Insurance: All exchange visitor teachers are required to have insurance for sickness or accidents during the period that they participate in the exchange visitor program (accompanying spouses and dependents must be covered, as well). J1 participants may choose from the following Health Insurance options:

  1. Accident/Sickness Insurance for J1 Exchange Visitor Teachers provided by FACES:  

  • For J1: FACES covers 100% of the premium for participating J1 teachers. Medical/Accident insurance is provided to J1 at no cost by FACES. 

  • For J2 Dependents - J1 Exchange Visitor Teachers are responsible for adding their J2 dependents to the FACES policy when dependents arrive in the USA. The cost of dependents' accident/sickness insurance:

    • For J2 dependents under the age of 18, the current premium is $44.00 USD, per month, per child.

    • For J2 spouse coverage, the current premium is $198.00 USD, per month.

  1. Insurance may be obtained on your own, or through the host school district via payroll deduction. In 2022, employees in South Carolina paid on average $1,712 USD toward their insurance coverage. If choosing this option, FACES will enroll the J1 Exchange Visitor Teacher in a plan that covers the following US State Department-required benefits at no cost to the J1 Exchange Visitor Teacher ($50.00 USD, annually) as these benefits may not be covered in a typical host school district health plan: 

    1. Medical benefits of at least $100,000 per accident or illness;

    2. Repatriation of remains in the amount of $25,000;

    3. A deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness.

    4. NOTE: Accompanying spouse and dependents (J2) may be included in the health insurance obtained through the host school district but the J1 Exchange Visitor Teacher is responsible for paying the annual $50.00 USD cost to FACES to cover the US State Department-required benefits listed above

  • Other expenses - Entertainment, clothes, personal hygiene and other "cannot do without" items are determined by individual needs, or desires.

In addition, should you invite any immediate family member(s) to come stay with you, consider the extra expenses you will likely incur.