We have listed the questions most frequently asked by teachers interested in our program. However, if you have a specific question that is not answered in this section please contact us and we will do our best to answer any questions that you may have.

What are the benefits of selecting EPI?

EPI teachers are paid on the same salary scale as US teachers and receive, health insurance benefits, visa sponsorship and ongoing program support throughout their participation.

How do I apply with EPI?

Begin by reviewing the basic eligibility requirements of the program. If you meet these requirements then click on the APPLY HERE button on the website and follow the steps. An EPI representative will review your application and contact you regarding your status.

What is the EPI application process?

Applying to EPI is a competitive process. It will take several weeks to complete the steps and will require you to submit an extensive amount of information and documents.

Step 1: Review Eligibility Requirements

Step 2: Register or Apply Online
Teachers interested in applying with EPI must first submit an Initial Contact Form (ICF) where we will ask you a few questions about your experience, your country of residence and the subjects you teach. Based on the information that you provide, you may be asked to submit the online application. EPI receives many inquiries from teachers, but we have only a certain number of positions that we can offer each year. When we are ready to consider your application, we will contact you via email. If you are contacted, we strongly suggest sending in the requested documents as soon as possible. You will also be required to submit a video of yourself. We will use this video to evaluate your English speaking and competency skills. This video will also be sent to schools that will consider you for a suitable placement. Following directions closely will help increase your chances of being placed in a school.

Step 3: Submit Required Documents
If your ICF is accepted, EPI will ask you to submit a series of documents to accompany your application. These documents, which include reference forms, official transcripts, current criminal background check and several other items, will help us further determine your eligibility for the program. Submitting these documents in a timely manner will improve your likelihood of obtaining a position in the United States with EPI.

Step 4: Complete Interview:
When your application has been submitted and accepted, we will invite you to participate in an interview either in person or via skype to discuss your application and evaluate your compatibility with our program requirements.

Step 5: Notification of Program Eligibility:
After a successful personal interview and submission of all requested documents, EPI will review your complete application package to ensure that you meet all EPI requirements and are eligible for a U.S. teaching license and visa.

Step 6: Consider U.S. Teacher Position:
EPI will share your information with U.S. school districts that are interested in hiring international teachers. Your EPI placement consultant will notify you if a school is interested in hiring you or speaking with you by phone about a teaching position.

Step 7: Accept Position!
Some U.S schools can accept applicants as early as March or April, but most of the schools tend to hire many of their new teachers and trainees between May and August. Once you have an offer, you will need to be ready to accept and move in a timely fashion. Despite the fact that most schools begin the academic year at the end of August, remember that some schools continue to fill positions as late as September, based on student enrollment and budget.

When do positions begin and end?

School year dates can vary depending on which school and state you are placed. Typically, the U.S. school year will begin in mid-August and will continue until late May or early June. EPI teachers are given holidays and time off according to the school district policies and procedures. If you are placed in a traditional school, you will enjoy approximately two weeks of holiday time in December/January and about two months of time off during the summer. EPI teachers often use this time to travel around the U.S. or visit home.

Teachers who accept a position in the U.S. should review the School Districts handbook to determine when they are required to report to their school. EPI teachers are expected to work all days in the school calendar including required and optional teacher workdays, unless you have prior approval.

In which states does EPI currently offer teaching positions?

EPI currently works with school districts located in North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida.

How long can I stay in the U.S.?

The J-1 Exchange Visitor visa issued to each EPI teacher is valid for up to three years. Teachers and school districts can renew the contract with mutual consent at the end of the first and second years of employment. At the end of three years, EPI teachers are expected to return to their home countries to share their cultural experiences from the U.S. NOTE: Currently, teachers working in North Carolina and South Carolina may apply for a two (2) year extension for a total stay of five (5) years.

How will my English language fluency be evaluated?

EPI evaluates English proficiency through telephone conversations, personal interviews and video submissions which are all conducted in English. EPI applicants are not required to take an English exam (such as the TOFEL).

How long does it take to adjust to life as a teacher in the U.S.?

Many EPI candidates refer to their first year as challenging due to the number of changes they experience. You must deal with a new country, culture, school system, new teaching colleagues, a new home, new foods, new friends, etc. Cultural adaptation requires a significant adjustment period as you move through the various phases. It typically takes at least six months to begin to adapt to the new culture.

What is the salary of an EPI teacher?

EPI teachers are paid on the same salary scale as U.S. teachers, according to education and prior teaching experience. The average annual salary for EPI teachers ranges between $30,000 and $40,000USD. Your salary will be determined by years of teaching experience and by the policies of the district where you teach. You must have at least two years of teaching experience to be eligible for this program. In some cases, teachers may receive a higher salary for advanced degrees. When you receive an offer, EPI will provide you with an estimate of the salary that the district will provide.

How is travel arranged and is it paid for?

EPI provides first-year teachers with an airline ticket. If the ticket is over $750USD then the teacher will be required to pay the difference. We arrange the travel plans and email you with an itinerary shortly before your travel to the U.S. Upon arrival, you will be picked up and transported to an Arrival Orientation. Additional travel to and from your country for holidays or travel must be purchased at your expense, including a return ticket at the end of the program. All travel for family members is also at your own expense.

Will I have medical benefits?

EPI provides an accidental and illness policy for all of its J-1 and J-2 participants. It also includes repatriation in the event of death and medical evacuation to your home country in the event of a serious accident or illness that will not be treated in the U.S. The U.S. Department of State defines in its regulations for J-1 programs the requirements for insurance for all J-1 participants. Our coverage exceeds J-1 regulatory requirements. EPI insurance is provided to the J-1 teacher at a minimal cost to the individual. You may NOT opt out of the minimal coverage required by the regulations; however, you may certainly research additional insurance if you wish. Any additional coverage will be at the expense of the J-1 teacher.

Can my family accompany me to the U.S.?

EPI does sponsor the immediate family members as dependents on the J-2 visa. Family members eligible for the J-2 sponsorship include a legal spouse and dependent children under the age of 21. If your J-2 dependent turns 21 while in the U.S., they will be required to leave the country at that time. EPI encourages the EPI applicants to consider the costs of supporting a family when they apply to the program. In order for your spouse to work on a J-2 visa, they must submit a work authorization application as well as the required application fee to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The approval process may take as long as 90 days.

What else should I know about bringing my family to the U.S.?

As a requirement of the J-1 Visa, you must have sufficient financial resources to pay for all of the expenses of each accompanying family members on a J-2 visa during participation in the program. There are significantly higher costs for each additional person you bring, such as insurance, food, housing, childcare and travel. One or two people can live comfortably on a teacher’s salary, assuming that you do not have outstanding financial obligations.

Your child may be able to attend the school where you will be teaching, depending on the grade level you teach and your child’s age. After accepting a position, you should contact the school district to find out its enrollment requirements. In many public school districts, the school that the dependent attends will be determined based on where they live, so you may want to consider this when choosing housing.

How to obtain a Credentials Evaluation

Please wait to start the Credential Evaluation process until after you pass your interview with EPI. If you need to get a Credential Evaluation earlier in the process, EPI will notify you directly.

Prior to applying for a teaching license, each educator must obtain a “course by course” credentials evaluation to determine the U.S. equivalency of their degree(s). As outlined in the agreement, EPI is not responsible for covering the costs associated with a credentials evaluation for each educator as each educator is responsible for obtaining their own evaluation. As we understand this procedure may appear complex, we have outlined the process for you.

All candidates should work directly with EPI before pursuing a credential evaluation with any of these companies as to make sure you choose the correct company for your degree and experience. Once you pass your interview with EPI, please email team@teachwithepi.com before starting the credential evaluation process so we can help guide you.


Step 1: Gather the following documents:

  • Complete transcripts, including graduate and undergraduate degrees, in the original language
  • All diplomas and relevant certificates, in the original language
  • Official English translations of all transcripts and certificates
  • Current resume, in English
  • Copy of your passport

Step 2: Forward your documents to ONE of the following evaluators:

If you completed your Bachelor's Degree in less than 3 years, please stop, and ask for guidance on which Credential Evaluator to use. Some Credential Evaluators will not recognize a Bacherlor's Degree if earned in less than 3 years! Please email team@teachwithepi.com for further guidance.

Evaluation Services, Inc.

333 W. North Avenue, #284
Chicago, IL 60610
nkatz@evaluationservice.net
Tel. (847) 477-8569
Fax. (312) 587-3068
Fee: $160.00
* You must indicate you are an EPI applicant.

WES

64 Beaver St, #146
New York, NY 10004
http://www.wes.org/fees/evaltypes.asp
Tel. (212) 966-6311
Fax. (212) 739-6100
Evaluation Fee: $160.00
* You must submit original documents.

* Please request for a digital copy of your evaluation to be forwarded to team@teachwithepi.com, if available. While you are not required to use one of these Credential Evaluation Services, we only accept Credential Evaluations from approved NACES organizations. For a complete list, visit: http://www.naces.org/members.html

Step 3: Notify EPI of your request

Contact EPI to notify her you have submitted your request for a credentials evaluation within three days. Please let us know if you may have any questions or if you have encountered any complications with your request.

How do I determine my English proficiency?

Refer to the descriptions listed below to select the level of proficiency that best applies to you.

Native

Your native language is English.

Near Native

You are able to understand and speak English at a level comparable to an educated native speaker in any and all contexts and situations although your accent or inflection indicates that you are not a native speaker of the language.

Superior

You are able to understand and speak English with sufficient accuracy and fluency to communicate and participate effectively in all social and professional contexts/situations. You can explain in detail, describe, and narrate in all time frames with relative ease. At times, idiomatic expressions, specialized vocabulary, or grammatical usage may pose challenges, but never enough to interfere with the normal ebb and flow of communication.

Advanced

You are able to understand and speak English in everyday situations and converse on practical topics and most professional topics in your area, but you have vocabulary limitations and/or "grammatical roughness" in your language usage. At times, you require clarification and, when necessary, you are able to “circumlocute” (speak around a topic) to convey your meaning clearly.

Intermediate

You have a basic knowledge and understanding of the English language but lack the accuracy and fluency in English to consistently sustain communications clearly and effectively in professional situations without significant pauses, gaps, and interruptions. You have difficulty understanding in contexts that are not familiar to you or when you hear different accents and/or idiomatic expressions. You often require repetition and rephrasing and you are limited in expressing yourself clearly and precisely. Even though, you are able to eventually “negotiate meaning”, your accent, limited vocabulary and facility in manipulating the language are obvious and can present significant obstacles to effective communication.

Are you ready to teach with EPI?

In order to be considered as a candidate for the EPI J-1 Exchange Visitor Program, you must meet ALL of the following basic eligibility requirements, as dictated by the U.S. Department of State:

  • Professional degree equivalent to a Bachelor’s Degree in the USA (4 yrs. of formal education at an accredited university).
  • Be a non-US resident or citizen.
  • Advanced written and verbal proficiency in English. For self-assessment guide, click here.
  • Two years of FULL TIME QUALIFIED teaching experience.
  • Valid e-mail address.

All written and verbal communications between EPI and its applicants will be conducted in English.

General Summary of Fees

Costs teachers can expect to pay while they are on exchange. Fees and costs vary by country, so we provide a range of costs to encompass all of the countries that Educational Partners International, LLC serves. All costs are listed in $USD.

EPI pays these fees for our J-1 visa holders:
Sponsor Fees
Placement Fees
Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) Fees
Foreign or Domestic Third Party or Partner Fees*

EPI will never charge you an application fee!

100% of EPI teachers are paid on the same salary scale as US teachers.

J-1 Teachers with EPI make a monthly salary (12 months) between $2,916 and $5,416 before taxes and withholdings. Salary is based on experience and placement location.

See Net Salary Estimates

Monthly Cost Estimates

Estimate of Monthly Costs for a single J-1 Visa Holder while in the United States of America. Costs will increase based on family size.
Cost Low High
Insurance Costs Estimates $75 $300

Insurance costs are based on an average formula derived from the Affordable Care Act. The age of the policyholder is one of the few characteristics insurers are permitted to use for determining health insurance premiums. A large portion of health insurance costs will depend upon the amount of coverage a plan provides as well as where the participant lives.

Food Costs Estimates $271 $301

Food costs are based on the “low-cost plan” taken from the Department of Agriculture report Official USDA Food Plans: Cost of Food at Home at Four Levels. This plan is the second-least-expensive of four types of food plans and assumes almost all food is bought at the grocery store and then prepared at home. The USDA food plans represent the amount families need to spend to achieve nutritionally adequate diets.

Housing Costs Estimates $504 $950

Housing costs are based on the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s fair market rents, which represent rents (shelter rent plus utilities) at the 40th percentile for privately owned, structurally safe, and sanitary rental housing of a modest nature with suitable amenities. Studio apartments were used for one-person families, one-bedroom apartments for two-adult families, two-bedroom apartments for families with one or two children, and three-bedroom apartments for families with three or four children.

Transportation Costs Estimates $475 $712

Transportation expenses are based on the costs of owning and operating a car for work and other necessary trips. The National Household Travel Survey is used to derive costs based on average miles driven per month by size of the metropolitan statistical area or rural area and multiplied by the cost per mile, as provided by the Internal Revenue Service.

Potential Costs

Applicants to the EPI Program may incur some personal costs to their collection of documents necessary to prove eligibility for a J-1 visa including credential evaluations ($150-$260), visa application fee (currently $160), proficiency tests related to certification (currently $90-$200), and criminal background check. Program participants will be charged a $200 paperwork processing fee for J-2 dependents. These costs are directly associated to the person and may range in value depending on the country of origin and/or residency.

* Third Parties are limited to official partners of Educational Partners International, LLC (EPI) designated by EPI.

Net Salary Estimates

Your salary quote is based on the state salary schedule for 2017-18 since the 2018-19 salary schedule has not been finalized yet. If the district and state budget increases or decreases this year or if they give teachers raises, your salary will be adjusted to whatever the state approves. Your salary should be close to this estimate. Your stipend or wages might not cover all of your expenses and you should bring additional personal funds to assist with relocating to the United States of America. Please see the below form for an estimated net salary. Please keep in mind that your Country may or may not have a tax treaty with the US.

Quoted Salary Federal Income Tax (~15%) State Income Tax (~7%) Net Salary *
32,000 4800 2240 24,960
35,000 5250 2450 27,300
38,000 5700 2660 29,640
41,000 6150 2870 31,980
44,000 6600 3080 34,320
47,000 7050 3290 36,660
50,000 7500 3500 39,000
53,000 7950 3710 41,340
56,000 8400 3920 43,680
59,000 8850 4130 46,020
62,000 9300 4340 48,360
65,000 9750 4550 50,700
68,000 10200 4760 53,040

* Net Salary is based on estimates only. The actual Net Salary may vary based on personal circumstances, Federal and State laws and IRS regulations.

DS-160 and Consular Processing Tips

paperwork

When you are completing the DS-160 online and preparing to apply for your J visa, here are some helpful hints:

  1. Give yourself at least 3-4 hours to fill out the DS-160 online; save your application every 5 minutes as you complete it so the internet doesn't "time out."
  2. Give yourself at least 2 hours to prepare a digital photo according to the consulate's specifications. If the photo is a bad upload, you will be sent away from the consulate until you return with a proper one. Remember you will need a regular "hard" passport photo at your interview, not just the digital one from your DS-160 application.
  3. Print the DS-160 answers before you submit the DS-160 application, because once you hit "submit" it prints a confirmation page, and nothing else. You will need a copy for your records and EPI's. Upload the printed DS-160 answers to your EPI application profile under "Other Documents."
  4. Then, when you submit the DS-160 online, a Confirmation Page will be generated. Upload this DS-160 confirmation page to your application under "Other Documents."
  5. Email team@teachwithepi.com once you have scheduled your Consular appointment with the date of the appointment.

Personal Information

  • Other names used (if a married woman, maiden name) –Please list your maiden name; married name; and any aliases or other names. This is very important for background check purposes.
  • A marital status of "single" means that you have never been married. If you have been divorced please indicate "divorced" in your status. Even divorced individuals must provide information on the DS-160 regarding the ex-spouse. And, if you are only legally separated you must still indicate "married" and provide your soon-to-be-ex-spouse's information on the DS-160.
  • Contact phone numbers are essential should the U.S. Embassy need to contact you. Use phone numbers where people can actually call you!
  • If you lie or purposely omit information on your visa application it is cause for termination of your J-1 program and it can also prevent you from all future visas.

Travel Information:

  • Purpose of your trip: Exchange Visitor (J)
  • Specify: Exchange Visitor (J1)
  • Intended Length of Stay: 3 Years
  • Address where you will stay in the US:
    105 Whitson Ave
    Swannanoa, NC 28778
    (We will change this in the SEVIS system once you have a local address in the US)
  • Person/Entity Paying for Your Trip: SELF
  • For the question "have you made specific travel arrangements?" you can say "no."

US Contact Information:

  • Contact Person Name in the US: Debra Martin
  • Organization Name in the US: Educational Partners Intl
  • Relationship to You: Other (Program Sponsor)
  • US Contact Address:
    105 Whitson Ave
    Swannanoa, NC 28778
  • Phone Number: 828-239-9930
  • Email Address: Does Not Apply

Work, Education, Training Information:

  • Present Employer: This is your home country school, not your future US school.
  • Monthly salary applies if you are employed; don’t be thrown off by mention of local currency. You list gross (pre-tax) salary, not net salary.

Student / Exchange Visa Information:

  • SEVIS ID: (We will email you this)
  • Program number: EPI's program number is P-4-12499
  • Do you intend to study in the US?" – The answer is no (although, you are allowed to take classes part-time, the focus of your program is not "study"). Even though you answer "no" to this question, the form will later say "you have indicated you may study in the US; please provide 2 contacts." This is correct, and yes, you should provide the 2 contacts. These contacts should reside in your country of residence and should not be family members. It is because your program is not a "work visa" but rather involves learning, professional development, and teaching in a teacher position.

Paying your $160 visa application fee

The consulate has specific instructions that you need to follow for paying the $160 visa application fee. You must pay the non-refundable $160 visa application fee to receive an appointment for a nonimmigrant visa interview. You will need to bring the $160 receipt with you to your consular appointment.

$180 SEVIS Fee - You don't need to pay this $180 fee, because EPI will pay the $180 for you. We will email you a receipt. It is referred to as the SEVIS I-901 Fee.

J-2 dependents

  • You must complete a DS-160 online for each spouse or child accompanying you in J-2 status.
  • Each spouse or child who needs J-2 status also will need a DS-2019 form
  • The $180 SEVIS fee paid for your J-1 covers the J-2 family as well, but each family member must pay the $160 visa application fee.
  • When you do the DS-160 for each family member, upload the DS-160 form (prior to submission, it can be printed) and the DS-160 confirmation page, to the EPI website under Other Documents.

After submitting your DS-160, book your visa appointment!

  • Remember, within 1 to 2 days of getting your SEVIS number, you need to book your visa appointment.
  • Email team@teachwithepi.com as soon as you book your appointment date.
  • Don't wait to book the visa appointment; if you don't book within 1-2 days, there will be problems getting an appointment. The consular visa appointments fill up VERY FAST and there is no time to lose.

Standard Exchange Teacher Job Description

Salary: Refer to the Teacher Salary Scale for the state where you are placed

Position Goals: To plan, organize, and present instruction and instructional environments with a cultural perspective that help students learn subject matter and skills that will contribute to their educational and social development in the 21st century.

 

QUALIFICATIONS:

  1. Minimum Bachelor's degree or US equivalent in either education or the subject area (or related subjects) from an approved education program.
  2. Minimum of two years of post-degree full-time teaching experience
  3. Currently employed as a teacher at the primary or secondary level or seeking an advanced degree
  4. Advanced proficiency of the English Language

 

PERFORMANCE RESPONSIBILITIES:

  1. Ability to differentiate instruction to meet the needs of all learners.
  2. Ability to plan, coordinate, and continuously improve instruction.
  3. Ability to analyze situations, determine possible options, and make appropriate decisions based on the data.
  4. Ability to use a variety of equipment and classroom tools.
  5. Ability to manage instructional time and student behavior.
  6. Ability to motivate students.
  7. Ability to consult with parents, teachers, administrators, and the community to enhance the learning of students.
  8. Ability to monitor student performance.
  9. Ability to interact within the educational environment.
  10. Ability to perform non-instructional duties as assigned.

 

KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS:

Leadership & Respect

  • Leads in the classroom by taking responsibility for all students’ learning.
  • Demonstrates leadership in the school by working collaboratively with all school personnel to create a professional learning community.
  • Demonstrates high ethical standards
  • Embraces diversity in the school community and in the world by demonstrating knowledge of diverse cultures.
  • Adapts teaching for the benefit of students with special needs by collaborating with specialists.
  • Works collaboratively with the families and significant adults in the lives of their students by improving communication and collaboration between the school and the home and community.

Facilitates Learning:

  • Aligns instruction with their state’s Standard Course of Study.
  • Plans instruction appropriate for students by collaborating with colleagues and using a variety of data sources for planning.
  • Uses a variety of instructional methods by choosing methods and techniques that are most effective in meeting the needs of students.
  • Integrates and utilizes technology in instruction by knowing when and how to use technology to maximize student learning.
  • Uses a variety of methods to assess what each student has learned by using multiple indicators to evaluate student progress.
  • Analyzes student learning by thinking systematically and critically about student learning.
  • Links professional growth to professional goals by participating in continued, high quality professional development that reflects a global view of educational practices.

 

TERM OF EMPLOYMENT: 10 Months, unless otherwise specified.

WORK HOURS: Varies based on school schedule. Based on a standard 40 hour work week, but additional hours may be required.

EVALUATION: Performance will be evaluated in accordance to guidelines specified by the school board of host school district.

INSTRUCTIONS TO APPLICANTS: Follow the Application Process Instructions on the Educational Partners International, LLC’s website: www.teachwithepi.com

EDUCATIONAL PARTNERS INTERNATIONAL, LLC IS AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY SPONSOR