Per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job opportunities for teachers will grow over the next 10 years as more experienced instructors from the baby-boom generation retire. As a result, math, science, and bilingual education instructors will be in great demand.

This article will inform you about immigration visas for teachers to the U.S., types of teacher visas, U.S. teacher visa benefits, and teaching salaries in the U.S.

Is Teaching in the US the Right Career for You?

A profession in teaching may fit you if you are a kind, loving, and sensitive person who is enthusiastic about a subject or assisting children.

The abilities you need may vary depending on the position you take on. This is because of the fact that the needs of a child in elementary school are not the same as those of a senior in high school. However, to flourish as a teacher, you will often need:

  • Academic achievements (a bachelor’s degree or above)
  • Excellent communication abilities
  • Exceptional organizing abilities
  • A drive to get the best out of people
  • Willingness to accept responsibility
  • Passion, tenacity, and vigor
  • Adaptability to new challenges and circumstances

If you want to be a teacher, there are a variety of degrees and programs available to help you acquire the qualifications you need.

Types of Teaching Jobs and Careers in the U.S. for Immigrants

Teachers operate in a wide range of educational settings. Teachers work with students of different ages, from primary school through adulthood.

As a teacher, you may have expertise in a particular field and teach in high school. The titles of teachers differ. They include positions such as:

  • Preschool teachers
  • Kindergarten teachers
  • Early childhood educators
  • Middle school teachers
  • High school teachers
  • English teachers
  • ESL teachers (English as a second language)
  • History teachers
  • Math teachers
  • Special education teachers
  • Music teachers
  • Science teachers
  • Physical education teachers
  • Adult and continuing education teachers

Some teachers progress to school leadership positions, such as principals, and eventually become school administrators. As a teacher, you can remain in the classroom, change the age group or topic you teach, or move into administration. In education, there are several options for variation and professional advancement.

infographic How to Immigrate to the US as a Teacher

What are Degree Requirements for a Teaching Career in the US?

If you’re a teaching assistant, a bachelor’s degree is usually one of the criteria for getting a full-time classroom teaching job. Per the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the following are the sorts of education careers you might be able to pursue with each level of degree:

Bachelor’s degree in education

  • Kindergarten and elementary general education school teacher
  • Middle school teacher
  • High school teacher
  • Special education teaching
  • ESL(English as a second language) teacher

Master’s in teaching (MAT) or Master’s in education (MED)

Teachers of

  • Kindergarten and elementary school teacher
  • Middle school teacher
  • High school teacher
  • Postsecondary teacher
  • Special education teacher
  • ESL teacher

Doctorate in education (EdD)

Although most U.S. states do not mandate kindergarten and elementary school teachers, middle school teachers, high school teachers, special education teachers, or English as a second language instructor to get a doctorate, some may opt to do so. In addition, a Ph.D. may be necessary for a postsecondary teaching position.

What are the Basic Requirements for Immigrant Teachers in the US?

  • They must first receive official teacher training from a recognized university to qualify for an American Bachelor’s degree. Bachelor’s degrees equal four years of study. They exceed the educational requirements if they have an equivalent US Masters or Ph.D. degree.
  • The teachers must next find a competent employer willing to hire them as teachers.

Types of U.S. Nonimmigrant Visas for Immigrant Teachers

H-1B Visa for Teachers

The H-1B visa program permits foreign employees in specialty occupations to reside and work in the United States temporarily. Meanwhile, Unlike other nonimmigrant categories, H-1B employees are not required to retain a residency in their native country during their stay in the United States. The H-1B visa is a “dual-purpose” visa that allows workers to apply for lawful permanent residence status.

A “specialty occupation” is defined under the Immigration and Nationality Act as an employment occupation that requires specialized knowledge and training and a bachelor’s degree or higher in the particular field (or its equivalent) as a minimum entry requirement.

The teaching profession must be a specialty occupation in order for the teacher to be qualified for an H-1B visa, which means that a bachelor’s degree or higher or its equivalent must generally be the minimum qualification for the post.

The instructor must also have the necessary education and experience for the specialist vocation, such as a U.S. bachelor’s degree or higher or its international equivalent, or education, training, or experience in the specialty equal to the fulfillment of such degree. In addition, if state licensure is necessary for practice in the state, the teacher must get it or proof from the licensing board demonstrating that the instructor has completed all qualifications for the license except the holding of a visa or social security number.

The company that wishes to sponsor a foreigner as a teacher for an H-1B visa has to first get a certified Labor Condition Application (LCA) from the U.S. Department of Labor, which includes basic information about the prospective H-1B employment, including pay, term of employment, and place of work. The company will also attest in the LCA to the H-1B employee’s salaries and working conditions, among other things.

The foreign teacher may be accepted for a three-year initial period with a three-year extension for a total of six years. In addition, an H-4 visa is accessible for the spouse and single children under 21, letting them live in the United States but not work.

65,000 H-1B visas are available each fiscal year in the H-1B category. Fiscal year filing begins on April 1 or six months before the fiscal year begins, which runs from October 1 to September 30. Several years ago, the H-1B quota was reached within the first week of filing.

Nevertheless, not all H-1B applications are subject to the cap. For example, the cap does not apply to employees hired by institutes of higher education, a linked or connected nonprofit corporation, a nonprofit research organization, or a governmental research agency.

The employer submits the H-1B petition on Form I-129. It is filed with the certified LCA, together with documentation that the employee qualifies as a specialized profession and proof that the beneficiary instructor possesses the necessary degree and license to practice the occupation.

J-1 Visa for Teachers

The J-1 visa is suited for a foreign individual who temporarily arrives in the United States for training, research, or education as part of an exchange visitor program.

To be eligible for a J-1 visa, a foreign teacher needs a sponsor who is authorized by the teacher exchange program. This program will screen and select the instructors and oversee their stay in the U.S.

Foreign instructors can work as primary or secondary school teachers and college or university teachers, and research scholars.

Foreign exchange teachers in the Teacher exchange program must be fully qualified to teach at an accredited primary or secondary school, have at least three years of experience teaching in primary or secondary schools, and be citizens of their home country. Teachers can stay in the United States under this program for three years.

Foreign citizens in the Professor category primarily teach, lecture, observe or consult at postsecondary authorized educational institutions. On the other hand, research Scholars work mainly at research centers, research facilities, and similar sorts of institutions, doing research, monitoring, or consulting on research studies. The maximum involvement term for Research Scholars and Professors has been extended from three to five years.

After completing the exchange program, the J-1 visa owner must return to their home country for two years before transferring to an H or L nonimmigrant category or applying for permanent residence. A waiver is allowed under specific situations if the two-year overseas residency requirement applies.

Note: A J-1 visa owner’s spouse is qualified for a J-2 visa, which allows them to work in the United States.

The P-3 Visa For Teachers

The P-3 visa category is for foreign people who are visiting America temporarily to perform, teach, or coach as an artist or entertainment as part of a culturally specific program. Thus, foreign citizen art teachers and trainers who deliver instruction or training through a culturally distinct curriculum may consider applying for a P-3 visa.

To be qualified for a P-3 visa, a foreign citizen teacher must be traveling to the United States either alone or with a group to coach or teach a traditional or peculiar ethnic, folk, cultural, musical, dramatic, or artistic performance, art form, or presentation. Furthermore, they must be visiting the United States to take part in a cultural event or activities that will further the knowledge or development of their art form.

The O-1 Visa For Teachers

The O-1 visa category is reserved for foreign people with exceptional aptitude in science, art, education, business, or athletics. To be qualified for a U.S. O-1 visa, the foreign citizen must have demonstrated outstanding skill by sustained national or worldwide recognition. Extraordinary Ability in education refers to a degree of competence suggesting that the individual is one of a small fraction that has climbed to the very top of their field of endeavor. It is an extremely high bar, and only the most gifted persons will be granted an O-1 visa for instructors.

Foreign people with an O-1 visa might be accepted for up to three years at first. Foreign teachers may be granted visa extensions in one-year increments.

Spouses and single children under 21 of a foreign citizen teacher may gain O-3 status and go to school or college in the United States, but they cannot work.

R-1 Visa For Teachers

The R-1 visa type applies to foreign people who temporarily come to the United States to work as a religious minister or in a religious vocation or activity that incorporates professionals like teachers. It should be noted that the position must be religious. For example, teaching math at a religious school may not qualify.

To be qualified for a U.S. R-1 visa, the foreign citizen teacher must have been a member of a religious denomination with a legitimate nonprofit religious organization in the United States for at least two years before filing the petition.

Q-1 Visa For Teachers

The Q-1 visa category is reserved for USCIS-approved foreign cultural exchange programs. For example, a foreign citizen teacher may be qualified for the Q-1 visa if they want to engage in a cultural exchange program that provides technical learning or employment while also sharing the history, culture, and customs of the foreign national teacher’s home country.

Among other things, the employer must demonstrate that the program will take place in a public environment for the culture to be shared with the public. A language instructor is an instance of a position that could qualify for the Q-1.

Types of U.S. Immigrant Visas (Green Card) for Foreign Teachers

EB-1 Visa For Teachers

Foreign citizens with exceptional talent in science, art, education, business, or athletics and excellent academics and researchers may be eligible for a green card under this visa. The EB-1 preference is for “priority employees.” The labor certification requirement does not apply. Under this category, you cannot find any waiting time for an immigrant at the moment.

EB-2 Visa For Teachers

The EB-2 category allows for categorizing two sorts of workers: extraordinary ability immigrants and advanced degree professionals. Except for inhabitants of certain countries, the EB-2 category is typically less backlogged than the EB-3 category.

In most cases, a labor certification is necessary. Unless the alien seeks an exception from the job offer requirement by applying for a national interest waiver, the I-140 petition is filed by an employer. If the waiver is deemed to serve the interests of the United States, the exemption from the job offer standard and labor certification standard will be granted.

EB-3 Visa For Teachers

Professionals having only bachelor’s degrees in their areas are eligible for the EB-3 visa category. This group also includes skilled employees who have at least two years of job experience or training and unskilled workers who have less than two years of practice or experience.

Teachers must have labor certification and an employment offer from a U.S. firm. As a result, the EB-3 category has a longer waiting list than other employment-based categories.

The visa application must be supported by confirmation that the foreign teacher has a bachelor’s degree in the United States of America or a comparable foreign degree. The vocation needs a bachelor’s degree for entrance.

Benefits of Teaching in the U.S.

Depending on your professional objectives and preferred workplace culture, there are several advantages to being a teacher. For example, teachers are often eligible for health insurance for themselves and their families, including medical, dental, and vision care. Teachers are also given sick leave and paid time off.

The work schedule is another advantage of becoming a teacher. While many instructors work on projects for their courses outside of regular school hours, teachers can usually expect a predetermined schedule of when they’ll need to be in a classroom and when they’ll have to attend office hours. In addition, there are often lengthy breaks for students and staff for elementary, middle, and high school instructors, including summer vacation and spring break.

Teachers may no longer be obliged to dwell in a single area, thanks to online capabilities. Some online schools and classes allow teachers to teach from any location on the planet.

Salary of Teachers in the U.S.

SchoolAverage Salary
Elementary School Teacher$65,420
Elementary School Teacher$64,990
School Counselor$62,320
Child and Family Social Worker$52,370

What U.S. States Have the Best Teaching Salaries?

The highest-paying states for teachers are determined by several criteria: demand, living costs, and state teacher certification requirements. Kindergarten and elementary level teachers (except special education) are in the top five highest-paying states in 2020, according to the BLS, followed by middle school and secondary school teachers (except career and technical education):

  • New York
  • Connecticut
  • Massachusetts

Note: Also, in 2020, California placed in the top five states in terms of salary for elementary school teachers and middle and high school teachers.

The Best-Paying States for High School Teachers

The U.S. stateSalary
New York$88,890
New Jersey$78,900

Do You Need a State License to immigrate to the USA as a Teacher?

Before you may teach in most states, you must first get a teaching license. Sadly, because the standards differ by state, we cannot give precise licensing requirements for each state. Please contact the Human Resources department of the school district that is offering you a job offer to discover your licensing needs. If your state needs a teaching license, you must hold that license before the CIS can approve your H-1B visa.

Before you may receive a teaching license in many states, you must have an SSN or Social Security Number and fingerprints. Fingerprints can be taken at the U.S. embassy and transmitted to the proper licensing board. You must be physically present in the United States to receive an SSN. To enter the United States, you must have a visa, which was a significant barrier for foreign instructors until recently.

On November 20, 2001, the CIS issued a judgment indicating that if the only hurdle to your getting licensed is acquiring a Social Security Number, an H-1B permit for one year will be provided. You must receive your SSN within that year and have a valid teaching license by the time you renew your H-1B visa. Please see the file titled Social Security Cards and the Adjudication of H-1B application on the left for a copy of this decision.

What are the Eligibility Requirements to Immigrate to the USA as a Teacher?

Foreign teachers must satisfy specific requirements to become qualified for teaching jobs. These requirements are:

  • Fluency in spoken and written English
  • A university degree from your native country that is comparable to a four-year bachelor’s degree in the United States. A Master’s degree improves your chances of admission. The university, as mentioned earlier, the degree must correspond to the topic you wish to teach when you arrive in the United States. As an example:
    • A Chemistry Education Degree is required to teach Chemistry. It cannot be substituted for a Geography or Mathematics Degree.
    • Geography is a subject that requires a degree in Geography; a degree in Special Education will not suffice.
    • To teach French, one is required to be a native French speaker or hold a degree in French Teaching.
  • Your stated university degree must include a component of teaching. For example, you must have finished pedagogy, teaching techniques, psychological development, a teaching internship, etc.
  • After receiving your bachelor’s degree, at least two years of classroom teaching experience is necessary.
  • A valid driver’s license and at least two years of driving experience are required.
  • Official good behavior certificate from your local police station or Criminal Investigations Department (CID).
  • You should be in good health overall.
  • A sponsoring organization in the United States. For teachers from Kenya, the Foreign Academic and Cultural Exchange Services is now the only sponsoring organization for teachers to move to the United States (FACES). You will live and work in South Carolina if you immigrate via FACE.

What are the Most Sought Subject Areas to Immigrate to the U.S. As a Teacher?

Though the most desired subjects will differ from sponsor to sponsor, the most preferred subjects are below:

PhysicsMathematicsSpecial Education
BiologyElementary EducationChemistry
Foreign languages – Mandarin Chinese, French, Spanish, German, etc

What are the Top Teacher Export Countries to the USA?

According to the Exchange Visitor (J1) nonimmigrant visa program, the top ten nations exporting the most teachers to the United States are:

FranceIndiaChinaThe United KingdomSpain

What are the Eligibility Requirements for Primary and Secondary School Teachers in the US?

Teachers’ requirements

  • Meet the credentials for elementary or secondary school teaching in their country of origin or last lawful residence.
  • Be employed as a teacher in their home country or country of legal residence at the time of submitting your application. If they are not hired as a teacher, otherwise meet the eligibility requirements
    • Have recently finished an advanced degree (within the last 12 months of application).
    • Have two years of full-time teaching experience in the previous eight years.
  • Possess a bachelor’s degree in the field of education or the academic subject field in which they plan to teach.
  • Have a minimum of two years (24 months) of teaching or related professional experience.
  • Satisfy the standards of the U.S. state in which they will teach.
  • Be of good reputation and character.
  • Be seeking entry into the United States with the intent to act as a full-time teacher at an accredited school within the United States for a primary (including pre-kindergarten) or secondary level (pre-kindergarten teachers may only teach language immersion at an accredited school for pre-kindergarten grades)
  • Have adequate command of the English language.

Hosts’/employers’ requirements

Hosts have to:

  • Participate in school and community cultural events with exchange teachers.
  • Supervise exchange teachers’ efficiency in the classroom and in performing official duties.

Sponsors’ requirements

  • Screen and pick eligible foreign instructors based on qualifications and who can contribute to students’ education in the U.S., and who wish to study U.S. teaching techniques.
  • Using approved language exams or interviews, confirm each teacher applicant’s English language competency.
  • Supervise the exchange teachers’ stay in the U.S. to make sure that they are fulfilling their teaching duties successfully.
  • Ensure that each exchange teacher completes an annual cultural activity component that comprises two requirements:
    • Each exchange teacher must complete, within the United States and during each year of their participation in the program, a project that presents a cultural aspect of their home country to their classroom, the larger host school community, or the community at large.
    • An activity involving conversation between U.S. kids and schools or students in another nation, ideally the teacher’s home country

Let’s Sum Up

The United States of America is the largest immigrant country in history. Isn’t it preferable to achieve the great American dream, especially as a teacher, when you obtain fully compensated employment with a salary scale comparable to your other peers and the chance to bring your dependents with you?

Foreign national instructors who seek to teach in the United States have several visa alternatives. Foreign instructors and the schools, institutes, and colleges who want to hire them in the United States can use the above unconventional visa possibilities to deal with even the oddest scenarios.

This essay looked at the various types of U.S. teacher visas, teachers’ salaries in top states, benefits of teaching in America, etc.

If you want to know more about other types of U.S. work visas, check the sidebar on the right.


What are the basic requirements for foreign teachers?

  • They must first receive official teacher training from a recognized university.
  • The teachers must next find a competent employer willing to hire them as teachers.

What types of U.S. visas are for foreign teachers?

  • EB-1
  • EB-2
  • EB-3
  • H-1B
  • J-1
  • P-3
  • O-1
  • R-1
  • Q-1

Do I need a state license to immigrate to the USA as a teacher?

Before you may teach in most states, you must first get a teaching license.

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