Find a Job on Your Own

Self-Placement Option

Several AWA Participants may choose to find their own jobs because it gives them the flexibility in terms of location and type of job. AWA strongly encourages to thoroughly review the option that will best for them.

Online resources to help with the job search include:

Prohibited Jobs

AWA vets the employment of all our Participants according to the regulations of the J-1 Work & Travel USA program. AWA cannot approve a place of employment if there are questions about safety and well-being, or if the nature of the employment prevents a Participant from having a meaningful cultural exchange experience while in the United States.

The following job types are currently prohibited by AWA:

  • Any job that is unpaid or does not pay at least the minimum wage for that state
  • Sales jobs requiring the participant to invest his/her own monies to pre-purchase inventory
  • Domestic help positions in private U.S. households – e.g. au pair, servant, gardener or chauffeur
  • Jobs in the adult entertainment industry
  • Jobs designated by the U.S. Department of Labor as “hazardous to youth”
  • Jobs in warehouses
  • Jobs with moving companies
  • Jobs in factories
  • Jobs in manufacturing
  • Jobs in catalog / online distribution centers
  • Jobs in the fisheries industry
  • Jobs that are substantially commission-based and thus do not guarantee minimum wage
  • Jobs at mall kiosks/carts
  • Jobs as operators or drivers of vehicles or vessels for which drivers’ licenses are required
  • Operators of pedicabs, rolling chairs, other passenger carrying vehicles for hire, and/or vehicles requiring a commercial driver’s license
  • Jobs with exposure to dangerous chemicals (e.g. pesticides)
  • Jobs in farming or ranching
  • Jobs on the gaming floor of casinos
  • Jobs with travelling carnivals / concessions
  • Jobs where the participant is hired as an independent contractor / hired on a 1099 form
  • Jobs providing clinical care, medical services or involving patient contact, hands on therapy, counseling, administering treatment or making diagnoses of medical, psychiatric or psychological patients, or veterinary work involving hands-on care.
  • As ship or aircraft crew members, or as pilots, except as crew members on ships that travel only within domestic U.S. waters
  • Teacher, teaching assistant or coach
  • Jobs for which another J-1 Visa category exists (e.g. Camp Counselor, Intern, etc.)
  • Jobs through staffing/employment agencies
  • Jobs entailing sustained physical contact with customers (e.g., body piercing, tattoo parlor, massage)
  • Jobs where the participant works the majority of their hours between 10:00pm and 6:00am
  • Jobs with domestic cleaning companies
  • Jobs as a model
  • Jobs requiring a license
  • Any job, whether or not it is included in the list above, must be generally compatible with the rules, regulations, and intent of the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program. Participants must be able to balance their work responsibilities with time spent exploring their local community, learning about the U.S. and getting to know Americans. In addition, any job that could bring notoriety or disrepute to the Exchange Visitor Program is expressly prohibited by the program regulations.

Housing for Full and Self-Placement Participants

1.)  Unless your employer provides or arranges housing, you are required to make your own housing arrangements.

2.)  If your employer offers housing, it is usually on a first come, first served basis. Regardless if you arrange your own housing or it is arranged through your employer, you may be required to sign a lease and pay a deposit usually amounting to the first and last months rent.

3.)  PLEASE NOTE: If you locate a Self-Placement Job Offer, you will be required to provide details of your housing option(s) before AWA will accept the job offer. Your safety is important. Therefore, it is mandatory that you provide your housing option(s) and selection to AWA before entering the USA.

4.)  A lease rental agreement is generally binding. Be sure you read the lease agreement carefully, BEFORE signing it. If you leave your housing without the proper 30-day notice to your landlord, rent and/or deposit may not be returned in the full amount or at all.