Depending on the agency you’re with, as an au pair you have to meet an education requirement. A very common number are 72 hours or 6 credits. Most of the time you don’t need credits, you just need to take a class at an “accredited post-secondary institution”.
The education options are practically endless. This might feel a little overwhelming. To help you navigate, here are the different types of classes/courses you can take to meet your requirement.
Classes at a college
There are two different types of classes at universities: class with credit and without credit. Classes with credits are what the students pursuing a degree need in order to graduate. We as au pairs can also attend classes without credits. The advantage is that classes without credits are much cheaper. To find those, look for “Continuing Education” or “Lifelong Learning” on the website of the university of your choice.
If you have found a class with credits that you would like to take, sometimes there can be ways to do that as well. Some colleges will either let you “audit” the class or give you a “noncredit seat in a credit bearing class”. Meaning, you would be attending the credit class like a regular student, you just don’t get credit for it (which you don’t need, you can just count the hours). This also means that you will pay less for the class, although it will still be more expensive than taking a noncredit class.
Some universities offer weekend classes. Most of these are specifically designed for au pairs. They usually go from Saturday to Sunday – one weekend. These classes are a good way to get a lot of your credits or hours in a short amount of time.
A weekend class at a university or college is perfect for au pairs who are not able to attend a class in the morning or who don’t want to spend weeks to get a few credits. These classes are intense because you have two long days of school and probably pre- and post assignments. But it is a great opportunity to get to know new people and maybe make new friends who live around you.
One very exciting way to get your credits is through a travel class. Multiple organizations offer various destinations, such as Chicago, San Francisco, New Orleans etc. It’s a fun way to fulfill your requirement and see the US at the same time. Most of the classes however are pretty expensive. Flights and accommodation are usually not included.
All this might still be a little confusing to you. Your LCC will be able to provide you with more information for local education options. Also remember to check your agencies requirement policy: how many hours or credits you actually need will vary from agency to agency. They also might have some suggestions for you!