Finding a Job

Every year, more than 15,000 Work & Travel USA students work at all kinds of CIEE sourced seasonal jobs in locations across the United States. These jobs meet CIEE’s high standards to ensure a good workplace experience.

CIEE works with thousands of America’s best seasonal employers, and we sponsor hiring events where you can talk with them face-to-face, in person or over the Internet. In some cases, CIEE recruiters do the interviewing and hiring for the employers.

Students from selected countries can choose to find their own jobs, as long as those jobs are approved by CIEE in advance – your CIEE international representative or CIEE can tell you more.

What Kinds of Jobs are Available Through CIEE?

With so many different jobs available, you‘re sure to find one you like! You can work at hotels, restaurants, amusement and theme parks, ski resorts, national parks, or retail stores. All of the employers we work with provide reliable jobs with competitive salaries, and many even offer affordable housing.

Here’s a sampling of some of the jobs CIEE Work & Travel USA students have held:

Get outdoors and interact with the public. Most parks are located in resort areas.

See what you can do

  • Ride operators
  • Games operators
  • Food & beverage hosts
  • Guest services
  • Merchandise/retail hosts
  • Lifeguards (shallow and deep water)
  • Admissions
  • Parking hosts
  • Cashier
  • Employee housing hosts

Work for one of the world’s great hospitality chains or a small, locally owned hotel.

See what you can do

  • Hotel front desk clerk
  • Housekeeping/room attendant
  • Guest services
  • Bell staff
  • Concierge
  • Waitstaff/host/cashier/banquet server
  • Dishwasher/busser/utility
  • Food runner/line server
  • Line/prep/banquet cook
  • Retail sales associate/cashier
  • Gift shop clerk

The National Park System is one of America’s greatest treasures and a symbol of national pride, offering amazing landscapes. Most jobs are available from May through September, during the U.S. summer vacation season.

See what you can do

  • Café attendant
  • Front desk
  • Hospitality crew
  • Server assistant
  • Food and beverage hosts
  • Guest services
  • Kitchen utility worker
  • Resort worker
  • Guest room attendant
  • Snack bar attendant

Join the team at a well-known national chain or a small, family-run business.

See what you can do

  • Server
  • Server assistant
  • Dishwasher
  • Host/hostess
  • Bar-back
  • Prep cook
  • Line cook
  • Busser
  • Salad/sandwich maker

Help shoppers at one of America’s large stores, or at small boutiques. These jobs are often in attractive destinations popular with tourists.

See what you can do

  • Cashier
  • Grocery clerk
  • Product stocker
  • Ice cream shop worker
  • Convenience store clerk
  • Bicycle rental technician

A popular option for those who have their university break during winter in the United States, these jobs can place you at some of America’s greatest ski resorts.

See what you can do

  • Ski/snowboard instructors
  • Ski/snowboard rental shop attendants
  • Lift operators
  • Ticket sales
  • Guest services
  • Snow removal
  • Merchandise/retail hosts
  • Cafeteria cashiers
  • Servers/waitstaff
  • Dining room hosts
  • Dishwashers
  • Prep cooks
  • Housekeepers

Start With a Clear Plan

First, decide where in the United States you want to go, and what kind of job you’d like. You will spend up to four months at your job, so it is important to choose one that matches your personality and skills. Your CIEE international representative can tell you what jobs are available during the time you wish to visit.

To get the job you want, do all you can to make yourself appealing to employers. Create a resume that highlights your skills and experience, such as cooking, swimming, or helping at a family business. Include anything that shows you can handle responsibility, such as child care, tutoring, or volunteering. Even if you do not have past job experience, you should share what you can do.

Customer service is a big part of most jobs, so employers want to know that you are comfortable working with people and are at ease speaking English.

Find a job through CIEE

Every year, CIEE helps thousands of students like you find jobs by connecting them directly with prospective employers. Your agent can help you determine which option is right for you.

CIEE Road Shows
Job fairs where CIEE brings U.S. employers and students together for face-to-face meetings and interviews. Most of these jobs are at large, well-known businesses.

CIEE Recruit
CIEE representatives, working on behalf of employers, interview and hire students at these job fairs. Many of these jobs are at smaller employers.

CIEE Virtual
Interview with a CIEE representative or U.S. employer in real-time, via video on the Internet. Employers of all sizes offer jobs through CIEE Virtual.

Finding a Job by Yourself

Some students from select countries are permitted to find their own jobs. Your CIEE international representative can tell you if this applies to you. It’s also possible for you to find another job once in the United States. CIEE must approve any job before you get hired. We want to make sure you are protected and have a positive work experience!

To get a job you find on your own approved by CIEE, you must ask your host employer to provide job details such as contact information and physical address, wage per hour, job start and end dates and housing cost. You will add this information to your application in Beacon and submit to your international representative.

Download Australia-New Zealand Work & Explore Placement Agreement Form

How to Prepare For a Great Interview

In person or via webcam, interviewing is a big part of getting a job. This is your chance to make a good impression. Here are a few tips to help you succeed:

Learn About the Employer
Before the interview, find out what you can about the job and what it requires. Be prepared to talk about your background and why you are a good candidate. Come with at least two questions to ask. It shows you are interested.

Make a Good First Impression
Be sure to arrive on time, and present yourself professionally. Introduce yourself with a friendly handshake and a smile.

Talk About Your Experience
If you have work experience, talk about it. If not, talk about what you have done–for example, volunteer work or involvement in university clubs. Use examples of how your skills fit this job.

Ask Specific Questions
This shows you are interested and responsible.

If You Find Your Own Job, CIEE Must Approve It

It is important that you stay safe and are treated fairly on the job. That’s why every job offered through a CIEE hiring service meets very high standards. It is also why we need to approve any job that students find on their own.

CIEE Job Guidelines

- Jobs must meet the rules, regulations, and intent of the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program, which focuses on cultural exchange.
- CIEE cannot approve a job if there are questions about your safety and well-being, or if the job prevents you from having a meaningful cultural exchange experience.
- You must be able to balance your work responsibilities with time spent exploring the local community, learning about the United States, and getting to know Americans.
- You may only work for employers whose staffing needs are seasonal or temporary in nature.
- Your job must pay a salary that meets minimum wage regulation.

If you are not sure a job meets these guidelines, send us an email and we’ll be glad to help.


You may not work at certain kinds of jobs. See the list of prohibited jobs:

  • Jobs that are filled by a different type of J-1 visa (camp counselors, interns, etc.)
  • Jobs obtained through staffing or employment agencies
  • Jobs designated by the U.S. Department of Labor as “hazardous to youth”
  • Jobs where students are hired independent contractors (using 1099 forms)
  • Jobs where students works the majority of their hours between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
  • Sales jobs that require students to invest their own money to pre-purchase inventory
  • Jobs that are mostly commission-based and thus do not guarantee minimum wage
  • Jobs with exposure to dangerous chemicals (such as pesticides)
  • Jobs that require a professional license
  • Jobs that displace U.S. workers
  • Jobs with employers who have experienced layoffs within the last 120 days
  • Jobs with employers who have workers on strike or lockout
  • Domestic help positions in private U.S. households, such as au pair, servant, gardener, or chauffeur
  • Modeling or jobs in the adult entertainment industry
  • Jobs on casino gaming floors
  • Jobs in warehouses, factories/manufacturing, moving companies, or catalog/online distribution centers
  • Jobs in the fisheries industry
  • Jobs at mall kiosks or 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
  • Farm or ranch jobs
  • Jobs with traveling carnivals / concessions
  • 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
  • Jobs as ship or aircraft crew members or as pilots, except as crew members on ships that travel only within domestic U.S. waters
  • Jobs as teachers, teaching assistants, or coaches
  • Jobs entailing sustained physical contact with customers, such as, body piercing, tattoo parlor work, or massage)
  • Jobs with domestic cleaning companies