The Professional Career Training (PCT) program

This is your chance to enhance your skills (and your resume) by working in America. SWAP's Professional Career Training program gives you the opportunity to work and train in the US for up to 18 months. You will get practical training and job exposure as well as experiencing American culture first-hand. This is the type of experience that will help you achieve your long-term career and travel goals.

When you GO with SWAP, we offer personalized assistance every step of the way to getting your J-1 visa, as well important information and coverage you'll need in order to live and work in America. Take a look at the list below for more information!

What's included when you GO with SWAP
  • Personalized agent assistance in reviewing and editing the necessary application forms.
  • We take care of the processing and issuance of the Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor J-1 Status (DS-2019).
  • 4 months of Bon Voyage Plan B travel insurance.
  • We can help make any travel arrangements to / from the US.
  • The GO SWAP Kit, which includes: Your DS-2019, SEVIS registration and receipt, access to an online participant handbook that has important information on SEVIS, Social Security, taxes, visa rules and regulations, etc., and our expert materials that have Canadian-specific instructions not covered by your US Sponsor.
  • Online orientation prior to your departure.
  • Your US Sponsor will monitor your traineehsip on an ongoing basis.
  • A number of in-country support services including access to a toll-free, 24/7 emergency number.
Finding a traineeship / job in the US

Before you apply for the SWAP PCT USA program, you must first find and secure a traineeship that is directly related to your degree or work experience. You should allow for plenty of time for your search. We have provided a number of online resources (on the right) to help you get started. Bookmark this page and go to those sites everyday - there are new jobs in the US everyday.

According to our past participants, the most common way to find a traineeship was to approach companies you admire even if they haven't posted any placements. It shows initiative and presents an exclusive opportunity to sell yourself.

Remember: finding a suitable traineeship takes time, persistence, and a little creativity! Many SWAPPERs have found jobs and went on to have amazing times all around the US.

Types of work allowed for your traineeship

The PCT USA program is intended to complement your academic degree and real world experience, so there are specific rules regarding the kinds of work that you will be able to secure.

  • Your traineeship must be related directly to your degree or work experience.
  • Your visa will be granted for one specific employer. Part-time jobs and / or changing jobs will not be permitted. Changing a traineeship is only possible in exceptional circumstances (e.g. your host organization is closing down, non-compliance with the agreed training plan from your host organization, etc.) In such a case, the Sponsor will evaluate the situation and give permission for any traineeship change.
  • The following fields of work are prohibited under this J-1 visa category: patient care, diagnostics / medical interns, work of any type with children, cruise lines, airplanes, any position offered by temporary work agencies, veterinary practitioners, domestic workers, camp counsellors, sports therapy / coaching, fast food restaurants, performing artists / entertainers, guards, construction work, and research scholars (although short research traineeships are possible if it is actual training in research).
  • Your traineeship host organization must have Workers Compensation Insurance and must be covering you under their policy.
PCT USA program duration
  • Up to 20 months.
  • The program is open year round, so you may apply any time of the year (keep in mind the 6-8 week application processing time).
  • You are allowed to enter the US up to 30 days before your internship starts and stay up to 30 days after your traineeship ends (specific dates will be needed at time of your application). You are not allowed to work during that time.
Starting at $1900 CAD