Job Opportunities for International Students in USA

The reason why the US is a top favourite for students looking for higher education abroad is that, other than a world-class education, the country offers a plethora of job opportunities for international students. Higher education in USA is not merely about academics; it is pretty much practical and research-based, which helps students to learn essential skills required to bag good job opportunities.

Thus, a huge number of students look for undergraduate education in USA as well as MS in USA. In fact, the number is also high for students looking for an MBA in USA and a PhD in USA, especially for Indian students.

  • The total number of international students enrolled in US colleges in the year 2019 was 1,095,299 which was 5.5% of the total US student body
  • Over the last 10 years, the number of international students pursuing Business Management programmes in American universities has more than doubled

The compelling factor behind an increase in the number of enrolments, as mentioned earlier, is the excellent work opportunities available.

Let us look at the different work opportunities available for international students in USA.

International students having an F1 (student) visa are allowed to legally work at the following places, as outlined by the Department of Homeland Security.


On-Campus Employment

One of the most popular choices for international students is working on campus. One can opt to work in cafeterias, computer centres, library, university office (as a receptionist) etc. One could also work as a research assistant or teaching assistant. One can work up to 20 hours per week during the school session.

International students can also work full-time on-campus during holidays and vacation. On campus jobs can help one earn anywhere between 7 and 12 dollars an hour, depending on the kind of work.

Do keep in mind that if you have an F1 visa, you are not allowed to work off campus as it is illegal and can have severe consequences.


Off-Campus Employment

Anything not affiliated with a university is called an off-campus job. To be eligible for off-campus jobs, one must have completed their first academic year. It is illegal for F1 visa holders to work off campus. However, under exceptional circumstances, like a severe financial crunch, one can work only if given an exceptional waiver by the school.


Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

This is a temporary employment authorisation for F1 visa non-immigrant foreign students in the United States while they are enrolled in a college-level degree programme. The maximum number of CPT authorisations for any student is three per degree programme.

CPT must be completed before graduation. It can be done part-time (20 hours or less a week) or full-time (20 hours or more a week). Do be mindful of the fact that if you work full-time for 12 months in CPT, you will stand ineligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT).


Optional Practical Training (OPT)

This programme allows international students in the United States to work temporarily up to 12 months.

During the OPT period authorisation, a student should be working or actively seeking employment. There are limits to what jobs count as employment and to the number of days you may remain unemployed.

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