Can I Work in the USA While Studying?
The cost of studying in the USA can be expensive for international students, and really American students as well. Working while studying can be helpful to reduce the cost of your education and provide you applicable work experience. Many international students wonder, can I work in the USA while studying? The short answer is yes, international students can work in the USA while studying but there are some restrictions.
International students who have an F-1 and M-1 visa are allowed to work on-campus and in specified training programs. Students are not allowed to work off-campus during their first academic year. On-campus jobs are student oriented such as working in the library, cafeteria, or student center.
Students can gain employment off-campus after completing their first academic year through programs specifically for international students seeking employment such as Optional Practical Training (OPT), Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Optional Practical Training Extension, and Curricular Practical Training (CPT).
Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a program that allows international students in the United States to work temporarily up to 12 months. OPT can be completed both before or after completing your studies, but it’s important to remember that you are only allowed to work 12 months total including pre-completion of degree and post-completion of degree.
International students completing degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) are eligible to apply for 24-month extension of their post-completion OPT, beginning May 10th, 2016.
Curricular Practical Training is a program that temporarily allows international students to gain work experience directly related to their major through employment, paid or unpaid internships, or cooperative (co-op) education.
While you are studying in the United States you will be allowed to work with some minimal restrictions. Most colleges and universities can assist international students with finding employment on-campus and off-campus.
Brianna Burrows is a freelance marketing specialist and alumna of Northeastern University. She specializes in event management, social media management, and content branding. Follow her on Twitter here.
Get matched to the best program for you
Let us know what you're looking for so we can find the best school for you.
Check Out These Schools
Kirkwood Community College
$10,000 — $15,000 Year
The Language Company
Typical cost per Quarter: $5,000—$10,000
Typical cost per Quarter: $1,000—$5,000
Truckee Meadows Community College
Typical cost per Semester: $5,000—$10,000
Start your U.S. adventure with Study in the USA
Learn About U.S. education financing, housing, and more
ELSA - World's Best English Pronunciation App. Speak English like a native speaker. Get instant feedback on your speech from proprietary artificial intelligence technology. Learn more. Get a 10% discount using code: StudyUSA
campusSIMS helps students get connected with mobile phone service in the US. Get a US phone number while in your home country so you have service that’s ready as soon as you land. Plans start as low as $15/month.
Find an Advisor
Study in the USA’s advisors can work with you to navigate the requirements to study abroad in the USA, UK, Canada, and Australia. We help you find the right school and apply.
It cleared many questions that I had prior and during my time here in the United States. The website was very helpful and detailed for things that we have no idea about and have to learn as we go.
StudyUSA, and Anna Castillo, in particular, helped me understand the Visa process and supported me in finding a school in the U.S.
StudyUSA.com helped me in my research of universities using the school search, I've exchanged several mails with Ana Castillo, she was very helpful.
Learn about American culture and education direct from our experts at Study in the USA. Read more