Part-Time Job Options in the USA for International Students

By Subhashri Roy Updated On - Jul 18, 2021 09:47 PM

Want to earn while you learn in the USA? Here's a guide to working part-time in the US. You can go through details related to part-time jobs in USA along with information on pay-scale offered to international students working part-time in the US.

If you are thinking of pursuing your higher education in the United States, then you must already have an idea of how you're going to pay for your education and other expenses. US universities may cost you around $60,000 per year, and it is a lot of money. To pay, you might need to work part-time right from the first year, and doing so will certainly help you finance your education. But a part-time job can do more than just pay off you education loan; it can help you gain transferable and interpersonal skills along with offering you the opportunity to build your professional network. 

Working in the US as an international student comes with certain conditions such as the hours allowed to work, types of work including OPT and CPT, among others. With that in mind, we have fashioned an article covering the major points that you need to consider while looking for a part-time job in the US, along with the various part-time job options (on-campus and off-campus).

Job Regulations for International Students in the US

Part-time work in the US for international students deals with two broad categories or options. Let us have a quick look at before diving into the most popular part-time job opportunities: 

Working On-Campus With An F-1 Visa

This is, with no doubt, the easiest option for any international student in the US who is looking for part-time work to earn some extra money and it is the only way to work during your first academic year in the country. What working on-campus refers to is work performed within the university premises. However, it may also be a different location other than the main campus only if it is affiliated with the university. Rules pertaining to on-campus employment in the US, as of 2021, are as follows:

  • Must maintain valid F-1 status

  • During the school term, you would be restricted to only 20 hours per week.

  • Will be allowed full-time on campus, leading to 40 hours of work per week, during holidays and vacations.

Also Read: Missed the Fall Intake to Study in the USA? Apply for Spring Intake

Working Off-Campus With An F-1 Visa:

This is for you if you have completed your first academic year in the US and have a valid F-1 visa. Under this, you can explore three options including:

Optional Practical Training (OPT): The OPT program lets you work in your area of study which could either be a job or an internship. Under this, you will be permitted to work during and after completion of your degree. OPT rules are established by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service which may change time to time. General OPT requirements and details are as follows:

  • You may apply for OPT after having been enrolled in the course for at least nine months although you cannot start working until you receive your Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from USCIS and have completed a year of study.

  • The job should be directly related to your major.

  • Must maintain lawful F-1 visa status.

  • Should NOT have engaged in full-time Curricular Practical Training (CPT) in the last 12 months or more.

  • Full-time OPT is allowed for up to 12 months in total.

  • Part-time OPT reduces available full-time OPT by half.

  • OPT before completion of degree would require you to be enrolled full-time, work only 20 hours a week, work full-time only during holidays, work full-time after completion of all coursework.

  • OPT after completion of degree will let you work full-time, which should be completed within 14 months after graduating. Applications should go only through USCIS before graduating.

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Optional Practical Training (OPT) Extension: Students who have graduated from STEM fields can extend their OPT for 24 more months.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT): Here, an international student can work off-campus only when the degree programme that they have enrolled demands for it or practical training is an important part of the curriculum. Here are the rules related to CPT:

  • Must be enrolled full-time for one year on valid F-1 visa status (excluding those whose courses require immediate CPT).

  • Must have received a relevant job offer before submitting CPT authorisation request.

  • The job offer should be related to your field of study.

  • There is no limit to work hours in CPT, be it part-time or full-time. However, your authorisation will have the work hours mentioned.

  • During school, you will be approved for only part-time CPT.

Severe Economic Hardship: Under this, any international student holding an F-1 visa and facing "severe economic hardship" according to USCIS will be considered eligible to work off-campus while school is in session and full-time during holidays.

  • Must hold a valid F-1 visa for at least one academic year.

  • Must have a good academic history.

  • Must provide evidence of economic harship.

  • Make sure on-campus similar employment opportunities are not available at the time being.

Have Queries About Working Part-Time in the US?

Where Can an International Student Find Part-time Jobs in the USA?

While you are in the US, finding a part-time job can be a bit tricky especially when you are an international student and have not built any professional network yet. Here are some places where you can look when trying to find part-time jobs in the US:

Typical university offices/ Student Union/ Career Services: Most of the time this is where you would find help and opportunities. US universities might also have separate career services for international students, offering them not just training but also internship and part-time on-campus opportunities.

Online portals: If you are not able to find jobs offline, one of the effective ways to find part-time job options is through online portals like LinkedIn, Glassdoor and many more. 

On-Campus Part-Time Job Options for International Students in the US

Given below are the top on-campus job options for international students in the US:

Research Study Assistant: Almost every US university would have an opening of a research study assistant with excellent interpersonal and organisational skills. The job duties of a research study assistant include work on multiple projects, contacting new participants, explaining the purpose of a research study, maintaining lab equipment and lab space, assisting in the preparation of material for disseminating research results, among other things.

Teaching Assistant: What a teaching assistant does is supervise activities in the classroom, work on a one-to-one basis with special children, helping to develop programmes, motivating students, helping with school events, and more. Higher-level teaching assistants may be asked to take classes on their own and manage to learn support staff. 

Catering Assistant and Food Runner: The job of a catering assistant or a food runner is to help in the kitchen and deliver the food to customers. Some of the major responsibilities and duties of a catering assistant or a food runner are serving food, uphold sanitation and food safety standards, check in with customers, assist in setting up tables and more.

Library Page: The job of a library page is to keep the library running smoothly, with responsibilities such as shelving library material, making recommendations to customers and helping them to locate books, making books, and more. In addition, library pages need to provide administrative support to assistants, librarians, and technicians and also organise events at the library.

University Campus Tour Guide: The profile of a campus tour guide ideally suits someone that possesses skills including good communication skills, well-informed about the university/ institute, leadership skills, among others. Campus tour guides are required to be as straightforward as possible in informing prospective students and their parents about the concerned institution. Sometimes, they might also need to find places for families and students to take selfies.

Department Assistant: A department assistant is responsible for providing administrative and secretarial support for an entire department. He/she should handle a variety of matters concerning the department apart from assisting in specific project teams or divisions. A department assistant should have skills such as problem-solving, computer skills, teamwork, time management and communication skills.

Computer Lab Technician: A computer lab technician is given the responsibilities to maintain and operate computer labs. They also provide support to lab users who face computer-related issues such as trouble-shooting equipment problems, creating user log-on accounts and passwords, and using other lab equipment including copiers, printers and more.  

Barista: You can also work as a barista at the college cafe and get your daily caffeine for free apart from your regular work. Your responsibilities as a barista include working as a cashier, making coffee and serving customers, cleaning and maintaining proper sanitation in work areas, and more. Besides, there is always an added advantage - meeting new people.

Peer Tutor: A peer tutor is more a friend than a teacher, as he/she is teaching someone who is also a student. The major role of a peer tutor is to provide individualized content, create and maintain a tutoring schedule, maintain confidentiality with the tutee, provide study material, and more. A peer tutor may also be asked to make appropriate student referrals to college offices, whenever necessary.

Production Assistant: A production assistant at a college or university is likely to work for the conduct of events, comedy shows, dance productions, and many more on campus. From managing technical services and assisting others who are in charge of the same, a production assistant will be responsible to organise any kind of event on the campus.

Campus Ambassador: Also known as student ambassadors, campus ambassadors can be found at every university, advertising/ informing about a product or service available on campus. This could be a fun experience for someone who likes to meet and interact with new people.

Also Read: Timeline for USA Summer Intake 2022

Off-Campus Part-Time Job Options for International Students in the US

Most foreign students in the US usually prefer on-campus jobs to off-campus work when it comes to part-time jobs. Having said that, many find working off-campus more comfortable and advantageous. Here are a few off-campus part-time job options for international students in the US:

Customer Support Representative: A customer support representative provides information about the products and services of the organisation that has employed him/ her. He/ she must also resolve the problems faced by customers related to the products and services, along with letting them know of better products and services available with them. 

Store Associate: From cleaning the store to carrying out store administrative tasks and helping out customers, a store associate needs to do it all to keep a store functioning. Store associates may also be asked to upsell to customers through recommendations, whenever required. A store manager, under whom a store associate usually works, might ask a store associate to schedule his/ her work in shifts. 

Translator: The prime job of a translator is to translate one language into another, in such a way that it means exactly what the original written material said. To do that, a translator must keep the original structure in ming along with the original ideas and facts and most importantly the tone of the original text.   

Tour Guide: A tour guide is usually required by travel agencies. He/ she would be responsible to guide the visitors, be thoroughly informed about the tour and the place that they are visiting. He/ she would generally work under a Senior tour guide, who would guide him/ her through everything. 

Babysitter: Often self-employed, babysitters mostly work under a short-term verbal contract. A babysitter is responsible to take care of the children, providing supervision in the absence of his parents/ guardians. 

Also Read:  USA F1 Student Visa Guide

Pay-Scale For International Students In the US

Part-time jobs in the US are mostly in the service and sales industries, which are entry-level jobs paying minimum wage. Nevertheless, these entry-level jobs pay approximately $7 to $9 per hour, although a high-skilled job would pay $10 or more per hour. 

Currently, an international student in the US may earn an average salary of $34,737/Year depending on the profile, organisation, and other relevant factors. In the US, the type of job will depend on not just your prior experience (if any) but also the school curriculum, skills, academic background, English language proficiency, and more. 

Taxes for International Students in the US

Every international student in the US, whether working while studying or not, is required to file a tax return as a condition for their visa. However, they are entitled to certain benefits and exemptions. Also, as long as international students file a proper tax here in the US, the country will not tax their income from the home country.

To prepare tax return, an international student should have an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) or Social Security Number (SSN). With that, one will be able to file their tax return by filling in a W-7 form.

Popular US Universities for International Students

Here are some of the popular universities in the US for students coming from outside of the US:

Name of the University


Tuition Fees

University of Illinois, Chicago

Illinois, Chicago

INR 21-26.5 Lakh

Auburn University

Auburn, Alabama

INR 17.4-23 Lakh

American University

Washington, DC

INR 18-34 Lakh

University of Massachusetts, Boston

Massachusetts Boston,

INR 18-24 Lakh

Suffolk University, Boston

Boston, Massachusetts

INR 25-33 Lakh

Texas A & M University

Corpus Christi, Texas

INR 10-27 Lakh

University of Vermont

Burlington, VT

INR 27 Lakh

University of New Hampshire

Durham, New Hampshire

INR 9-30 Lakh

University of Idaho

Moscow, Idaho

INR 14-19 Lakh

Florida Atlantic University

Boca Raton, Florida

INR 9-20 Lakh

Need Assistance to Apply at Universities in US?

Hope this article helps you find the ideal part-time job for you. You can write to us at  in case you still have doubts or seek guidance. 

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