Job Opportunities in USA for International Students

Job Market in USA for Foreign Students

Every year, lakhs of international students apply for jobs in the US, during and after graduating from their course of study. During the Trump era, job market in the US had slowed down for international students due to rigid immigration rules and organisations reluctant to hire foreign graduates. However, with the new US President Joe Biden's move to reverse Trump's immigration policies, international students looking for jobs are likely to benefit. 

Percentage of Foreign Workers in the US Per OccupationAccording to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2019, foreign-born workers in the US accounted for 17.4% of the total workers, with 28.4 million people. Most immigrants were more likely to be employed in management, professional, and related occupations (33.9%) than production, natural resources, sales and service. With only 13.4% of the total foreign-born labour force in the USA, natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations were the least-preferred among all. 

Almost all US companies think of international staff as keystone of their ability to succeed in the global market. This is because of several reasons such as subsidiaries of a company in your home country, assistance in dealing with international clients, maintaining a diversity percentage within the company and so on.

The labour market in the US for international students will also depend on the location of the university and the industry you wish to join. However, the US is widely-popular to welcome talented and recognised people from all over the world to serve and represent their country. For most US universities, around 90-96% of the graduates receive an offer or take up further education after they have graduated.

Given that a lot of Fortune 500 firms are headquartered in the US, some of which include Google, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and Amazon, international students would hardly face any scarcity in terms of employment opportunities. An entry-level job offered to an MS international graduate will guarantee an income of USD 69,000 to USD 90,000 per annum. This may further go up if you are from the fields of IT, finance, management, advertising or engineering.

Some of the top designations associated with jobs after completing MS in the US are business analyst, software engineer, computer systems analyst, web developer, health information technician, among others.

Also Read: Stay Back Period and Post Study Work Permit in the USA

Job Opportunities in the USA for International Students

Being an international student in one of the top education hotspots in the world does push one to think of immigrating or settling down in the country. While working in the US during your study or even after graduation is possible, the process and transition come with several complications.  

Most foreign students in the US usually start their professional journey in the country with on-campus jobs not only to ease the financial burden or cover other expenses but also to develop useful skills and build a professional network. Here’s a guide to working in the US:

Study-Work Opportunities in the USA

Generally, an international student who wishes to pursue higher education in the US must first obtain either a nonimmigrant visa for temporary stay or an immigrant visa for permanent residence. Your student visa would be determined by your course of study and the type of student. However, most students entering the US usually hold either an F-1 visa or an M-1 visa.

Work While on F-1 Visa

International students with an F-1 visa can find off-campus employment opportunities under the three broad categories:F-1 visa holders are not allowed to work off-campus during the first year of study and only look for the various on-campus job opportunities that are offered by the higher education providers in the US. Also, during your study, you would be allowed to work for only 20 hours per week and not more than 40 hours a week during breaks.

  • Curricular Practical Training (CPT): CPT is a temporary work permit directly in your field of study or related to it. Usually internships, co-ops or summer internships, the job would either be paid or unpaid, full-time or part-time.   

  • Optional Practical Training (OPT) (pre-completion or post-completion): Available for temporary employment, OPT must also be directly related to your field of study. It is divided into two types: pre-completion and post-completion. The pre-completion OPT lets you work while you are still enrolled in your programme and the post-completion OPT permits you to work after completing your studies. Both the OPTs let you engage in work for 20 hours a week. 

  • Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Optional Practical Training Extension (OPT): Students who have received a STEM degree can extend their OPT for 24 more months. The student must also have been employed by an employer. 

  • Severe Economic Hardship: When you are on an F1 visa, you can apply for a severe economic hardship, acceptance to which allows you to work off-campus in the US. This can be applied for only when you are suffering severe economic hardship due to sudden financial changes such as loss of financial support, fluctuations in the value of the currency, excessive medical bills, unexpected changes in the financial condition of your source, etc.

Work While on M-1 Visa

Students who are on M-1 visa may also participate in practical training but only when they have completed their studies in the States. 

The similarity between the F-1 visa and M-1 visa is that both ask students to be employed in their area of study or a related field. The same must be authorised by the official who has been authorised to maintain the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) and USCIS. 

Top 5 On-Campus Jobs for International Students in the US

Barista: The job at a coffee shop is considered one of the most fun and enriching jobs on campus for international students in the US. From making delicious coffee drinks to meeting new people, a Barista is rightly said to be the one who keeps a coffee shop running smoothly.

Mail Room Attendant: A mailroom attendant contributes immensely to improving the experience of residents of a university. The primary responsibilities include providing general administrative support, sorting and forwarding mail, accepting and tracking packages, among others.

Student Library Assistant: In great demand in almost every US university, a student library assistant is responsible for assisting staff in routine library operations. His/ her duties may include library searches, data entry, maintaining statistics, general office work, and more.

College Teaching Assistant: Also known as a TA, a college teaching assistant works with students in laboratories and directly with a professor. He/she may take classes, answer questions, grade papers, proctor examinations, conduct meettings with students, among other things.  

Campus Ambassador: What a campus ambassador does is spread awareness about a product or service in the student community. He/ she would also be initiating marketing and promotional activities, organise events such as seminars, workshops, etc, and also act as the voice of the company. 

Top 5 Off-Campus Jobs for International Students in the US

Bank Teller: A bank teller performs duties such as taking cash or checks from customers, preparing specialised types of funds, clear account-related queries, record any transaction electronically, and more. They are usually the first point of contact as soon as they enter the bank.

Social Media Assistant: A social media assistant is someone that works closely with the marketing team and the social media manager. His/ her main job is to create content that engages the organisation’s target audience and further build their social media presence. He/ she should be able to manage a company’s social media channels such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and more.

Cashier: The primary duties of a cashier include managing transactions with customers, collecting payments in cash or credit, ensuring pricing of products is correct, keeping track of all transactions and more. A cashier should have an idea of how to manage a cash register and how they operate. 

Driver: With the shortage of truck drivers or truckers in the US, there has been a huge demand for truck drivers over a period of two to three years. Apart from that, a regular car driver is also very much in demand in the country for the smooth running of almost every organization.

Retail sales associate: A retail sales associate is responsible for serving customers by assisting them in their buying experience. His daily tasks would include driving sales , sharing product knowledge, greeting and receiving customers, responding to the queries of customers and so on.

Also Read: Part-Time Job Options in the USA for International Students

Wish to Learn More About Work Opportunities in the US?

Post-Study Work Opportunities in the US

Although the visa scenario in the States is one of the most debated topics with an uncertain future, international students from all over the world often tend to pursue work in the US after completing their studies. Reasons for the same include a wide array of opportunities, a chance at embracing adventure, workforce productivity, good work ethics, among others. Here’s what you need to know about post-study work opportunities in the US:

Work on H-1B Visa: The H-1B visa is granted to immigrants who are employed in a speciality occupation at US organisations. An H-1B visa holder has a higher education degree or its equivalent. The specialised field could be biotechnology, architecture, engineering, chemistry, computing, statistics, medicine and health, physical sciences, journalism, and more.
The duration of an H-1B visa is three years, which can further be extended to six years. 

Under the Trump Administration, the H-1B visa had undergone a number of changes in relation to immigration and visa rules. With Joe Biden’s win in the 2020  US presidential elections, international students are hoping to benefit significantly as he has promised to reverse most of Trump’s visa policies. 

Work on EB-5 Visa: The EB-5 Green Card permits immigrants to become permanent residents of the US if found eligible. In order to be considered for the visa, one has to invest a minimum of $900,000 in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA), which manages to employ at least 10 Americans. 

How to Apply for a US Work Visa

When applying for work opportunities or practical training while studying in the US, international students will have to follow the following steps:

  • Step 1: Request the international department of your university to give you the required forms.

  • Step 2: Submit the Form I-20 at the university with the required documents.

  • Step 3: After reviewing your eligibility, the DSO will approve your request.

  • Step 4: The DSO will make a recommendation by endorsing your Form I-20, Certification of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status, and making the notation in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).

  • Step 5: File Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorisation with USCIS. Submit the required fee and documents as described in the form.

When applying for H-1B Visa, international students should follow the steps given below:

  • Step 1: Visit the official website of USCIS. Create an account and choose how you would like to receive the verification code.

  • Step 2: Select “I am an H1-B registrant”.

  • Step 3: Click “File a Registration”, if you are not registering through a representative.

  • Step 4: Click “Start”.

  • Step 5: Provide information about you and the beneficiary. Then “save entry”. You can also add information about additional beneficiaries.

  • Step 6: Sign electronically.

  • Step 7: Pay the required fee.

When applying for EB-5 Visa, international students should follow the steps given below:

  • Step 1: File Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Investor.

  • Step 2: Wait for USCIS to approve it.

  • Step 3: File DS-260 with the U.S. Department of State to get an EB-5 visa abroad for admission to the US OR File I-485 with USCIS to adjust status to a conditional permanent resident of the US.

  • Step 4: File Form I-829, within the 90-day period to the US as a conditional permanent resident.

Need Help With Applying for a US Work Visa?

Job Opportunities After MBA In the US

Given that over 100 US B-Schools out of 258 were featured in the Global MBA Rankings 2021, the quality of business schools, employment rate upon graduation, salary levels and return on investment continue to remain unmatched by any other country.

Further, US business schools are undoubtedly the most established networks with connections with domestic and international businesses in the world. When looking for jobs post-MBA, a well-established network proves vital to an international student’s success. The US is also known to be the most generous in terms of MBA salary levels, with US employers offering a medium annual base starting salary of $115,000 to new MBA hires in 2019, according to GMAC.

Let us now look at the top job opportunities after MBA in the US along with their salary range and annual average salaries:

Job Role

Annual Average Salary

Salary Range

Chief Executive Officer


$635,261 - $1,024,364 per year

Chief Operating Officer (COO)


$340,420 - $569,226 per year

Chief Financial Officer (CFO)


$302,604 - $480,203 per year

Chief Technology Officer (CTO)


$207,450 - $289,357 per year

Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)


$199,460 - $307,340 per year

Chief Administrative Officer (CAO)


$274,500 - $448,130 per year

Medical Director


$261,760 - $313,961 per year

Investment Banker


$78,906 - $146,448 per year

Job Opportunities After Engineering In the US

The engineering sector is booming with over 50% of international graduates in the US enrolling in engineering courses every year. Graduating in the field of engineering from a leading US university can turn up as a great asset in the future.

Depending on the engineering discipline, the US offers numerous opportunities for jobs in the field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a total of 139,300 new jobs are expected to be added from 2016 to 2026. Petroleum engineers earned a median wage of $128,230 per year, the highest of all engineers, followed by computer hardware engineers, aerospace engineers, nuclear engineers and electronics engineers.

Given below are the top job opportunities after studying engineering in the US along with their salary range and annual average salaries:

Job Role

Annual Average Salary

Salary Range

Mechanical Engineer


$70,280 - $111,980 per year

Computer Hardware Engineer


$70,100 - $192,110 per year

Nuclear Engineer


$74,800 - $185,550 per year

Aerospace Engineer


$72,770 - $171,220 per year

Electrical and Electronics Engineers


$64,870 - $159,520 per year



$52,340 - $85,050 per year

Petroleum Engineer


$107,020 - $193,430 per year

Civil Engineer


$68,130 - $113,580 per year

Biomedical Engineer


$70,990 - $118,020 per year



$62,600 -  $105,600 per year

Environmental Engineer


$68,000 - $114,250 per year

Environmental Engineering Technician


$38,780 - $64,890 per year

FAQs on Job Opportunities in USA for International Students in 2022

What percentage of international students get jobs in USA after graduation?

A survey conducted by Price waterhouse Coopers revealed that over two-third of international graduates were employed during their first six months of post-graduation.

What are some of the most in-demand jobs in the USA?

Healthcare and Technical jobs never go out of style, making it one of the most in-demand jobs in the US. There is always a requirement for healthcare professionals since the health infrastructure is growing at a rapid speed.

What is the current scenario for job opportunities in the USA?

The number of job openings in the US rose by 431,000 in October, 2021 to 11.8 million, which was above expectations. This shows that the current scenario for job opportunities in the US is remarkable.

Do international students get jobs in the USA after graduation?

One of the ways that international students can get jobs in the US after graduation is through an extended stay visa (OPT). This program allows them to stay and work in the country for 24 months.

How much does an international student earn on an internship in the US?

Most recent graduates in the US take up entry-level internships which pay about $7 to $9 per hour. They are also allowed to work part-time during school hours. Students who take on an internship are typically able to earn around $700 to $800 a month. However, depending on the type of role and the skills needed, this amount may vary.

Will I be allowed to work in CPT for the entire duration of my masters program?

You will not be allowed to work in CPT for the entire duration of your master's program, specifically during the first year of your Master’s program. However, some schools may allow you to engage in CPT for the entire duration of your program. Also, if you work full-time CPT for over a year, you may not be eligible to engage in an additional year of OPT after you graduate.

How can I go to school and work simultaneously in the US?

If you are planning on working part-time while attending school, then you should consider taking a program that allows you to do so. Doing so will allow you to complete your degree, and it will also help you get your credits. However, if you are having a hard time focusing on your studies, then it's possible to talk to your supervisor.

May I participate in both CPT and OPT?

Although international students can take both the OPT and CPT, they cannot simultaneously enroll in both unless they have already finished their degree. If you have worked for more than a year in the same field, you may not be allowed to take the same year of OPT. Also, make sure that the job that you're working for is related to your field of study.

Can an international student in the US pay their entire tuition fees by working part-time?

An international student in the US who works part-time will be able to contribute only a portion of their tuition fees but not be able to cover their entire tuition by working part-time. Part-time work usually pays around $10 to $20 per hour, and it can go up to $20 to $200 per month. This means that you can contribute a portion of your tuition fee.

Is it difficult for international students to find jobs in the US?

Finding a job in the US can be very challenging for international students. Many employers are reluctant to hire foreigners due to visa issues or concerns over their English skills. Having a good network among industry professionals is very helpful for an international student to find a job after they graduate. Many universities organize placement drives and their career services departments are there to help international students.

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