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On-Campus Vs Off-Campus Part-time Jobs in US for International Students? Salary ?

As an international student in the US on F1 Visa, most of the them try to find ways to support themselves financially. They prefer not to ask parents for money either it is for fees or for expenses. Typically students end up doing two kinds of Jobs to support themselves. One is on-campus and other is off-campus. Each of them has their own rules and limitations, when you are studying on F1 visa. In this article, we will look all those details related to part time jobs in US for s.

What is an On-Campus Job or Part Time Job in US University?

As the name says, on-campus job is a job to work “On Campus ” in the University. Most of the on-campus jobs done by students are part time, which means students are limited to work for up to 20 hours per week. Also, F1 visa regulations limit international students, who are full time students, to work for up to 20 hours per week during regular semesters.

You are not allowed to work over 20 hrs as per F1 visa rules during fall and spring semesters, when a student is enrolled full time.  But for summer term, you can only work  for more than 20 hrs in Summer, when you are not taking any classes and not enrolled full time.  Technically, if you are not enrolled in classes, you can work full time, which is up to 40 hrs per week in summer term.

On-campus jobs are typically jobs meant to support the University operations. Below are the common on-campus jobs done by students. These are not just for international students, they are also done by general university students as well.

  • Library : Working in library as support personnel for shelving books, picking up books, etc.
  • Computer Labs : Support personnel in Computer Labs taking care of printers, terminals, etc.
  • Cafeteria / Food courts : Working in university cafeterias or food courts at front desk, cleaning up stuff, serving food, etc.
  • Various University offices : Receptionist at university’s offices taking phone calls, doing admin kind of stuff in several offices like international students office or academic affairs office.  
  • Sports Stadiums : If the University is big and has stadium, support personnel to manage the sports stadium
  • Tutoring : Most of universities have Math Tutors, Writing Centers, etc. where you can be a tutor.

Teaching Assistantships (TA), Graduate Assistantships (GA), Research Assistantships (RA)

Most of the universities have various kinds of assistantships like Teaching assistantship (TA), Graduate  Assistantships (GA) and Research assistantships (RA). Many of these offer either full tuition waiver or help students get in-state tuition. The waiver primarily depends on various factors like 0.25 FTE or 0.5 FTE (Full time Employment). Read Funding in US Universities TA, RA and GA . These are the most popular on-campus jobs that every international student aims for…  On a side note, I had two on campus jobs during my student days, one was working in library and other was working as research assistant…used to hate going to library for the 8 AM shift  🙁

On-campus Job is Legal : Working in an on-campus job is legal and allowed as per F1 student rules. US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) defines these laws and you can check www.ice.gov official rule for F1 On-campus jobs. You will need to work with your DSO and inform them regarding the on-campus job and get relevant I-20 updated/issued.

On-Campus Part time Job Salary in US for International Students ?

On-campus part time jobs salary or pay totally depends on the state and the type of job you are in. Most of the on-campus jobs need to meet the state minimum hourly wage that the university is based out of. So, the average salary or your average pay is heavily influenced by State minimum wage. Hourly wage can vary anywhere from $8 US To $15 USD. Check US Dept of Labor Minimum Wage Table to get an idea for how much you can be paid per hour based on the state.

Average On-campus job Salary :  The on-campus jobs salary can vary anywhere from $640 to $1200 USD per month, if you work on-campus 20 hours per week.

Example : Imagine, state minimum is $10 USD, so the University pays you about the same of 10 USD per hour, then on an average ( if you work 20 hrs a week ) per month 20 x 4 x 10 = $800.  

What are Off-Campus Jobs for F1 Visa International Students ?

Off-campus job, as the name says, you work outside of the University campus. For Off-campus jobs, there is no restriction that you need to work in a University facility or office. F1 students are not authorized to work off campus by default. They need to demonstrate “severe economic hardship” due to their severe financial situation and get off campus employment authorization by the DSO. Only, if properly authorized by DSO after the approval, F1 students can work off campus. Check dhs.gov – Off Campus rules for severe hardship for more info.

Illegal Off-Campus Employment : At times, some international students engage in off campus work that is ILLEGAL. It could be due to their dire situation, they could not find an on-campus job or they could not qualify for the proper way to get off campus employment authortization.   From Immigration perspective, if not approved by school under severe economic hardship, it is illegal. F1 Students can get into big trouble and even get deported by ICE Officer. So, international students should never engage in such unauthorized Off-Campus work. Students risk their future of studying and working in US, if they engage in such illegal off-campus jobs.

What are the various kinds of Off-campus jobs?

There is no restriction on what you can do in an off-campus job. There is no defined regulation that says, you can do certain jobs and not do certain jobs. You can technically do any job that is not available on-campus.  They can be as simple as administrative assistant roles, front desk counter jobs at Gas station as cashier, working at Malls as storekeeper or sales peron, working in Motels as front desk person, working as waiter at a restaurant, any other roles that are not on campus.

These are the jobs that people talk about students back in their home country, saying he was cleaning floor and stuff filling petrol, etc.,some prefer to work at restaurants as food is free. Again, working off-campus is absolutely illegal as F1 student, if not properly authorized by DSO.

How much do you make in Off-Campus Part time Job ? Pay ?

Similar to on-campus jobs, it varies by state. If a student does off-campus job with proper authroziation, then they can demand for fair pay. In such cases, they will be paid as per the state minimum wage. If it is done legally, it can range anywhere from $8 US To $15 USD. Check US Dept of Labor Minimum Wage Table to get an idea for how much you can be paid per hour based on the state.

As mentioned above, if students engage in illegal off campus jobs, their employers take advantage of the system and pay anywhere from $5 to $10 dollars or more. Some good students get carried away by the money they see in off campus and ruin their education. So, it has to be watched out carefully and not advised to work off campus. You can be deported.

Working Off Campus is ILLEGAL and we do NOT Recommend anyone to do that ! we have just posted this for your information based on general knowledge. Consequences of working off campus  can be very bad.,  if you are found or caught working illegal, you can be potentially deported too. Be careful

Did you work on-campus or off-campus ? What has been your experience ?


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  1. Hello,

    Great Post. Thanks for the detailed information.

    I’m having 4 years of Experience in IT field in India from one of the top most MNC.
    I’m planing to do MS, So i found few consultancies, they are offering the Jobs in US with their Clients for hourly based with the Same profile which i’ve already been working
    My question is If I apply for MS, then the university is ready to approve CPT from Day one ( Because I’m already holding a Offer Letter from the Client) ? If Yes then How far it will be valid and is it a good option for me to choose that ?

    Waiting for your reply .

    Best Regards

    • KC,
      CPT from day one is a big scheme that is prone to fraud. Read CPT Fraud and you can end up in big trouble. If your goal is to work, you should pursue H1B or L1 visa and try not to take shortcuts, you can be in big trouble. Be careful my friend !

      • Thanks for the detailed Information Kumar.

        One More Query:
        How to Apply L1 ? Could you please suggest me for L1 process ?

  2. Hi
    I am Divya, I am Bds student in India and I am interested to study MHA in US. Just brief me abt the course and career. I am married so is there any possibility to take my husband also as a dependent so that he can work there. I want to kno what is the cost of living and how much money is needed for 2 person for one month. What abt the part time jobs??
    Please help me out

  3. HI there,

    I’m from INDIA and i had completed my graduation by this year only,
    I am planning for my post graduation in US , can you please tell me avg. expense to reside there for a student (i.e residential +food + other small expenses ) ?

    Thank you 🙂

  4. i am a dropped out engineer. i completed my school graduation in 2011 and now i wanted to go to the USA for re graduation. and yeah i am a national level athlete. will it be helpful for me to get there ? and yess, my academics of the high school were good. i graduated with 72%.

    pls reply !

    • Aakash,
      Well, I am not sure, how much your national athelete status would help. You can try writing to the athletic division of the schools or the admission department. If you are dropped out, then you can consider transferring some of these credits and completing your undergraduate degree. You may be asked to take SAT and TOEFL to study in US. I suggest you check with few schools on what are the best options. You can email the admissions explaining your situation…

    • Hello,
      I’m a former student at the SAIC and I want to know about the living expenses in Chicago Loop and areas around it also how much can I possibly earn by working on campus and is it enough to pay my rent and utilities?

  5. If theres an off campus, and i took it, but its too late to apply for CPT in school. Then i accept the offer and start working, can i be paid by cheque? i also dont have a social security number so can i receive cheque payments or only cash?
    Thank you

    • Working off campus without proper authorization from school and DSO is illegal. You should NOT engage in such off campus employment. If you have economic hardship, then you can work with your DSO to get special authorization to work off campus.

  6. Hi there!
    would like to know the minimum average expense of living in us cities, since planing for a MS course in US therefore concerned.

    thanks in advance.

  7. sir,i m planning to go CANADA can i work on campus as well as of campus and also cannot i work little more than 20 hrs (per week)and last is , is there any disadvantage i would get as i m of 17 years (but finished my standard educ.)in canada while working….

  8. hi I worked Off-campus and accepted a check as my pay for once will there be any problem !!!if so what are the consequences

  9. I am planing to go to US but don’t have much Idea about it please help me out
    Looking for better prospect in US
    Even I am planing to do Off campus Job for an time been

    Please help me out

  10. Hello sir,
    In india after BE i.e. BS ,students are allowed to teach at diploma level student ….can we do such things in us ,,,is there any such diploma degree?

  11. hey,
    Gr8 post. very helpful. Had a question!

    What about working online from within the campus? where i can take online assignment and all the deliverables as well are online?
    would it be counted legal?

    appreciate your help.

  12. Thanks for the information and service you are providing. Its a great help to many!

    I am in a strange situation and am unsure what to do. I am finishing undergrad and have an employer sponsoring for h1b authorization soon. Few summers back, I worked for a short period at a US company for internship. But I didn’t know about needing CPT auth. and employer also didn’t seem to be aware, so no action taken. I got some minor income and filed tax return also. My question, will this impact getting h1b and whether i should do anything now? I am doubtful to tell school now, since i heard other colleges make problem. should i tell attorney filing petition for company, about this?

    Please, kindly give some info/advice on what i should do… should i just not bring it up, and remove exp from CV? I don’t know whom to ask without starting problems. Please help!

    • Raass,
      IMO, you should at least let the attorney know about it, so that they can provide you the right guidance and be aware of any possible RFEs that USCIS may issue b/c of this. You can also talk to an independent attorney if you feel concerned approaching H-1 employer’s attorney.

  13. Hey Guys,

    Firstly, very nice website and Kudos to Kumar!
    Is working from Home allowed, I mean, having a job where you work at home and deliverables are completely online? So there is no physical interaction with anyone, just online and the money also comes in to the Bank Account or Paypal …

  14. When in a foreign country, be it the United States or anywhere else, try and stay away from 3 types of issues: (1) police/security issues (2) legal (immigration-related) issues and (3) medical issues; and you’ll be all fine. Of course, medical issues is something you cannot actively control, but surely stay away from issues# 1 and 2.

    • Sir I am planning to go for mbbs degree in USA , so how much would be my average expanse In a month , where I prefer normal accomadation near to the main city and proper fooding ? PleAse help sir

  15. It is foolish to work off-campus. Find and get a job on-campus and try to work 20 hours/week. Beyond that, if you want to work off-campus, ask yourself whether you have come here on student visa or work permit. With the heavy course load and homeworks, midterms and other activities, 20 hours/week or TA/RA itself feels burdensome… Taking a risk by working off-campus illegally and not focusing on your studies is not worth it. (1) Work conditions at these places can be harsh and you cannot complain to anyone. (2) Also, at gas stations and other places, there is a slight risk involved and if a security issue arises and the police arrive, they will immediately grab hold of you since you are working illegally, although you might not be at fault. When you undergo background checks at companies for jobs, file for H1-B or green card later, you need to fill out if you were ever convicted in any police case… You are just ruining your chances of a good job/H1-B/green card for earning some meagre salary by working off-campus. I’d say: Not worth it!

    • i did not intend to work off campus but unaware of the fact that the enterprise was off-campus, started working there. I worked there for 16 hrs and as soon as i came to know that it is off campus i left it. But now the college is thinking of legal action against me and punishing me. Please advise asap.

      • Darshan, as replied on Facebook, please talk to your International student advisors and Dean of students. Accept your mistake and say you were not aware of it… They will be willing to help you as you were ignorant. Good Luck buddy ! Do NOT panic.


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