International Student Center
Current Students > International Student Center > Information for Current International Students > Working as an F1 Student

Working as an F-1 Student

F-1 students need prior authorization from an International Student Counselor for any kind of work for pay, on or off campus.

F-1 students may only obtain a Social Security number if legally employed in the USA. This is a Social Security Administration regulation.

On Campus

International students can work only up to 20 hours/week while school is in session. When classes are not in session (vacation), they may work full time, or 40 hours per week. In order to find a job on campus, please visit Career and Transfer Center in Room A-123.

Off Campus Options

There are options for off campus employment as an F-1 student. These options include: Curricular Practical Training (CPT), Post and Pre Completion Optional Practical Training and Severe Economic Hardship.

CPT-Curricular Practical Training or CO-OP

Students may work in his or her field of study while completing their major requirements through CO-Operative Education (CO-OP). With CO-OP, you will be working, and receiving credit, at the same time.

Optional Practical Training (OPT) (Pre completion of study and Post completion of study)

Pre Completion OPT: Pre-Completion Optional Practical Training is appropriate for students who have not yet met the requirements to complete their degree, but would like authorization to work in their field of study. Authorization is granted on a part-time basis (20 hours per week) while school is in session. The student may work full time during official College breaks only.

Post-Completion OPT

Post-Completion Optional Practical Training, or more commonly, “OPT”, is off-campus work authorization in your field of study. If granted by USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) the authorization is for 12 months and 40 hours per week (full time). If you are interested in this, please come to a workshop and download the OPT Packet PDF.

Severe Economic Hardship

Severe Economic Hardship is employment authorization granted by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to an F-1 visa holder who has suffered severe economic hardship due to unexpected problems. To learn more, please call the ISC for an appointment with your International Student Counselor.