The amount a student can earn in the USA can vary significantly based on several factors, including the student’s location, the type of job, and the student’s work authorization status. Here’s a general overview:
- On-Campus Jobs: International students on F-1 visas are typically allowed to work on campus for up to 20 hours per week during the academic year and full-time during scheduled breaks. On-campus jobs may include positions in libraries, cafeterias, or administrative offices. The pay for on-campus jobs varies by the university and the position but is typically at least the minimum wage in the respective state.
- Optional Practical Training (OPT): F-1 students can apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT) to work off-campus in a field related to their major. The duration of OPT can be up to 12 months, with an additional 24-month extension for certain STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields. The salary during OPT can vary widely depending on the job, location, and the student’s skills and qualifications.
- Curricular Practical Training (CPT): CPT allows F-1 students to work off-campus as part of their academic program. The salary for CPT positions varies based on the industry and location.
- Assistantships and Fellowships: Graduate students often have opportunities for assistantships or fellowships that provide stipends, which can cover tuition and provide a living allowance. The stipend amount varies by institution and program.
- Part-Time Jobs: Some students, both international and domestic, may choose to work part-time jobs in retail, restaurants, or other fields to support their living expenses. These jobs typically pay at or slightly above the minimum wage in the area.
- Internships: Paid internships in certain fields, especially in technology, engineering, and finance, can offer competitive salaries. However, the pay for internships can vary widely.
- Cooperative Education (Co-op) Programs: Some universities have cooperative education programs where students alternate between work and study semesters. Co-op programs often provide a salary, which can vary depending on the field and location.
It’s important to note that the cost of living varies significantly across the USA. Students in major cities and high-cost areas may earn higher salaries, but living expenses can also be higher. Additionally, the student’s visa status and any work restrictions that apply can impact their earnings.
To get a more accurate picture of potential earnings as a student in the USA, it’s advisable to research job opportunities, salaries in your specific field, and the cost of living in your intended location. Many universities also have career services offices that can provide guidance on part-time jobs, internships, and career prospects for international students.