Working While Studying In The US


Working while studying in the United States is one of the methods by which students can overcome the financial challenges they face while studying.

However, the question is whether working while studying in the US is a good idea. Let’s answer this question together.

Advantages of working while studying

in the United States

One advantage of choosing to work and study in the United States is that you can earn extra money. Because of this, you can use this money to pay for some of your studying in the United States.

Working in the United States while studying will put you in a good position once your studies are completed.

Visa process for working while studying

If you are a full-time student and want to work while studying in the U.S., you need to obtain an F-1 or M-1 visa.

In evidence, both are categories of immigrant visas available to international students.

The F-1 visa is for university students who wish to be admitted to a faculty, university, accredited academic high school, other academic institution, or language training program. The M-1 visa is for professional or non-academic programs.

However, in terms of employment opportunities, the M-1 visa is more restrictive in nature. This is because visa holders are generally not allowed to work on or off campus while studying.

Therefore, if you are taking a full-time course, working in the U.S. while studying essentially means that you must obtain an F-1 visa.

Working while studying in the United States for F-1 visa holders:

An important aspect of an F-1 visa is that it prevents you from working off-campus during your first year of study.

Although you can still find work on campus, as long as you comply with the conditions and regulations. After that, once you have reached your second year, you can work off-campus.

Also, off-campus employment in America is divided into three main aspects:

♦ Curriculum Practical Training (CPT).
♦ Optional Practical Training OPT (pre-completion or post-completion).
♦ Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Optional Practical Training Annex. Or to extend the Optional Practical Training (OPT) for an additional 17 months.

Clearly, one aspect here is that students should participate in practical training while studying to take advantage of off-campus work in the United States.

Indeed, the purpose of allowing students to work while studying is to allow them to gain valuable work experience and master the skills they are learning in the classroom.

Difference between CPT and OPT programs

In the U.S., there are relatively few restrictions on the employment of students on F-1 visas.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
Under this work and study program, students can complete practical training in a field directly related to their major field of study.

In addition, the F-1 case must be valid to benefit from the CPT program’s work and study in the United States.

Basically, you get your CPT only if your work is an integral part of your specialty. It is also in the case where the experience is part of your studying program.

Certainly, once admitted to the post-graduate level, the DSO (Designated School Official) is responsible for issuing the CPT in the first semester.

This is the case if your program of study involves this type of experience. In addition, DSO will also guide you through all the relevant details.

The CPT program allows you to work full-time or part-time. At the same time, you must provide a signed cooperative agreement or letter from your employer.

Optional OPT practical training (pre- or post-completion)

On the other hand, the OPT program is for temporary work and is directly related to your field of study just like the CPT program.

During the OPT program, you will be able to enjoy the privileges of having an F-1 visa, while CPT is an integral part of your studying program.

Undoubtedly, OPT (Option Practical Training, as the name suggests) is simply optional and not mandatory.

Therefore, to further illustrate, CPT is for the employer and is only used during your graduate studies. On the other hand, OPT is also used before or after graduation, therefore, it is not only for the employer.