As an international or prospective international student, you’re probably curious about job opportunities in the USA. Here is some good news for you! The average part-time job salary in the USA for international students can be quite promising! The pay will depend on the job's type, size, and location. To help you better understand how much you could make by working part-time, we've put together some numbers based on our research.
Finding Part-Time Jobs in the USA
The USA has always been a major study-abroad destination for international students. One of the reasons behind this is the work opportunities in the USA for international students. The pay scale is pretty large compared to other countries. It will help you to develop interpersonal skills and allow you to build your professional network. It will also allow you to get involved with people, especially if you're new to the country and don't know many locals.
As an international student, you must meet specific requirements to work part-time in the USA. We advise you to learn about the rules, regulations, and laws before applying anywhere. We will help you to know more about how to find part-time jobs, the job responsibilities and requirements, and the part-time job salary in the USA for international students.
Options for International Students
You have several options for working as an international student in the USA. The minimum wage for a part-time job in the USA is USD 7.25 per hour, which translates to a salary of USD 14,080 yearly. You can get paid per hour or make a weekly salary based on how much work you complete each week.
You should always consider a part-time job that allows you to balance your studies and personal life while earning a little extra money. As an international student here are the options for you to work part-time:
- On-campus jobs: These are available at the university and can help you earn money while studying. If your university offers on-campus jobs, check out the website before applying. Remember that as an international student on an F-1 visa, you can only work on campus during the first year.
- Off-campus jobs: With some exceptions, international students can only work off-campus through either Curriculum Practical Training (CPT) and/or Optional Practical Training (OPT).
The USA has tight restrictions limiting where, when, and how international students can work. So as an F-1 holder, you should be very careful about meeting these requirements if you intend to work. However, some exceptions depend on their position and where it falls under federal law. You must:
- Maintain a valid F-1 status.
- Only work on campus during your first year of study.
- Apply for the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) to work off-campus if unexpected events impact your financial capacity to study and live in the USA
- Secure authorisation for on-campus work (CPT or OPT) after your first year
- Not hold more than one part-time job per week at any given time unless it's for educational purposes like attending classes or tutoring others.
- Work up to 20 hours weekly when your classes are ongoing. You can work up to 40 hours during the break.
Where to Look for Part-Time Jobs in the USA?
Part-time jobs are a great way to earn money while studying, so finding the right one is essential. There are many ways that you can do this:
- Visit the Career Center at your university or college. Ask them for help finding part-time employment opportunities in your area. They will also inform you about the salary and what skills you need from your employees. They can also help you get more information about which companies are hiring right now. Remember that for CPT and OPT applications, your university is not going to secure the job for you. You will have to independently apply and secure the job offer yourself
- Look on job boards like Indeed or Monster for part-time jobs that might interest you. These sites often have real estate companies advertising positions and other small businesses that want someone to hire. You should also check out social media sites like Facebook Groups because you might find a lot of information from the university community about part-time opportunities on campus or for people in your field!!
If you're looking for a part-time job and want to make some extra cash while studying, then working on campus is one of your best options. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you are working on-campus:
- Have a valid F-1 visa to work on your home campuses.
- Also have a GPA of 2.0 or higher. Undoubtedly, the university will not allow you to work if it compromises your academic performance. Remember, as an international student, your first priority should be your studies.
- Work no more than 20 hours weekly (when classes are ongoing).
- Work full-time (up to 40 hours) on campus only during holidays and vacations.
- Demonstrate good disciplinary standing by not being involved in violating university policies.
Highest Paying Jobs (On-Campus)
|Highest paying part-time jobs ||Average wages per hour (USD) |
|Tutor ||$21.31 |
|Department Assistant|| $16.44|
| Research Assistant ||$15.48 |
|Library Monitor ||$13.24 |
|Teaching Assistant ||$11.85 |
|Barista/Server/Cashier at campus cafes || $11.59|
|Campus Ambassador ||$10.94|
If you’re thinking your options are just a handful on campus, don’t fret. Universities, even the smaller ones, are large organizations with multiple departments and operations. And there are always openings for people to keep it all running smoothly and synchronously. From administrative and academic positions to applying for work at any of the campus businesses populating your university, you may be surprised by the number of options at your disposal.
1. Peer Mentor
Tutoring or peer mentoring is a popular part-time job for international students. It is a great way to make money while you're studying. Your underclassmen may appreciate your help navigating the program you enrolled in! In fact, your university might love to take you on to help at their academic support centres! Check out if your university runs a peer mentoring program or if there are any student openings at the writing centre or math support centre. You can earn up to USD 21.31 per hour by tutoring. If you are studying B.Ed or M.Ed, this is an excellent opportunity to get some practical experience! You may be able to take up off-campus CPT and OPT opportunities after your first year.
2. Department Assistant
An academic department assistant is a student who assists a professor or instructor in the classroom. Your work will involve:
- Assisting students with their work
- Grading papers
- Providing feedback with assignments
- Setting up exams
- Helping with any other tasks that need to be completed for the class to run smoothly
You must be familiar with standard tests and assignments that may appear in a college curriculum. As a department assistant, you can earn around USD 10-16 per hour, depending on your skill set.
3. Research Assistant
The work of a research study assistant is similar to that of a lab technician, except that you will be working with a professor leading research and perhaps a team of other students on a more complex project. Your professors who are conducting doctoral-level studies may be on the lookout for bright young minds hoping to pursue postgraduate research too. The great thing about this experience is that along with getting a practical taste of postgraduate-level research, you receive credit in the officially published research too!
Your job responsibilities can include:
- Collecting data and running analyses through a variety of research methods
- Conducting literature reviews
- Responding to research-related emails
- Participating in project meetings.
- Making progress reports
- Write up findings and present them to professors
You can earn up to USD 13-15 per hour. This is an excellent opportunity if you are hoping to design your own study and publish your own research paper someday. Research assistantships can also lead to future job opportunities like research and development engineer, adjunct faculty, assistant manager, research engineer, business analyst, program coordinator etc. At the postgraduate level, a research assistantship may be one of the options the university offers to offset your tuition fees!
4. Library Assistant
A university library can be a building or multiple buildings housing expansive resources, including rare and limited edition books and hundreds of thousands of items. They’re often a core component of any university campus and a hub for university students to gather to seek out references and resources or to study in a quiet place. Given the size and sheer volume of items in a university library, library assistants are vital to ensure that the resources are kept safe and orderly so students can access the materials they need. The pay scale varies depending on the university and state. Sometimes it goes up as high as USD 12-13 per hour
If you are considering this job, make sure you attend the appropriate training. You’ll need to learn the specific organization system the library uses, how to use its databases, track resources, follow up on late returns, and more. A library may not just be about books and research papers - you might have to train students on how to use your library’s research databases to search for journals, rent out equipment and media rooms, and more.
5. Teaching Assistant
Teaching assistantships, like research assistantships, are great options for graduate-level students looking for work experience. Assistantships are usually an option to help postgraduate students offset their tuition fees too! It's a great way to gain experience in teaching and it can lead to a full-time position after you graduate. You can earn up to USD 11 per hour.
Your jobs can include:
- Organising/preparing the classroom for lessons
- Helping students who need extra assistance
- Assisting teachers in the planning activities
- Assisting teachers in managing the classroom environment
- Putting away supplies and equipment after classes
- Assisting with trips and sporting events
- Taking part in training and performing administrative responsibilities
- Conducting classes, taking quizzes, and invigilating exam
If you want to work in education, becoming a teaching assistant can lead to positions such as assessor, private tutor, exams officer, and educational researcher. Teaching assistantships are great for students who want to pursue a doctoral degree!
6. Work at Campus Cafes
If there’s one thing a university student can’t do without, it’s caffeine. The campus coffee shop will always be a popular spot with students and faculty alike and is a great place to get some work experience. The average salary for a barista/server at campus cafes is between $7-10 USD per hour. The average annual salary for the job is up to USD 20,000. This can vary depending on the size of your campus, the cafe itself, and how busy it is.
You need to have these skills if you want to work as a barista/server:
- Operate effectively under pressure
- Offer goods and services
- Collaborate effectively with others
- Capacity to work alone
- Good communication skills
- Sharp memory
- Function effectively with your hand
The best part about this job is that it allows you to meet people and get involved in campus life. If you want to stay busy, this might be a good option. You can also expect to make friends along the way who will become lifelong friends.
It is a great place to start if you don't know much about the job market or have experience selling products. Regarding salary, cashiers at campus cafes can expect to earn between USD 8-11 per hour. Send your resume and cover letter to the cafe's human resources department to apply for the position. The application process may take several days or weeks, depending on how busy they are, so be patient! Most employees will receive training on basic customer service techniques such as handling money transactions.
- Greet customers when they enter or leave the place
- Use cash registers to manage transactions
- Collect payments.
- Provide receipts, refunds, and changes
- Maintain clean and neat checkout areas. It will give a good impression on your work management skill
If you are studying accounting or business management, this is an excellent opportunity to get some practical experience. You can learn valuable skills like communication, multitasking, money management, collaboration, etc. You can work at banks or credit unions as they recruit people who already know how to handle money. This job may also lead to more attractive work prospects in the future.
7. Campus Ambassador
As a campus ambassador, you will be responsible for contacting students and providing them with information about their university. You'll also help them navigate their way around the campus, from registering for classes to get directions. This is one part-time job that requires some social interaction! You'll need to know how to connect with people different from you. In addition, candidates must have an outgoing personality and enjoy meeting new people.
- Promoting the university and its programs to prospective students
- Attend in-person events and make online recommendations for potential students
- Spend some time attending local community events or serving on student committees. You need to have a strong command of spoken English and interpersonal skills
The duties of a campus ambassador vary based on the organization's needs. Still, most involve meeting with prospective students face-to-face and providing them with information about their program options at your university. You can expect to earn USD 15 per hour.
Off-campus work is a term used to describe any type of employment that doesn't take place on your campus or in the city where you live. It can be done while attending classes, but it's not limited to just those times. There are two main types of off-campus jobs available for international students:
- Curricular Practical Training (CPT): CPT is course-specific training! When you are applying for CPT, it must be linked to the subject you are studying. For example, suppose you're an international student studying electrical engineering and want to work as an electrical engineer for a company. In that case, CPT jobs might be an excellent way to earn money
- Optional Practical Training (OPT): OPT permits students on an F-1 visa to study temporarily in the United States and work in a field that is closely relevant to their studies
The requirements for working off-campus:
- Must have a valid F-1 visa
- Secure work permission in the form of OPT or CPT
- Working off-campus for international students without proper authorization is illegal and can result in visa cancellation or deportation
The USA has rather particular requirements when it comes to international student work opportunities. Unlike working on campus, to qualify for either CPT or OPT you need to pursue an opportunity within your field of study. Your field and the role you secure as part of your practical training experience determine the salary range. We recommend looking into opportunities and salary ranges based on your field of study!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is the average hourly pay for part-time jobs in the USA?
The average hourly pay for part-time jobs in the USA is $9.00 per hour. The highest paying job with an hourly rate of $18/hr can be found at Home Depot and Starbucks, while the lowest paying job with an hourly rate of $7/hr can be found at McDonald's and Walmart. Note, though, that these averages don't always apply to international students, who only qualify for off-campus jobs if they have CPT and/or OPT authorization and if the job role is relevant to their degree.
What are some good options for international students looking to find a part-time job?
You can always work on your university campus. From working on the administrative side or in academic support to working for any businesses that run on-campus, you will have a variety of options to choose from. For off-campus work, you will need to wait until the second year of your program to look into CPT and/or OPT authorization. Both options require your employment to be relevant to your field of study.
Our Final Thoughts
Part-time job salaries in the USA for international students can help with the financial wiggle room as you study abroad. Remember, though, that as an international student, there are some limitations you need to adhere to when applying and working part-time jobs. Whether you choose CPT or OPT (or both), you need the right clearance and need to pick work that is relevant to your field of study. While these restrictions may seem discouraging, the variety of work opportunities accessible within your field may surprise you. Specialized and relevant work experience also builds up your resume and makes it easier to transition into your full-time career after graduation!