Working in the US

Get Authorization and You Get to Work

You may decide that you want to seek employment while you’re going to San Jacinto College. That’s fine, many of our students do.
But as an international student on F-1 status, certain rules apply.

Basically, you must get authorization to get a job. Off-campus employment is not permitted. There are very few exceptions for off-campus employment.  

We encourage you to meet with the International Student Services team to review this information.  

If eligible, you will need to apply for an employment authorization card from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Be sure to renew your authorization before it expires – even one day of work past the expiration is a serious offense.

For on-campus jobs, which are limited to 19.5 hours per week, you will need to meet with International Student Services and/or Career and Transfer for more information.

Training Related to Your Degree

Many of our degree programs have a working component to them – where you can get real job experience from actual employers. As with other types of employment, you’ll have to get authorization first. The two most common categories of training are:

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
This is employment that is directly related and integral to your degree curriculum. You’re eligible after you’ve been enrolled at least one academic year. CPT is for students that are pursing a program that requires a mandatory internship/practicum in order to complete their program of study.

Optional Practical Training (OPT)
This gives you the option to work in an area directly related to your degree once you graduate from San Jacinto College. You’re eligible to apply once you are enrolled in your last semester of courses prior to graduation and have completed one academic year. If approved by USCIS, students may be eligible for one year of employment authorization.

Severe Economic Hardship

We hope this situation never comes up, but say you’ve been enrolled at San Jacinto College for at least a year and you suddenly find that you’re facing economic hardships beyond your control and you need to get a job. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service makes special provisions to help you. Your international educational planner/counselor can help you with the application process.