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. For off-campus jobs, your international student advisor must sign your I-20, or you can get 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 20 hours per week, you only need the signature from your international student advisor.

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. Your international student advisor can help you get the authorizations you need.

Practical Training (OPT)
This gives you the option to work in an area directly related to your degree. You’re eligible after you’ve been enrolled at least one academic year. You can work part-time while you’re in school and full time during summer or after you graduate. You get 12 cumulative months of full-time work. Part-time only counts 50% against that total. Your international student advisor can help you get the authorizations you need.

Severe Economic Hardship

We hope this situation never comes up, but say you’ve been enrolled at San Jac 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. Don’t worry. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service makes special provisions to help you. Your international student advisor can help you get authorization.