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The International Student Blog

Work and Study in the United States as an International Student!

Posted on May 11th, 2018 by Yessica Prato

Students worldwide often consider coming to the United States to study at some of the most prestigious universities around the globe. However, most students will travel here on a tight budget as education costs can be quite steep. For this reason, many schools began to offer employment options to international students like you! It’s important to note, though, not all schools offer work-study programs so you will want to consider asking your admissions counselor about employment options before you apply.

How can you go about finding an employment in a country you hardly even know? Well, let’s start with the basics…


Working while studying?

Work-study is becoming a popular option for US students and international students alike as education costs continues to rise. These programs allow you to hold a job while working on your degree. CPT, or Curricular Practical Training, can be optional or required based on your major. International students specifically have many opportunities design for them:


  • Working part-time (20 hours a week or less) while being enrolled in classes full-time
  • Working full-time (more than 20 hours a week) while enrolled full-time in classes. Some schools allow you to take evening, online, and/or weekend classes
  • On and off campus employment


Required vs Optional CPT

CPT employment must be related to your field of study. Some majors mandate their students to participate in CPT in order to graduate. Optional CPT is work experience related to your degree that is not required. Work-study can be an internship, cooperative education, or practicum which is offered by sponsoring employers. The employment must be related to your major. For example, an engineer student may intern at an engineering firm or work in research pertaining to engineering. CPT is also available to both undergraduate and master students.



CPT is not to be confused with OPT (Optional Practical Training). CPT must be completed before graduation as it’s usually an integral part of your major. It allows you to receive course credit for this employment. OPT can be completed before or after graduation, you do not need to earn credit, and is not employer specific.

Note: If you work full-time during your CPT for 12 months, you will not be eligible for OPT in the future. Part-time CPT doesn’t affect your eligibility for OPT. Make sure you plan ahead and work closely with your international student advisor!


So what do you need?

Like anyone working in the US, you will need work authorization and a social security number in order to be employed. In order to apply for CPT, you must have an offer of employment related to your field of study, you must have a valid international student status, and generally schools require you to have completed at least one academic year unless you are applying for required CPT.

If you’re already studying in the US and are interested in your school’s CPT options you will want to consider talking to your admissions office, international student office, or the career help center to inquire about work-study opportunities for international students. They will also be able to direct you and help you process all of the required paperwork to apply for your work permit.

If you’re not yet studying in the US (or plan on switching schools when pursuing a graduate degree) and are searching for a university that will allow you to participate in CPT, you might want to consider a program like HTIR Work-Study USA. HTIR simplifies the process by connecting potential international students in pursuit of a graduate degree with a university that meets their needs.


Working in the US is a great experience. Not only will you be able to earn some money while you work on your degree and be able to cover some of your school expenses, but you will also be exposed to the US workforce as an employee. This could even lead to future permanent employment in the US!

Written by Yessica Prato

Yessica joined the team in 2016. Originally from Colombia, she migrated to the United States in 2005 with her family. While living in Kansas, she attended Kansas State University. Her interest in education and international studies along with her experience in bilingual customer service led her to EIC. She has also had the opportunity to travel to Mexico, Brazil, and Colombia. When not in the office, you'll find her immersed in a good book or with her dogs at the beach.

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25 Responses to “Work and Study in the United States as an International Student!”

  1. Anthony Adewole Says:

    I would like to go for my masters program in the US and I won’t mind if I can benefit from your work and study program.

  2. Bryanna Davis Says:

    Hi Anthony,

    That’s great you’re interested in work study. To request more information you can visit here.

  3. Newman Mwagomba Says:

    I am so much interested in joining this helpful programme

  4. Maria Says:

    Hi! My name is maria and I’m studying business administration. It is possible to do CPT with your own company. I’m thinkin about opening an LLC. What are your thoughts on that?

  5. Bryanna Davis Says:

    Hi Maria,

    Thanks for your comment! If you have specific questions for HTIR Work-Study you can contact them directly. Good luck!

  6. Keva Albries Says:

    As an International Student can I work off campus with the CPT?

    How do I get an CPT is this a card?

    Thank You

  7. Bryanna Davis Says:

    Hi Keva,

    It will depend on your situation. If you’re already in the US you will want to start by speaking with your academic advisor. If you’re not yet in the US you might want to check out HTIR Work-Study.

    You can also learn more on CPT in the US.

  8. eshraq almaquali Says:

    I am so much interested in joining this helpful programme

  9. Gift Soko Says:

    To study and work in the USA has always been my dream up to date. This means that, the programme is very exciting and helpful to me. I can be very glad if I can have this opportunity and I am ready to move to the USA if this opportunity can be available to me.

  10. Chibuike michael Says:

    Good day,am currently a final year UNN pharmacy student about starting my internship in Nigeria,please i have a great passion to study msc clinical pharmacy in united states,is the HTIR work study program available for my field,please I need a reply, Godbless you???

  11. Bryanna Davis Says:

    Hi Chibuike,

    For the most accurate information you will want to contact HTIR work-study directly. Good luck!

  12. Olubunmi Akinboboye Says:

    This is wonderful, i have been praying and hoping to have this opportunity someday. God bless you, am ready to utilize this chance to the fullness. Thanks

  13. Obi Kelvin Says:

    I want to apply nd study

  14. Luis Montoya Says:

    Me llamo luis fernando montoya, soy estudiante internacional en NEW YORK, En la escuela TCS INTERNATIONAL, alli no me permiten trabajar, quisiera buscar una opcion de practicar mis estudios de lenguaje trabajando, lei el articulo sobre su universidad, me podria contar mas de ella, que estudios tiene, si es dificil ingresar, gracias.

  15. Bryanna Davis Says:

    Thank you for visiting Luis.

    You will want to contact HTIR work-study directly for more information. Good luck!

  16. Blessing Makadho Says:

    I would like to go for a medicine program in USA please

  17. Bryanna Davis Says:

    Hi Blessing,

    You can get started by searching for schools in the US. Good luck!

  18. toure mohamed boncana Says:

    thank you i m a refugees

  19. Fakorede ayowole Says:

    Good day, this is grate opptinity for me, I would like to know how to apply. Thanks

  20. Queen Says:

    I have filled the forms for HTIR work study program. I got a mail with some suggested universities but NOT the course I wanted. I also wanted to ask about arrangements for kids while I study. How do I go about this?

  21. Bryanna Davis Says:

    Hi Queen,

    We’ll send you an email with how you can contact HTIR Work Study directly with your questions!

  22. Epnara Says:

    I dream to come to United States and get study. Could you please tell me what schools are offers work-study program? Could you give me a link of schools. Thank you in advance..

  23. Emmanuel Anyebe Edward Says:

    Thank you.
    This is a great way to help people. God will reward you all

  24. Kamila Islamova Says:

    What about the programs for getting a bachelor degree?

  25. Bryanna Davis Says:

    Hi Kamila,

    Unfortunately the HTIR Work Study program is for those who already have a bachelor’s degree. If you need a bachelor’s degree you can find a school to attend in our school search.

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