On-Campus Employment

F-1 students are eligible to work on campus for up to 20 hours per week (part-time) when school is in session and more than 20 hours per week (full-time) during semester breaks while enrolled full-time. Any on-campus job must end when you complete your course of study.

Categories of F-1 Student Employment

  • Employment for Cal State LA

    Examples: teaching/graduate assistant, research assistant, library student worker, etc

  • Work performed in a campus location for a commercial firm providing direct services to students

    Examples: Panda Express, Carl’s Jr., El Pollo Loco, etc.

  • Employment at an off-campus location which is educationally affiliated with Cal State LA

    The educational affiliation must be associated with your academic department’s established curriculum or related to contractually funded projects at the post-graduate level and be an integral part of your educational program.

Multiple On-Campus Employers

Students are permitted to have more than one on-campus job, so long as they do not exceed the permitted number of hours per week while school is in session (20 hours per week during fall and spring semesters).

Students holding employment in more than one department should inform their employers of the other position(s). 

Summer and Vacation On-Campus Employment

F-1 students may work more than 20 hours per week during authorized breaks. The following includes:

  • Official University Breaks (Thanksgiving Break, Winter Break, Spring Break).

  • The day after the last day of finals up until the start of the next semester.

  • Between semesters.

Summer is not considered a vacation period in the following situations:

  • Students who begin a new program in the summer.

  • Students completing their program in the summer semester.

  • Students returning from a Leave of Absence with a new SEVIS record in the summer.

If you are not sure whether the employment opportunity would meet the definition of “on-campus” employment, please consult with your International Student Advisor before accepting the offer.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Curricular Practical Training is defined as a work experience that is an integral part of your program of study. This type of employment must be a required part of your academic program or work for which you receive academic course credit. You must have a firm job offer from an employer before you apply for CPT. 

Internship with an International Organization

Students may accept internships with qualified international organizations. However, we urge you to discuss any employment offer with the International Office Student Adviser before accepting it. You must have a written offer from a qualified international organization.

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

OPT provides an opportunity to apply theoretical knowledge from your academic program to practical work experience. This employment must be directly related to your major field of study. If you meet the eligibility requirements, you may be authorized for 12 months of OPT and another twelve months of OPT when you complete a higher education level. OPT requires authorization from USCIS before you can start work; this procedure takes at least 90 days but can, and often does, take longer.  

Post Completion OPT

Students must complete the  OPT Course in Canvas before applying for OPT.  

Severe Economic Hardship Employment

If other employment opportunities are not available or are insufficient, an eligible F-1 student may request off-campus employment work authorization based upon severe economic hardship caused by unforeseen circumstances beyond the student's control. Eligible students must have been in student status for one academic year and must be able to clearly document the circumstances causing the economic need. For more information about this category or to apply, call the office to schedule an appointment with an International Office Advisor.