easy jobs that pay well
International students in the US are allowed to work while studying but with certain limitations. Photo: Andy Jacobsohn/AFP

Between tuition fees, accommodation and living expenses, studying abroad is an expensive affair. 

As an international student, you might be wondering if there are easy jobs that pay well for you to earn some extra pocket money to afford the occasional meal outs or trips around the country. 

A recent yearly report by Statista showed that the federal minimum wage in the US is US$7.25 per hour but this varies from state to state. 

As of January 2023, the District of Columbia has the highest minimum wage in the US at US$16.50 per hour, followed by Washington at US$15.74 per hour as the state minimum wage. 

But finding a part-time job as an international student in the US is easier said than done but thankfully most universities offer a wide range of on-campus job opportunities. 

Here are easy jobs that pay well on-campus for international students:

easy jobs that pay well

It’s important for F-1 visa holders to learn the limitations around part-time jobs to avoid putting their student status at risk or worse, deportation. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images North America/Getty Images via AFP

Work limitations on an F-1 visa  

International students in the US are considered F-1 visa holders. While you are allowed to work while studying, there are still certain limitations you have to be aware of, especially when it concerns working part-time in the country. 

Breaking the rules can put your student status at risk, and can even lead to deportation.

Students on an F-1 visa are entitled to work on-campus for a maximum of 20 hours a week during term time. This can go up to 40 hours a week during holiday periods. 

On-campus employment can include jobs on the school premises or at an affiliated off-campus location. 

While there is a cap on working hours, you are still allowed to take on multiple jobs on campus. Just as long as you abide by the maximum working hour rule. 

There are exceptions to this rule. Students who can demonstrate that due to “emergent circumstance has affected his or her source of support” are eligible to work for more than 20 hours.

Before you can start working on-campus, you have to get permission from your designated school official (DSO) who will explain your employment options to you and ensure that you maintain your F-1 visa status. 

You will also need certification letters from the DSO and the employer. These letters have to be presented to the officials at the local Social Security Administration office to get a Social Security number.

6 easy on-campus jobs that pay well

easy jobs that pay well

International students in the US are allowed to apply for part-time jobs on campus with a 20 hour working hour cap a week. Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images North America/Getty Images via AFP

1. Campus ambassador

Average wage: US$10.94 per hour

If you’re someone who naturally enjoys meeting with new people and working in a team, then working as a campus ambassador is among the easy jobs that pay well. 

Campus ambassadors are students who represent the face of the university and are in charge of promoting the university and showing students why they should apply.

You may also be asked to give guided tours of the university campus on open days, sharing your own knowledge and other interesting facts about the university.

2. Library assistant

Average wage: US$13.24 per hour

Another one of the easy jobs that pay well, a library assistant comes with various tasks.

Some of your responsibilities include shelving books, helping people find books and other materials and making recommendations for useful books.

Other than that, you will also be expected to provide administrative support to the librarians and help to organise any events at the library during term time.

3. Sales assistant

Average wage: US$20.00 per hour

Next on the list is sales assistant. Most universities would have a mini supermarket or a corner shop on campus where you can apply to work part-time.

Some universities may also have shops selling branded clothing and merchandise. You may just bag some of those comfy hoodies and cute mugs for free.

4. Tutor or peer mentor

Average wage: US$21.31 per hour

If becoming a teaching assistant sounds like too much pressure, why not try tutoring or peer mentoring as a start?

This involves offering support to fellow students who require extra help on the course content, readings or assignments.

This job is particularly well-matched for international students, who can often provide mentees with a different perspective or way of learning.