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Employment Information

Employment, Internships, and Career Services

Students with an F-1 Student Visa generally do not work while they are going to school. Legal work permission is very limited. However, at MC we want to prepare you for your career and work and give you good chances for useful experience. Service learning and some on-campus jobs helping other students may be available.

Through Montgomery College, you can intern* at the Smithsonian Institution, the world’s largest museum, education, and research complex; the National Institute of Standards and Technology; Marriott International, a multinational diversified hospitality company; Holy Cross Hospital on our Germantown Campus; or at a company along the biotechnology corridor, where the human genome is being sequenced. Some major programs require an internship class and most allow you to take an internship class as part of your degree.

Internships that Accept International Undergraduate Students (F-1 Visa)new window

* An intern is a student or trainee who works, sometimes without pay, at a trade or occupation in order to gain work experience. Interns should not "make money" for the business.

Career Services provide a range of services to students and alumni to support the career planning process. This includes access to career exploration information, opportunities for hands-on experience, and support for the job search process. 

Students in legal F-1 status have opportunities to work on campus and off campus. The Student Employment Services Office, on each campus, provides assistance in preparing for and searching for jobs. They also provide an online employment site with on and off-campus job listings, and will work with you to update your resume, prepare for interviews, and help you find the internship or job opportunity you are seeking.

On-Campus Employment

To apply for on-campus jobs:

  • Most on-campus jobs are listed on the College Central Networknew window (CCN). Get started by creating your CCN accountnew window.
  • You (the student) must speak directly with the supervisor of the job to be hired.
  • Look for positions called "Student Assistant". These are the ones F-1  students can apply for (not "work study").
  • Some jobs open up during the semester as student schedules change.
    *Supervisors may contact prior applicants or other interested students directly about those, even before they are posted on CCN.
  • Many on-campus jobs require you to have been a full time, credit-level student for at least one semester before applying.

Before your interview:

Off-Campus Employment

MOST off-campus employment authorization requires that the student be enrolled full time for at least two consecutive regular academic semesters BEFORE authorization can be granted. (An exception is for internships directly with a recognized International Organization which you can read about herenew window, or view the list new windowof these organizations).

ALL Off-Campus work requires the specific authorization of USCIS and may take up to 4 months to process. PLAN AHEAD! There are Instruction Sheets for the two most utilized types of Off-Campus work authorization Curricular Practical Training and Optional Practical Training.
If there has been an extreme and unexpected change in a student's financial support they may be able to apply for employment authorization for Severe Economic Hardship. See the International Coordinator IMMEDIATELY if you feel you may qualify to apply for this.

To complete the paperwork to apply for any off-campus employment an appointment will be required with one of the Coordinators.

Employer Resources

International students require authorization before they are eligible to work off-campus. The procedure required to hire an international student depends on the student's visa status and typically involves little or no extra work for the employer. The International Coordinator's at Montgomery College can assist students with employer questions regarding hiring students with F-1 or M-1 visa status sponsored by the College. Students work with the Office of International Students to obtain work authorization. For students with F-1 visa status, work is limited to 20 hours per week during the academic year (fall and spring semesters), but is unrestricted during school breaks (summer and winter terms), or if the student completed all coursework. Authorization types available to F-1 students:

Authorization Type: Optional Practical Training [OPT] (PDF, Get Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader - Link opens in new window) for employment in field of study

Available To: Students with F-1 visa status
Maximum Duration of Authorization: 12 months
Hourly Limit: No more than 20 hours during the academic terms; may be up to 40 hours per week for summer or after graduation
Documentation from Employer: No paperwork is required on the part of the employer to request OPT
Authorizing Agent: United States Citizenship and Immigration Services [USCIS]
Processing Time: On Average, 2-3 months

Documentation Showing Work Authorization: Students receive an Employment Authorization Document [EAD] card to document their work eligibility once their applications are approved. The dates a student has requested (to work) are printed on page 2 of the form I-20. Students work full time only if they are not required to be attending classes, or part-time (up to 20 hours per week) if they are enrolled in degree courses. This is also noted on page 2.

For the purposes of completing the I-9 form, the 11 digit Admission/Departure number from the I-94 card AND the “A” number on the EAD card should be entered in the space also allotted for the Alien Registration (Green Card) number.

Students are legally permitted to work while a Social Security Card is being processed.  The Social Security Cards, which include the notation “Valid for Employment with DHS authorization”, can be used with (for OPT) a valid EAD for OPT  OR (for CPT) the notation on the form I-20 for CPT..

Please also be aware that F-1 students and their employers are EXEMPT from Social Security and Medicare taxes (making them less expensive for you to hire).  You may find information on the IRS websitenew window.


Authorization Type: Curricular Practical Training [CPT] (PDF, Get Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader - Link opens in new window) for internships, co-op programs, and work experience for credit
Available to: Students with F-1 visa status who have not completed their degree programs.
Maximum Duration of Authorization: No maximum, however 11+ months of full-time CPT will make a student ineligible for OPT.
Hourly Limit: During semester 20 hrs/week, during breaks 20+ hrs/week
Documentation from Employer: To receive this authorization the employer must provide an offer letter on letterhead stating the following:
  • Specific start and end dates of the internship/co-op
  • Number of hours per week
  • Address of the workplace
  • Amount of compensation
  • Job description
  • The name of the supervisor during the internship/co-op
  • Documentation from the Academic Department
  • Statement that the work noted by the employer is appropriate for the awarding of academic credit for the course in which the student has enrolled
  • Specific dates the student will be allowed to work to receive credit
  • The name of the supervising faculty member 

Authorizing Agent: Montgomery College Office of International Students
Processing Time: 2 business days maximum
Documentation Showing Work Authorization: The student will receive a new I-20 which will indicate they are approved for CPT.  Notation of both the employer and authorized work dates will show on page 2 .  This notation officially documents their employment eligibility.

For the purposes of completing the I-9 form, the 11-digit Admission/Departure number from the I-94 card should be entered in the space allotted for the Alien Registration (Green Card) number. 

Students are legally permitted to work while a Social Security Card is being processed.  The Social Security Cards, which include the notation “Valid for Employment with DHS authorization”, can be used with the notation on the form I-20 for CPT.  Students cannot APPLY for the Social Security Card and Number until they have received their CPT Authorization on the form I-20.  With that authorization they are eligible for a SSN, any delay would be from government database issues outside of the student’s control.

Please also be aware that F-1 students and their employers are EXEMPT from Social Security and Medicare taxes. Visit Foreign Student Liability for Social Security and Medicare Taxesnew window for details.