Employment Options for F-1 Students
Curricular Practical Training
Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is temporary authorization for practical training directly related to your major field of study. Your major field of study is listed on your I-20. You can apply for CPT during the regular academic year (you must remain registered full-time) and during the summer vacation.
Optional Practical Training
Optional Practical Training (OPT) provides F-1 students with an opportunity for hands-on work experience (work authorization) related to the academic field of study. OPT authorization that begins after completion of your academic program is called “post-completion” OPT. OPT used while you are still enrolled in your course of study is called "pre-completion" OPT. Students engaged in pre-completion OPT during the academic year must maintain full-time enrollment in classes. Pre-completion OPT affects your eligibility for Optional Practical Training (OPT).
Special Note Regarding STEM OPT:
Students in eligible STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) majors who are currently engaged in post-completion OPT may be eligible for a 24-month extension. Your job must be related to your STEM studies, and your employer must be enrolled in E-verify.
For more information regarding STEM OPT Eligibility, visit the Homeland Security’s website.
Severe Economic Hardship
If you are suffering a severe economic hardship due to unforeseen changes in your financial circumstances, you may apply to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for authorization to work off-campus. The employment authorization is granted by USCIS in increments of one year at a time. The authorization allows you to work for any employer up to 20 hours per week while you are registered full-time. It also allows you to work more than 20 hours per week during summer and semester breaks. This employment does not affect your eligibility for Optional Practical Training (OPT).
Employment Options for J-1 Students
Academic Training is work, training or experience related to a J-1 Student’s major field of study. The work, training or experience may be paid or unpaid. The Office of International Programs and Services” authorizes Academic Training.
To be eligible for Academic Training, you must document that you:
- Are currently in valid J-1 student status
- Are in good academic standing
- Have been offered a job or experience that is directly related to your major field of study
You can participate in Academic Training during any of the situations below if you have a job offer and your Academic Training has been authorized.
- During the semester
- During winter break or summer vacation
- After the completion of all required course work for the degree
- While working on one’s thesis or equivalent
- After the completion of one’s degree program (Note: The Academic Training must start no later than 30 days after the completion of your course of study.)