Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Optional Practical Training (OPT) - Students who have completed their studies can apply for Post-completion OPT if they meet the requirements. OPT is a one-year work permit approved by USCIS that allows international students to work in their field of study. The college’s DSO/PDSO has to recommend the student for OPT. Students must attend an OPT informational session before filing a request. The following information is directly taken from USCIS website.

OPT provides a practical training experience that directly relates to an F-1 student’s major area of study. A foreign student in F-1 nonimmigrant status participating in OPT must obtain an EAD from USCIS before they are authorized to work. The student may not begin employment until the date indicated on the EAD. Please see the USCIS OPT for F-1 Students webpage for the types of OPT.
The EAD establishes the student’s identity and employment authorization for Form I-9 purposes. The employer should enter the card number and expiration date under List A in Section 2 of Form I-9.

If an F-1 student’s EAD expires, the employer must reverify the student’s employment authorization in Section 3. The student may choose to present any List A or List C document that shows that the student continues to be authorized to work in the U.S.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) - Students in certain majors that include an internship as part of the curriculum can request for CPT. The college’s DSO/PDSO has to approve the CPT. Interested students must attend a CPT informational session before filing a request. Information below regarding CPT is taken directly from USCIS website:

An F-1 nonimmigrant student may begin CPT after the Designated School Official (DSO) has completed the Form I-20 endorsement page. CPT is any alternative work/study, internship, cooperative education, or other type of that is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school. CPT must be an integral part of an established curriculum.

F-1 nonimmigrant students participating in CPT must present the following three documents to establish identity and employment authorization:

  • Unexpired foreign passport
  • Form I-20 with the DSO’s endorsement for employment
  • Form I-94 or Form I-94A indicating F-1 nonimmigrant status

When completing Form I-9 for an F-1 student in CPT, in Section 2 under List A, employers should enter the student’s:

  • Foreign passport number
  • Form I-94 number, and
  • Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) number and program expiration date from Form I-20

On-campus Employment

On-campus Employment - There are occasionally work opportunities for on-campus employment after you have completed one semester with 12 units and are in good academic standing. Students need to contact the International Student Center to get clearance for on-campus employment. Below is more information about on-campus employment as stated on USCIS website:

Locations where foreign students in F-1 nonimmigrant status may work include:

  • The school’s premises, including on-location commercial firms that provide services for students on campus, such as the school bookstore or cafeteria
  • Somewhere off campus that is educationally affiliated with the school

Employment that does not provide direct services to students is not on-campus employment. For example, an on-campus commercial firm, such as a construction company that builds a school building, does not provide direct student services. Guidelines for on-campus employment are available on U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program webpage.

Off-campus Employment

Off-campus Employment - Under special circumstances and severe economic hardship USCIS may approve an F-1 student for off-campus employment. Student must have completed one full-year of academic coursework and be in good standing to apply for off-campus employment due to economic hardship. Students interested in applying for off-campus employment should contact the International Student Center and schedule an appointment with the DSO.


Taxes - All students who earn an income must follow the Internal Revenue Services (IRS) guidelines for paying into social security and medicare, and filling taxes.

See the link below for more information:
IRS.gov - Foreign students and scholars

Helpful Links for Finding Employment and Resumes

When applying for internships, on-campus or off-campus employment, employers will ask for a resume and cover letter.Your resume is your most important marketing tool.Resume should emphasize your previous work experience and what skills or accomplishments you can contribute to the organization.

View the links to help you search for employment, create a cover letter and resume:

Cover Letter