International and Immigrant Students Optional Practical Training


Optional Practical Training (OPT) Defined as Pre-Completion (F-1 only) and Post-Completion (F-1 and M-1 only)

Optional practical training is abbreviated as OPT. Only F-1 visa holders are eligible for both pre-completion and post-completion optional practical training. M-1 visa holders are only eligible for post-completion practical training.

Definitions

Pre-completion - OPT permits you to work before you earn your degree. (only F-1 visa holders are eligible.)

Part-time

  • You may work a maximum of 20 hours per week while school is in session.

Full-time

  • You may apply for full-time authorization during the annual vacation. For example during the summer period.
  • You may have a maximum of an aggregate of 12 months of pre-completion OPT but work done through part-time pre-completion OPT is subtracted from post completion OPT.
  • Work does not have to be required for a course or related to your major.
  • You must appropriately report your employer information.

Post-completion - OPT permits you to work full-time for a maximum aggregate of 12 months following earning an associate degree from JCCC. (Only F-1 and M-1 visa holders are eligible.

  • Work must be related to your major.
  • You may not begin employment until the start date on your EAD card and you may not work after the expiration date on your EAD card.
  • You must appropriately report your employer information.

Procedure - Consult with an IISS DSO and submit a Faculty and Counselor Recommendation for Optional Practical Training form to the IISS office. Refer to the form for additional instructions.

Location/Employer - Any employer for which you can perform work related to your major

Duration - Between the start and end dates noted on your current, unexpired EAD card

EAD Card -Employment Authorization Card adjudicated by USCIS

You may not begin employment until the start date on your EAD card and you may not work after the expiration date on your EAD card.

Hours per week:

  • Pre-completion OPT - permits you to work only work 20 hours per week as long as you have a USCIS EAD card that has not expired, and have appropriately reported your employer information to JCCC.
  • Post-completion OPT - you may work full time as long as you have a valid USCIS EAD card that has not expired, and you have appropriately reported your employer information to JCCC.

Field/level of work:

  • Pre-completion OPT - employment does not have to be required for a course or related to your major.
  • Post-completion OPT - employment must be related to your JCCC associate degree.

Recommended Post Completion - OPT application dead lines

  • If you are graduating in spring semester apply by March 1. If you are graduating in the fall semester apply by September 1.

Limitations:

  1. Students who have received one year or more of full-time CPT are NOT eligible for post-completion OPT following graduation.
  2. There is a 20-hour-a-week limit for pre-completion OPT done while school is in session, If the student still has coursework to be completed. (Over 20 hours a week pre-completion OPT may be done during official school breaks or after the student has completed all coursework required for the degree) Refer to the academic calendar for the official school breaks.
  3. Students who have received one year of OPT at the associate’s or higher degree level are not eligible for another OPT at the associate’s level.

JCCC Career Development can help you prepare for networking, applying for a job, creating a resume, preparing for information and employment interviews and writing thank you notes and cover letters.