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Optional Practical Training

From the Classroom to the Workplace

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Optional Practical Training (OPT) is employment authorization which allows F-1 students to apply knowledge gained in the classroom to a practical work experience. Students may be approved for to up to 12 months of optional practical training per educational level.  Optional Practical Training requires authorization from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which typically takes 2-3 months to obtain. We recommend that students apply 3-4 months before they wish to begin employment. 

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for optional practical training, you must:

  1. have been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis for one full academic year,
  2. currently be maintaining a full-time program of study and valid F-1 status, and
  3. intend to work in a job directly related to your major field of study.

A job offer is not required to be eligible for or to apply for OPT, but the student is expected to work or to be actively seeking employment after the OPT approval card (EAD) is issued. Student must report all changes to employment status and employer information to Otero Junior College within 10 days of the change. Students on OPT cannot be without employment for more than a total of 90 days from the start date of their OPT to the end date of their OPT and positions must be related to the field of study that a student has been engaged in and commensurate with your degree level.