Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Off-Campus Employment for F-1 Students 

F-1 students may engage in off-campus employment under the options specified below. You may not begin employment off-campus before obtaining written authorization from the Buckman Center or the USCIS.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is available for employment that fulfills the F11 requirement.

  • CPT is a benefit of F-1 status that permits off-campus employment that offers experience that is intregal to the student's degree. In order to begin the approval process for CPT, the student must petition to, and receive approval from, the FCC for a "Student Initiated F11 Proposal."
  • Next, students must petition for Varience from an Acamdemic Regulation to allow for both receiving F11 and being paid for the employment off-campus.
  • Then, make an appointment with Erin Hillis for the final step in the  authorization process.
  • Students who have already completed the F11 requirement are ineligible for CPT authorization.

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is available for employment related to a student's major field of study, but not required by their academic program.

  • OPT is a benefit of F-1 status that permits up to 12 months of off-campus employment for the purpose of gaining practical experience in the student's chosen field. While the student may work for any employer in the U.S., the job duties must be directly related to the student’s major area of study and commensurate with the student’s educational level.
  • The student must have been lawfully enrolled as a full-time student for at least one full academic year and be in valid F-1 status at the time of application.
  • The student must be in good academic standing with Rhodes College. Students who are currently on a leave of absence or on suspension from their academic programs are not eligible for OPT.
  • STEM students may apply for a 24-month extension of their 12-month OPT.

Options after Post-Completion OPT

All students should take one of these options following the Post-Completion OPT:

  • Apply for a 24-Month STEM OPT Extension, available for certain STEM students
  • Transfer to another institution, such as a graduate program
  • Change visa status, such as changing from an F-1 visa to an H-1B visa
  • Depart the US