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Work Experience
International Student Program

What is Curricular Practical Training? 

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is an employment opportunity available to F-1 students where the practical training employment is considered to be an integral part of the academic program.  (Not all majors require work-experience as part of the academic program.)

This off-campus work opportunity is available to F-1 students without additional work visas. Students who enroll in the "Work Experience" class in their major field of study may work off-campus, in paid or unpaid internships, for the duration of the semester. Students may earn up to three units of work experience credit per semester, not to exceed 16 units at Long Beach City College.

Who is Eligible?

In order to apply for any kind of Practical Training benefit:

  1. You must have been an F-1 student in the college program and in good standing for at least nine consecutive months.
  2. Your major field of study must offer a Work-Experience class.
  3. Your job must be in your major field of study.

Application and Authorization Procedures

1. Obtain an offer letter from your future employer indicating the job title, dates of employment, number of hours of work per week, place of employment, and a brief description of the work. This letter must be written on letter-head. Your job must be with a bona-fide business, which can be verified through the Better Business Bureau.

2. Enroll in the work-study class: You must choose the employment class that will allow you to work the number of hours for which you are being hired. Most students must enroll in the 1-3 unit work-study class in order to work up to 20 hours per week.

Work hours required for the following amount of units
Paid Employment
1 units Work Experience Class
75 hours
60 hours
2 units Work Experience Class
150 hours
120 hours
3 units Work Experience Class
225 hours
180 hours

3. Submit the following items to the International Student Counselor (Schedule an appointment with Judy Oh in the Counseling Department.  Please call 562-938-4745 to schedule an appointment):

  • Letter from your employer
  • Proof of enrollment in work-study courses

Once you have submitted all of your documents and the International Student Counselor has determined that you are eligible for CPT, you will receive the written permission to work on your new I-20. You may only begin working AFTER you have received this written permission to work.

What is Optional Practical Training?

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is another type of Work experience opportunity for F-1 students to apply their knowledge in the classroom to a practical work experience off campus. It is available to students, based on their major, at the end of the program. Students who successfully complete their program of study may be eligible to engage in full-time work in a paid, off-campus position for up to one year. Students may then transfer to another college program, or return home. More information about this program is available at the International Student Office to enrolled students.

(The United States Code of Federal Regulations defines it as "temporary employment for practical training directly related to the student's major area of study" (8 C.F.R.ยง 214.2(f)(10)(ii)).

OPT authorization is granted by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) and can take up to 120 days to obtain. It is important for you to apply for OPT at the earliest possible date (Once OPT has been requested by a DSO, you must submit your application within 30 days. Failure to submit the application packet will be denied.)

Who is Eligible?

To be eligible to apply for optional practical training:

  1. You must have been in full time student status for at least one full academic year preceding the submission of your OPT application.
  2. You have maintained valid F-1 status at the time of the application
  3. Work in a position directly related to your major field of study

Application and Authorization Procedures

  • Since documents are processed in USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) Service Centers and not at the college, the average time it takes is 60-90 days (2-3 months) from submission of documents to receipt of documents. For this reason, we say to apply 90 days prior to the end date on the form I-20. 

    In order to apply for OPT, you must meet with Judy Oh in the Counseling Office. Please call 562-938-4745 to schedule an appointment to see Judy within 90 days of course completion date.