International Student Work Experience
Consider getting a job to understand your new environment

LBCC international students sitting next to each other laughing

Curricular Practical Training

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is an employment opportunity available to F1 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 F1 students without additional work visas. Students who enroll in the Work Experience class in their major field of study may work off-campus or 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?

The following guidelines must be met in order to apply for any kind of Curricular Practical Training benefit.

  1. You must have been an F1 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

You must 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 job duties. This letter must be written on company letterhead and be associated with a legitimate business, which can be verified through the Better Business Bureau.

To 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.

Number of Units Paid Work Hours Volunteer Hours
1-unit Work Experience Class 75 hours 60 hours
2-unit Work Experience Class 150 hours 120 hours
3-unit Work Experience Class 225 hours 180 hours

Once you schedule an appointment, please submit the following items to the International Student Counselor:

  • A letter of employment 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 written permission to work on your new I-20. You may only begin working after you have received this written permission to work.

Optional Practical Training

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is another type of Work experience opportunity for F1 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.

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. 

Who is Eligible?

The following guidelines must be met in order to apply for any kind of Optional Practical Training benefit.

  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 F1 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 International Student Counselor to schedule an appointment within 90 days of course completion date.