Employment Options

Employment Options

F-1 students may not work off-campus during the first academic year.  You may accept on-campus employment subject to certain conditions and restrictions set by the school. If you are a new student, you may not have a job during your first semester so that you may focus on your studies and get accustomed to the American educational system and culture. Please note that there are limited jobs available on campus.  Check with Career Services  for availability. After the first academic year, F-1 students may engage in three types of off-campus employment:

On Campus Employment

After your first semester if you are an F-1 student, you are eligible to work part-time (20 hours or less per week), on-campus as long as you meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • You must be a full-time student (enrolled in 12 or more credit hours).
  • You must have a valid, activated SEVIS Form I-20 from Phoenix College.
  • You must have a valid, unexpired passport.
  • You must have an I-94 card that is marked "F-1 D/S."

You may NOT engage in on-campus employment if you are not registered, and maintain  your student status.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) (Internship)

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) allows you to accept paid, off-campus employment for an internship if that internship is a required course for your degree program. The internship course must be an integral part of the curriculum of your degree program.

  • Internship: the employment is a mandatory part of a course that you are taking for degree credit. The course may be an elective, and the credit must count toward your degree.
  • Practicum: this is a non-credit employment or fieldwork experience that your department requires of all degree candidates in your program.

CPT is available only if one of these categories is included in the curriculum of your degree program. As every program has different academic requirements, not every student at PC will be eligible for CPT.

In order to qualify for Curricular Practical Training, you must meet the following criteria:

  • You must have been a full-time student at PC for at least one full academic year and be in lawful F-1 status.
  • You must be making normal progress toward degree completion, be in good academic standing, and otherwise maintaining F-1 status while engaged in CPT.

Please make an appointment to see your International Student Advisor if you think you may be eligible to apply for this type of employment authorization.

Optional Practical Training (OPT) (pre-completion or post-completion)

Optional Practical Training allows F-1 students to accept paid, professional-level employment that is directly related to their field of study. You must receive authorization from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS ) before you can work!

Please set up an appointment with your International Student Advisor for more information and to determine if you are eligible for Pre or Post Completion OPT.

Eligibility Criteria for Post-Completion OPT

  • You must have been a full-time student at PC for at least one academic year before you can apply for OPT.
  • You must have graduated with your Associate‚Äôs Degree.
  • You must currently be in lawful F-1 status.
  • You must not have used more than 12 months of pre-completion OPT.
  • You must not have been engaged for more than 12 months of full-time Curricular Practical Training.
  • You do NOT need to have a job offer in order to apply for OPT although, once you are approved for OPT, you only have 90 days for find a job.
  • Your OPT job must be in your field of study as indicated on your SEVIS I-20.
  • You must register through the USCIS OPT portal

When to Apply

You may apply for post-completion OPT up to 90 days before the date that you will have completed one academic year. However, your application cannot be submitted any earlier than 120 days before your desired OPT beginning date. You must also apply for post-completion OPT before you complete your degree requirements, and you cannot begin your OPT period until you have completed one full academic year of study.

OPT requires an application to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The USCIS may take several months to process an application for OPT. Please plan accordingly - we recommend that you apply as early as possible.

Reminder: Do NOT accept any type of employment until you have been approved by USCIS and have received your Employment Authorization Card. Working illegally and without authorization is grounds for deportation!