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There are strict F-1 regulations pertaining to all types of employment including on and off campus jobs, paid and unpaid internships. International students must always receive permission from the Designated School Official (DSO) at the Office of International Student Services before starting any employment or internships. 

On-Campus Employment

International students are eligible to apply for on-campus jobs after successful completion of one academic semester and must receive permission from the Designated School Official (DSO) at the Office of International Student Services. After receiving permission, students will be eligible to work 20 hours a week as long as they are enrolled full-time (12 units).

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

CPT allows F-1 student to gain practical work experience in a related field of study prior to completion of a degree program. If students are authorized for CPT, they will be eligible to work in a specific internship or job for a specific period of time. The internship or job has to be an integral part of the program curriculum and available to all qualifying students in the field of study (for example, internships or cooperative education programs). The Office of International Student Services authorizes CPT. There is no need to apply through the USCIS.

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is an employment benefit available to F-1 students who complete an associate degree at Cerritos College. The employment must be related to the student's field of study. OPT is a work permit valid for up to one year and can be used anywhere in the United States. Students should apply for OPT during their last semester. The Designated School Official will recommend and if granted by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the authorization for 12 months and 40 hours per week (full-time). In addition, regulations now limit the time of unemployment a student can accrue during OPT to a maximum of 90 days. If a student is not employed 90 days after the start date of the EAD card, the student is considered out of status. The limit is 90 days for students on post-completion OPT.


For more information, please stop by the Office of International Student Services. 

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Last Update: 7/15/2019