Optional Practical Training (OPT) | Current International Students

Standard OPT

Optional Practical Training, or OPT, is a 12 month temporary employment authorization that provides an opportunity for F-1 students to apply knowledge acquired from their academic program to a work experience in their major field of study. It is a benefit of maintaining status that is available during an F-1 student's course of study (pre-completion), after each degree level completed (post-completion), or may be used as a combination of both pre- and post-completion as long as one does not exceed the equivalent of 12 months of OPT authorization. Students in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields may qualify to apply for an additional 24 months of work authorization beyond their initial 12 months of OPT.

Learn more about STEM Optional Practical Training.

OPT Application

The Carroll University Optional Practical Training (OPT) Application can be found through the International Student Support Canvas Course.

Please contact your international student advisor for additional information regarding this application form.

Standard OPT Eligibility

To be eligible for OPT you must:


Pre-Completion OPT may be part-time (20 hours per week or less) or full-time (more than 20 hours per week). Post-Completion OPT must be full-time (more than 20 hours per week). Students may have multiple employers to meet the full-time requirement (example: two jobs each with 10 hours/week).

Course Registration

OPT is not tied to course registration.

Paid vs. Unpaid

UUnpaid volunteer and internship positions are permitted on OPT as long as federal labor laws are not violated. This is especially important in the private, for-private sector. To meet the Department of Labor's standards of volunteering at a for-profit company, you must meet all their six criteria on Fact Sheet #71: Internship Programs.

Social Security Number

All students participating in paid OPT will be required to obtain a Social Security number. Please review our Social Security Numbers page for more information.

Reporting Requirements While on OPT

According to Federal Regulations, students with authorized post-completion Optional Practical Training are required to report accurate information to the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).

Throughout your period of post-completion optional practical training, you must inform the Designated School Official at Carroll University about any changes to the following information within 10 days of the change:

To report any changes in this information to OGE while on OPT, complete and submit the CU. CU Practical Training (OPT) Verification Form which can be requested from your international student advisor.

More Information

For more information about OPT, please email your international student advisor to schedule an appointment.

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