In 2009 there were 671,616 students enrolled in US universities/colleges, and is growing at a faster pace than in each of the previous 28 years. This means that there is a large diverse clientele that we, Career Counselors, need to serve as part of the student body.
International students can be the most difficult population we work with on campus because of all the regulations on where they can work, visa status, and convincing employers to sponsor the student as a full-time employee upon graduation. Working on campus is a great way to earn some extra cash and it doesn’t impact their CPT (Curricular Practical Training) status. But, if the student is interested in working in the US post graduation, then he/she is highly recommended to obtain in internship, which qualifies as CPT.
CPT is an employment option available to F-1 visa students in which the student can work off campus and is an integral part of a student’s academic experience, much like an internship. Employment for 20 hours or less per week while you are enrolled in classes is considered part-time CPT. There is no limit as to how long you can work as part-time CPT status. Employment for more than 20 hours per week is considered full-time CPT. There is no limit to how long you can work as full-time CPT status. However, if you accrue 12 months or more of full time CPT before graduating, you could lose your eligibility for applying for OPT (Optional Practical Training).
OPT is up to 12 months of work in the United States in a job that is related to a student’s major. A student may choose to take advantage of this benefit before or after graduation. OPT is commonly used by international students after graduation, and can either be called an internship, full/part-time employment, or volunteer experience.
Needless to say International Students have a lot to be concerned about and many guidelines to know and follow. So, here are some additional resources for International Students who want to work in the US:
International Student.com A ‘one stop shop’ guide with information on study abroad, services, and resources for international students.
H1Base Provides information about all visa options, green cards & sponsorships, and even a section to search for jobs.
Scholarship for USA Mainly provides information on scholarships but also has a nice article on “Companies that Hire International Students & Sponsor H1B.”
H1VisaJobs.com Contains thousands of American firms, all over the US, in all disciplines, known open, willing, needed to, and actually offered H-1B jobs to international professionals. Start your job search with focus today.
University Career Services & International Student Services Offices Don’t forget to utilize the current resources on your campus, especially if you want to stay in the same geographical area.
Karen is a Career Counselor and Internship Coordinator at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW). At IPFW she assists students in finding internships, coordinates and assists with campus-wide events, teaches a Career Planning course, and meets with students to assist them with all aspects of career development. Connect with Karen via LinkedIn or Twitter.