Are you seeking education outside of the classroom? Perhaps you need an internship in order to graduate, or maybe you are graduating and want to seek practical work experience in the U.S. Whatever type of employment you seek, the Office of International Programs will help you determine your eligibility and apply for any applicable off-campus job positions. 

Types of Off-Campus Employment Authorizations

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Curriculum Practical Training (CPT) is an employment option available to F-1 students enrolled in a degree program. Employment must be directly related to the major area of study and students must receive academic credit for the work experience. Credit for CPT may be gained through internship, independent study, or practicum courses. Academic departments are responsible for determining the appropriate means of earning credit for proposed CPT employment.

Economic Hardship Employment Authorization

Economic Hardship Work Authorization permits off-campus employment that is necessary due to severe economic hardship caused by circumstances beyond the student’s control that arose after obtaining F-1 status.

Students who meet the following requirements may be eligible for Economic Hardship Work Authorization:

  • Student must have been in good standing as an F-1 student for at least one full academic year (two semesters) and is carrying a full course of study at the time of filing the application.
  • Student must prove the off-campus employment is necessary to avoid severe economic hardship caused by circumstances beyond his/her control that arose after obtaining F-1 status.

To apply for Economic Hardship Work Authorization, please make an appointment to meet with the Director of the OIP Office, Liz Dille

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Optional Practical Training is an employment benefit available to students in F-1 status so that they can gain practical experience in their major field of study. Depending on the student’s qualifications, there are several types of OPT available. 

F-1 students on approved OPT are required to report changes to personal and employer information to the Office of International Programs within 10 days of any change. It is the student's responsibility to provide the OIP with the required information, so we can update SEVIS. To report OPT updates, please e-mail our office at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To be eligible for any type of OPT, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You have valid F-1 nonimmigrant status, maintaining status and are in good academic standing.
  • You have been enrolled as a full-time student at USCA for at least one full academic year (2 semesters).
  • You have been authorized for Curricular Practical Training (CPT), your total full-time CPT authorization does not equal or exceed one year for your current degree level.

Types of OPT:

  • Pre-Completion: To be used prior to the completion of your academic program.
  • Post-Completion: To be used after the completion of your academic program.
  • 17-Month STEM Extension: For qualifying students currently using Post-Completion OPT.
  • Cap-Gap Extension: An automatic extension of Post-Completion OPT for students with pending or approved H-1B petitions.