Practical Training and Internship Opportunities

As an F-1 international student, you are prohibited from working off-campus without prior authorization. For eligible students, opportunities exist for on-the-job training both during and after your certificate program.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is an off-campus work authorization allowing an F-1 student to participate in an internship. The internship allows you to gain valuable work experience in your field of study while you earn academic credit and advance toward program completion.

Eligibility requirements:

  • UCLA Extension certificate students must have maintained lawful F-1 visa status for at least three academic quarters (9 months). This includes any time accrued in F-1 status at another institution with no break in status. As such, CPT approval and internship participation is allowed in the 4th quarter. 
  • The internship must be defined as an employment opportunity offered for UCLA Extension credit and approved by your academic department, the on-site supervisor of the internship, and the Associate Dean of Academic and Faculty Affairs.
  • Be enrolled in the appropriate internship, credit-bearing course upon internship and CPT approval.
Note: CPT authorization is separate from the internship and must be sought and approved prior to engaging in any employment. CPT is required for internship participation whether the internship is a paid or unpaid experience. Additionally, students cannot enroll in an internship course, either paid or unpaid, after all courses for the certificate program are completed. For programs shorter than 4 quarters in duration, CPT authorization for internship engagement is not possible. See OPT for post-completion employment opportunity options.

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Optional Practical Training (OPT) allows you to work in the United States and gain practical experience in an occupation directly related to your area of study for one year following the completion of your program.

If approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), you will receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD card). This enables you to work for up to one year in the U.S. in a job that is directly related to your field of study.

To be eligible to apply for OPT you need to:

  • Be in a final quarter of your UCLA Extension Certificate Program
  • Have been in valid F-1 status for an academic year (3 consecutive quarters) at the time of your program's completion 
  • Have been issued an OPT-endorsed Form I-20 from your ISS advisor prior to submitting your online application with USCIS. 

If you have already done one year of OPT after completing a certificate program or degree at another school or if you have been approved for 12 months of full-time CPT, you are not eligible to apply to OPT after completing your certificate program at UCLA Extension.

Your employment must be directly related to your studies. You are required to report to your ISS advisor as soon as you receive a job offer. You will need to report to ISS the name of your employer and a description of your job that describes how the job is related to your studies.

For more information on CPT or OPT eligibility or the application process, please contact your international student advisor at iss@uclaextension.edu, and watch your email for reminders on CPT and OPT information sessions hosted quarterly by the ISS team.

Learn more about our international programs.

 

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