Jason Lopez '17

Major: Music Education
Hometown:Paterson, NJ

I want to be a high school band director and music teacher because I love kids, and I want to strive for excellence in music with both myself and my future students.  

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Overview

Optional Practical Training (OPT) allows F-1 students to gain work experience related to their field of study. In order to apply to OPT, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Maintain valid F-1 status
  • Be enrolled in a full course of study for a minimum of one academic year (or will complete one academic year by the start date of your OPT)
  • Do not exceed 12 months of full-time Curricular Practical Training (CPT). Part0time CPT does not affect OPT eligibility. 

F-1 students are eligible for 12 monthsof full-time OPT per academic level. This means you may apply for 12 months of OPT at the bachelor's degree level and another 12 months of OPT at the master's degree level.

You may apply for Pre-Completion OPT (part-time while school is in session and up to full-time during school breaks) or Post-Completion OPT (full-time after completion of your course of study).

Part-time OPT (20 hours or less per week) will be deducted from the 12-month total at one-half of the full-time rate. OPT authorization is terminated when a student transfers to another school or begins a new academic program. 

Students who complete a degree program in certain STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) fields may be eligible for an OPT extension. The application for an OPT STEM Extension can be filed up to 90 days prior to the completion of the initial 12-month period of OPT. Click here for a list of qualifying majors. 

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