Exploring OPT Jobs in USA: Opportunities, Requirements, and Success Tips

Exploring OPT Jobs in USA


OPT (Optional Practical Training) jobs provide an opportunity for international students studying in the United States to gain practical work experience in their field of study. OPT is granted by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and allows students to work for up to 12 months after completing their degree. In certain STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields, students may be eligible for a 24-month extension. OPT jobs in usa not only allow students to enhance their skills but also provide a chance to explore career prospects in the United States.

What are OPT jobs?

OPT jobs are employment opportunities available to international students who hold an F-1 visa and have completed at least one academic year of full-time study in the United States. These jobs allow students to work and gain practical experience related to their field of study, enhancing their knowledge and skills. OPT is an excellent way for students to apply the concepts they have learned in the classroom to real-world scenarios, preparing them for their future careers.

Eligibility for OPT jobs:

To be eligible for OPT jobs, students must meet certain criteria set by the USCIS. Here are the key requirements:

  1. F-1 visa status: Students must have an active F-1 visa and be in good academic standing.
  2. Full-time study: Students must have completed at least one academic year of full-time study in the United States.
  3. Pre-completion or post-completion OPT: Students can apply for pre-completion OPT (before completing their degree) or post-completion OPT (after completing their degree).
  4. Employment authorization document (EAD): Students must apply for and receive an EAD from USCIS before starting their OPT job.

Types of OPT jobs:

There are two main types of OPT jobs:

There are two main types of OPT jobs that international students can pursue in the United States: pre-completion OPT and post-completion OPT. Each type has its own characteristics and requirements.

1- Pre-completion OPT:

Pre-completion OPT allows students to work part-time or full-time while they are still pursuing their degree. This type of OPT is typically limited to 20 hours per week during the academic year but can be full-time during vacation periods. Here are some key aspects of pre-completion OPT:

  • Part-time or full-time: Students have the flexibility to choose whether they want to work part-time or full-time while continuing their studies.
  • Limited hours during the academic year: To ensure that students focus on their academic commitments, pre-completion OPT is generally limited to 20 hours per week during the academic year.
  • Full-time during vacation periods: During official university breaks, such as summer or winter vacation, students can work full-time without any hourly restrictions.
  • Prior authorization required: Before starting pre-completion OPT, students must obtain employment authorization by applying for and receiving an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from the USCIS.

2- Post-completion OPT:

Post-completion OPT allows students to work full-time after completing their degree. This type of OPT is usually limited to a maximum of 12 months, but students in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields may be eligible for a 24-month extension. Here are some key aspects of post-completion OPT:

  1. Full-time employment: Students can engage in full-time employment in a position related to their field of study after completing their degree requirements.
  2. Limited duration: Initially, post-completion OPT is granted for a maximum of 12 months. However, students in eligible STEM fields may apply for a 24-month extension, allowing them to work for a total of 36 months.
  3. Application process: Students must apply for post-completion OPT and receive an EAD before they can begin working. It is important to apply within the specified timeframe to avoid any gaps in employment authorization.
  4. Employment reporting: Students on post-completion OPT are required to report any changes in employment or address within specific timeframes to maintain their legal status.

It is essential for international students to carefully consider their options and choose the type of OPT that aligns with their goals and circumstances. Pre-completion OPT can provide valuable work experience while still studying, while post-completion OPT offers an opportunity to focus on full-time employment after completing the degree. Both types of OPT jobs allow students to gain practical experience, enhance their skills and explore potential career paths in the United States.

Tips for success in OPT jobs:

  1. Start early: Begin exploring OPT job opportunities and preparing your application well in advance to maximize your chances of securing a desirable position.
  2. Networking: Build a professional network by attending career fairs, industry events, and connecting with professionals in your field. Networking can lead to job opportunities and valuable connections.
  3. Polish your resume and cover letter: Tailor your resume and cover letter to showcase relevant skills, experiences, and accomplishments. Highlight any internships, research projects, or coursework related to your desired field.
  4. Gain relevant experience: Seek out internships, volunteer work, or part-time jobs related to your field of study. This will demonstrate your commitment and enhance your chances of securing an OPT job.
  5. Stay informed about immigration regulations: Stay updated on the latest immigration regulations and guidelines related to OPT. Compliance is crucial to maintain your legal status in the United States.


OPT jobs provide international students in the United States with valuable opportunities to gain practical work experience and explore career prospects. By meeting the eligibility requirements, international students can engage in pre- or post-completion OPT, depending on their academic progress. Following success tips such as starting early, networking, and gaining relevant experience will enhance the chances of securing a rewarding OPT job. It is important to stay informed about immigration regulations and maintain legal status throughout the OPT period. OPT serves as a stepping stone towards a successful career in the United States.


1- Is it easy to get a job in the US after graduation?

Finding a job in the US after graduation can vary depending on factors such as your field of study, skills, networking, and the job market. It may require effort and persistence, but with the right approach, it is possible to secure employment.

2- What are the easiest part-time jobs for international students?

The easiest part-time jobs for international students can vary based on their skills, location, and available opportunities. Common options include working on-campus, tutoring, freelancing, or assisting with research projects within their university.

3- What sort of job opportunities are open to international students?

International students can explore various job opportunities in the US, ranging from internships. And entry-level positions to specialized roles in their field of study. The availability of opportunities depends on the industry, demand, and the student’s qualifications.

4- How can I improve my chances of getting a job?

To enhance job prospects, international students can network. Gain relevant experience through internships or volunteering, tailor their resume, and cover letter to highlight skills, utilize career services, and attend job fairs. And stay updated with industry trends and job market requirements.

5- When should I start my OPT job search?

It is advisable to start the OPT job search well in advance, preferably a few months before completing your degree. This allows time for researching opportunities, networking, preparing application materials, and attending interviews.

6- What kind of hours and pay can international students expect?

The hours and pay for international students in OPT jobs can vary depending on factors such as the job type, industry, location, and employer policies. Students are subject to the same employment laws as US citizens. And must be paid at least the prevailing wage for their role.