Optional Practical Training
Optional Practical Training (OPT) is defined as temporary employment in the chosen field of study for the purpose of gaining practical experience.
OPT employment is available to graduating F-1 students who have been lawfully enrolled full-time for a minimum of nine consecutive months. The student is eligible for a maximum of 12 months of practical training. Graduating students should apply three months prior to desired start of OPT to ensure timely processing of Employment Authorization Documents (EAD). The Berea College OPT fund, administered by the International Student and Scholar Advisor, covers the cost of application, photos and mailing. Please see the OPT checklist for procedures.
Please note: The OPT start date must occur within 60 days of graduation. Please see the International Student and Scholar Advisor for more details.
Students will need to complete Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, using Acrobat Reader and bring in the completed, printed form to the International Student and Scholar Advisor. Detailed instructions for completing Form I-765 are available from the Application for Employment Authorization page. For additional information, please see the International Student and Scholar Advisor.
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Graduates
The Department of Homeland Security has revised the regulations about Optional Practical Training to include a 17-month post-completion extension for certain graduates of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields:
- Actuarial Science (52.1304)
- Computer Science (11.xxxx, except 11.06xx)
- Engineering (14.xxxx)
- Engineering Technologies (15.xxxx)
- Biological and Medical Sciences (26.xxxx)
- Mathematics and Statistics (27.xxxx)
- Physical Sciences (40.xxxx)
- Science Technologies (41.xxxx)
- Health Professions and Related Clinical Sciences (51.1401)
To learn whether you qualify for this extension, as well how to apply, please visit OPT Extension for STEM Graduates.