How to find F1 CPT Job in USA?

Published: 06/22/2022

It is hard for international students to find jobs in the US. They need to be extra cautious about their choices and need more support. The US allows international students to be employed during their course of study and after graduating. Still, there are few restrictions and need to fulfill some requirements for their employment. The best way to land a job is to contact the career services and DSO, Designated School Officer. If a student finds an opportunity, they should consult the international student services advisor to discuss about various work authorization eligibility. Student should look at set of restrictions and requirements for each job offer.
 
As an international student there are various employment options to work as an international student in USA
F1 CPT (Curricular Practical Training)
F1 OPT (Optional Practical Training)
F1 STEM OPT 
 
As an international student applying and finding full time jobs after graduation is the main goal. To find a full-time job, having F1 CPT internship or work experience prior to graduation is an added benefit and F1 CPT work authorization provides opportunity to gain work experience during studies.
 
Recent salary data from payscale.com shows early and mid-career pay for various Engineering and computer science fields. Having internship experience through F1 CPT job prior to graduating could provide great opportunity to achieve higher salary during full time job.  
 
Major Early career payMid career pay 
petroleum engineering $93,200 $187,300 
operations research and industrial engineering84,800$170,400 
electrical power engineering $108,500 $159,300 
systems engineering 77,700$139,200
chemical engineering $76,900$135,900
computer systems engineering $76,900 $133,200
electrical and computer engineering$78,100 $131,600
marine engineering $79,900 $131,300
Aeronautical engineering $74,700$131,100
computer engineering $79,000$131,000
nuclear engineering $76,400$129,400
welding engineering$81,000$126,600
instrumental and control engineering $73,100$126,400
electrical and electronics engineering $74,700$125,800
aerospace engineering $74,300$125,700
optical science and engineering $71,000$125,400
industrial and systems engineering $73,100$124,800
Biomedical engineering $71,300$123,600
electronics and communications engineering $67,400$122,900
Control engineering $69,700$122,800
Electrical engineering and computer science $108,500$159,300
Information and computer science $58,600$140,900
Computer systems engineering $79,000$133,200
Electrical and computer engineering. $78,100$131,600
Computer science and engineering $79,400$131,300
Computer engineering$79,000$131,000
Computer and information science $63,600$119,500
Accounting and computer systems $63,000$117,300
Computer management information systems $55,700$106,600
Business computer information systems $64,000$105,300
Computer information systems $59,400$103,500
Computer science and information technology $66,000$102,700
Computer Engineering technology $63,000$98,900
Computer Security $68,100$98,700
Computer science and business $81,100$94,600
Computer and network administration $56,800$91,900
Applied computer science $66,100$91,800
Computer graphics technology $49,000$89,200
Electronics and computer technology $55,600$86,000
Computer Art $40,400$82,900
Source: Payscale.com
 
Job Types for CPT student
 
As an F1 CPT student, you could be involved in 
Working off campus 
Internships (paid or unpaid)
Single-semester coops (Part time or full time)
Multi-semester coops (Part Time or Full Time). This employment could be paid or unpaid, and it could be done off-campus at a US employer's location or while working remotely for a US employer at another location.
 
An F1 student must meet the following requirements to participate in CPT:
  • You must be enrolled in an active F1 status for two full semesters. IN SOME EXCEPTIONS, an F1 student may participate in CPT before completing two full academic semesters. This is true for F1 students enrolled in a program of study that requires CPT participation during the first academic year.
  • You must have a job offer directly related to your academic program.
  • During the semester in which you participate in CPT, you must be able to earn course credit. However, depending on your university, there are some exceptions.
As an International student there are various employment options to work as an international student in USA
  • F1 CPT (Curricular Practical Training)
  • F1 OPT (Optional Practical Training)
  • F1 STEM OPT 
 
How to find hidden opportunities for F1 CPT and  F1 OPT Job seekers
 
Based on Job search experience shared at DesiOPT Facebook and Forum Community, these are the tips that you could find useful
 
Start Early (possibly from your home country) to find CPT companies
Start preparing early, start looking before your internship authorization starts. If you are looking to apply during the school year, it is best to apply at a minimum of 3 months before one plans to find a job. If you are majoring in STEM, then courses like basic programming will be useful in preparing you for internship applications. Get trained by taking online courses and writing certifications. Also to be aware, many other students will likely be taking the same courses as you so set yourself apart with side projects, capstone projects, hackathon, coding challenges and more.
 
Tech is large field with employers offering CPT Internships
Tech companies vary in size like small, middle and large organizations. Most of tech companies might be aware of work authorization for international F1 CPT and F1 OPT students. Hence it could be bit easier to apply for jobs in the field you are interested in. Subscribe to tech news, innovation, research and jobs in these companies. Big tech firms like Alphabet, Microsoft, Apple, Meta, Pintrest, Twitter, Amazon, Tesla and JpMorgan Chase, Goldman and many more have Internship recruiting cycle. 
Keep an eye on the dates and have a plan to apply. Build your portfolio with relevant projects, cover letter, questions that you can ask hiring manager/recruiter.
 
Attend Networking events
Networking is a great way to get a referral and it is a skill that needs constant practice. Try to build your network as soon as you enter US on an F1 Visa. While you network online, you should also spend time in networking offline. Networking could be at places like
 
  • Career events at school
  • Career events related to your field in your state
  • Large career events at a different state
  • Cricket, Tennis or other sport events
  • Fundraiser events, Food Banks and other non profit organizations
  • Family and Friends
  • Alumni from your school who work at the desired company you wish to apply
 
Start your job search process early on. Get familiar with Industry, job profiles, employer career pages and build your network.
 
Career Service center at School to advise on CPT Jobs, OPT Jobs
Most school you attend offers career services. They also mock job interviews, resume reviews and also programs that provides advise for choosing the right internship. School’s portal have companies listed that are willing to seek F1 CPT students and F1 OPT students with EAD work authorizations. 
 
Job board
Browse sites such as LinkedIn and Glassdoor, and other job boards like DesiOPT for finding visa sponsorship jobs.
 
Unpaid Opportunities for CPT jobs
Work experience while pursuing your degree is invaluable. Sometimes it takes time to find paid internship positions. But if you happen to get unpaid opportunity that is related to field of study, certainly give it a thought. The experience gained could help while applying full time positions during OPT. This will also help you to expand your professional network and eventually reaching out to more people. 
 
How to find job after CPT duration is completed?
To get a job after CPT authorization is completed or during OPT, an F1 student must meet a number of requirements if the student wishes to work during their OPT period. The job must be directly related to your major, and you must maintain your legal F-1 status. Before completing all work toward a degree, the student must apply for OPT. The student may work either before or after finishing their degree or both.
After completing the degree and course of study, the student may stay and work in the United States for up to 12 months.
If the student wishes to work before the end of their OPT, they must be enrolled full-time at a university or college. While school is in session, the student can only work 20 hours per week.
You can work full-time during breaks if the student intends to return to university. The student can work full-time after completing the required coursework if a thesis or dissertation is required.
Students who wish to pursue post-graduate studies must be enrolled full-time at a university or college. While school is in session, the student can only work 20 hours per week.
You can work full-time during breaks if the student intends to return to university. The student can work full-time after completing the required coursework if a thesis or dissertation is required.
 
 
Read more: Day1 CPT university

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