Optional Practical Training


A student may be employed up to 12 months of off-campus employment if the purpose is to obtain additional training and experience directly related to a student’s major.

Additional information: International students must maintain full-time status for at least one academic year in order to be eligible for the training. Below are the two types of optional practical training:

  • Pre-completion optional practical training: Part-time off-campus employment that is limited to 20 hours per week during normal academic semester while the student maintains a full-time course load or full or part-time employment during the summer term.  Please note: any authorization allowed during pre-completion will be deducted from the total 12 months of eligibility.
  • Post-completion optional practical training: Work authorization that is granted after the completion of all course studies for full-time employment. Post-completion practical training is granted for a period of up to 12 months minus any period of time authorized during pre-completion practical training.
  • For more information about how to obtain authorization for optional practical training click here

Social Security

After receiving your employment authorization, you must update your records with the Social Security Administration. To do so, take your Employment Authorization Document (EAD), Social Security card, I-20, and passport to the local Social Security Administration office. That is where to apply for a Social Security card. The application form is available through this link: http://ssa.gov/online/ss-5.pdf. Complete the application before going to the SSA.

SSA in Xenia:

469 Dayton Ave
Xenia, OH 45385
937-372-9813

Hours: 9:00 AM to 3:30 PM

If possible, do this before leaving town, for it may be more difficult to update your information in another city. Social Security Tax (FICA) should not be withheld from your wages while you are on practical training. However, your earnings are subject to federal, state, and local income taxes.