Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a way to learn and then gain experience, as well as advance your career. At Computer Systems Institute (CSI), OPT programs are specifically designed for international students with F-1 visa status and offer practical training in your field of study.

Benefits of Optional Practical Training

OPT is extracurricular, real-world training and can be an excellent opportunity for international students to apply what they have learned at companies located in the US. Another great benefit of OPT is gaining valuable work experience with some of the most well-known companies in the world. This experience may help you stand out from the crowd when applying for your next job. Additional benefits of OPT:

  • Improve language skills
  • Network with employers
  • Connect with professionals in your field
  • Gain new skill sets
  • Explore new places

How to Meet Requirements for OPT

OPT is considered temporary work for international students with F-1 visa status who have graduated from an academic program in the US. In order to take advantage of OPT, you’ll need to meet all the eligibility requirements and complete the authorization process.

Eligibility Requirements for OPT

  • Must be enrolled for at least one year in a college or post-secondary education program
  • OPT is only within your major field of study.
  • Students can participate in up to 12 months of OPT per educational level (ex: up to 12 months of OPT at the Bachelor level, up to 12 months at the Master’s level etc).

If you need additional information about continuing your education in the US as an international student, click here. It’s important to note that OPT is different from Curricular Practical Training or CPT. For those students that are currently studying, the CPT guide will have more information.


International students on F-1 visas will need OPT authorization. To be authorized requires you, your Designated School Official (DSO), and the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to complete additional documents, including the I-20 and I-765 forms.

Filing fees will need to be submitted, and then finally, the USCIS will authorize you for OPT. You’ll then be issued an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), also known as a work permit.

One-Year Programs at CSI

At CSI, we make it easy for students to gain important and in-demand skills or further educational opportunities. Our one-year programs are designed to develop real-world skills that can help you stand out to employers in competitive job markets.  Students apply for OPT after graduation which gives students time to concentrate fully on their program of study. CSI has several one-year programs available in a variety of areas, including:

A few considerations to remember when enrolling in one-year programs at CSI:

  1. The one-year (12 months) program of OPT must be completed all at once and cannot be taken in segments.
  2. Applying for OPT requires students to maintain their F-1 status.
  3. You do not need to be currently employed in order to apply for OPT.

The time to invest in yourself is now. CSI can help you navigate through the application process and help find an educational program that’s perfect for you and your goals.

What Sets CSI Apart

At CSI, we are dedicated to helping international students gain valuable skills to reach their educational and professional goals. We stand apart from others by offering affordability, experience, and flexible scheduling.

Affordable Programs

As the affordable option, CSI has lower prices per hour than our competitors. We also offer free 15-minute legal sessions for CSI students with Gardini Law Partnership and additional benefits, including:

  • No-cost tutoring
  • Admission process guidance
  • Credit transfer
  • Low-cost tuition
  • Affordable certificate programs

Flexible Schedule

Study time and work don’t always have a convenient schedule. At CSI, we make it easy for international students to find the education they need with flexible schedules. CSI students can also transfer to different universities and take advantage of other OTP programs. Our flexible schedule benefits include the following:

  • Study while you gain experience options
  • Day, evening and weekend classes
  • 2 or 3-day class schedules
  • Flexible skill-building classes

At CSI, we’re committed to students’ success and believe having flexible options supports that.

Explore CSI’s OPT Program Today 

At CSI, our international admissions staff is highly knowledgeable in every area of international applications, including transferring to different institutions, reinstatements, and more. You can read more about our incredible team here. If you are an F-1 student at CSI and want to discuss more OPT, contact CSI online or call 847-967-5030.