Working in the U.S.

On-Campus Employment 

Students attending Carnegie Mellon on a F-1 or J-1 visa have ample opportunities to work on campus as Teaching Assistants (TA) and in other capacities, though Research Assistant positions are not as abundant. These positions, which constitute on-campus work, generally do not require any authorizations.

Off-Campus Employment 

In order for F-1 students to work off-campus, they must obtain work authorization under Optional Practical Training (OPT) or Curricular Practical Training (CPT). J-1 students must obtain Academic Training (AT) authorization.

Refer to the OIE website for more detailed information and forms regarding OPT and CPT. Note that INI policies and curricular restrictions may override those stated by OIE. Students are subject to department as well as government policies. 

International students must complete a full academic year (fall/spring) to be eligible for work authorization under CPT or OPT. Additional information about processing CPT and OPT will be provided in the spring semester. Students may only work during the second fall/spring under pre-completion OPT, without exception.

  • All questions regarding obtaining department approval for work authorization should be addressed to the INI Foreign Student Coordinator.
  • If you think you will want to work in the second fall or spring, start planning early. It takes 60-90 days to process OPT and you should begin the process at least 90 days in advance of your anticipated start date.

Contact the Foreign Student Coordinator

Lisa Currin, Associate Director of Admissions and Enrollment