How To Get a Job on OPT – Target the Right Employers!

opt job hunting help

For many international students in the United States, the capstone to their US education comes after graduation when they are allowed to work legally in the US for up to a year on the optional practical training program, or OPT.  For those lucky students in a STEM field – science, technology, engineering or mathematics – the period can be extended to up to 29 months. However, the right to work on OPT is subject to many rules and limitations, but it is still one of the best parts of an F1 student visa!

Learn more about what is OPT here.

So how does an international student go about getting a job? In addition to normal difficulties that anyone has when finding a job, international students have other struggles. Many employers do not regularly hire non-US citizens and they may not know what is involved. For example, some insurance plans will not let OPT students on their policy so students will need to purchase OPT insurance coverage.

Alternatively, some employers simply cannot afford the additional expense of hiring a student on OPT or sponsoring a worker on an H1B visa. So, a critical part of any OPT job search is targeting employers who have the will and the resources to hire OPT and H1B employees.

There are online resources that can help you identify companies that regularly hire employees on OPT and H1B. Particularly if your goal is to be sponsored for an H1B visa after you are done with OPT, it is important to find a company that regularly sponsors H1B employees.

The foreign labor certification website published by the Department of Labor has great data available to anyone interested in H1B and other employment programs for non-US citizens. Of particular interest to job hunters is the comprehensive data by quarter on LCA filings – these are the filings that an H1B employer needs to make. You can download the latest spreadsheet directly from this page, sort by employer, and you’ve got your list of active H1B employers.


If you have not chosen an employer yet and you are no longer part of your school’s insurance plan, you can get a health insurance quote and apply online on your own for one of our options here. You may also contact us directly for assistance in finding the right OPT insurance for you!

Good luck with the job hunt!


Posted by Keith Clausen

Keith Clausen is the President of Envisage International Corporation and directs the overall strategy and operation of the company. Prior to joining EIC, Keith practiced as a corporate attorney for 10 years, first with Holland & Knight LLP in Washington, DC, and then with the PGA TOUR in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and the University of Florida College of Law.

18 thoughts on “How To Get a Job on OPT – Target the Right Employers!”

Macnos says:

Thank you for this important information. My OPT has just started but i already started my job hunt 2 months ago. It really is difficult to find a job but now i’m aiming for employers willing to sponsor me for an H1B visa and this article helped.

Thanks for the response – we glad it helped and good luck!

Reji says:

Hi.
I’m Reji and I’m on H4 Visa. I need suggestions about studying in H4 or changing my Visa to F1. I have my bachelors in physics (3 years). I wish to do Masters here (with a bridge course).
I’m scared of the risks involving F1 Visa. I cannot go back to India leaving my 18 months old kid and husband here. I have no solid support in India (my parents are no more). And also I may not work while studying because of the baby (TA/RA ruled out).
My worry is the 12 (+17) months OPT and the possibility of getting a job in H4 visa and being sponsored for H1B . Please advise me.

Reji says:

Please suggest me if it would be better to study in H4 as the fees will be less for in-state students.

Bryanna Davis says:

Hi Reji,

Thanks for visiting! The answer is going to depend on your school. You will want to first choose a school if you haven’t already- then contact them regarding further advice on what the best path for you would be. They will also be able to give you pricing information. Good luck!

yessika says:

I’m currently looking for an opt job teaching languages but I don’t know where to start as many schools or institutions don’t want to hire opt students 🙁

prasad says:

my son studying ms industrial engg in texas university usa he is going to complete his course in the month of dec 2015 pl kindly help to get full time job kindly sugguest us

Shiva Sadeghi Naeini says:

I got an offer to work in a company where I am doing my school internship in. They do not understand how they can hire me as someone with OPT. They stated that they want to have me as an employee in their company but they do not know how they can hire me when they have just two options: employee (hired) and intern which is what I am while I am studying. Please let me know how can I explain it to them.

Hi Shiva,

Thanks for your email. For specific questions like this it may be best to contact the international counselor from the college or university that you attended. They should be able to explain that process to you and even help explain the process to your employer. We wish you the best of luck with your future employment!

Crystal Kelly says:

Where are some of the best locations to apply for jobs in the field of biology or psychology? And can you explain what it would take to get an extended OPT?

Bryanna Davis says:

Hi Crystal,

Thanks for visiting. Unfortunately we’re only able to assist you with finding a health insurance plan while on OPT. However, your international student office should be able to provide you with further information on this.

kris says:

hi
i am krishna . I got offer as a support engineer expertise in SAP. actually i am on my OPT status and i have a master of science degree. will there be a problem for my H1B If i do this job. very confused whether to do this job or not. Can anyone help me in that

RANJEET SINGH says:

Can somebody help me how I get the job on OPT status.Is there any list of companies in California state. what is essential for me as stay in USA during the OPT period.

Hi Ranjeet,

Thanks for visiting. Unfortunately we’re only able to assist you with finding a health insurance plan while on OPT. I would recommend talking to your international student advisor or the career services office at your school. You may also find InternationalStudent.com useful as it offers an array of resources for international students including the following:
* School Search Tool
* Scholarships
* Student Loans
* Visa Information
* Test Preparation
* Essay Writing Help

We hope this helps and have a great day!

robert says:

I am currently an international student studying engineering in the U.S. and applying for internship in the U.S. In many of the internship application forms it stated two questions:

1.) If offered employment by _the company_, would you be legally eligible to begin employment immediately? [Yes or No]
2.) Do you need, or will you need in the future, any immigration-related support or sponsorship from _the company_ in order to begin or continue employment with _the company_? [yes or No]

*With an F1 student visa , technically as a STEM major I have a total of 3 years of OPT that does not require any sponsorship. So I was just wondering how to answer these types of questions. Therfore can I just answer question (1) yes and question (2)No. ???

thanks

Hi Robert,

Thanks for visiting. Unfortunately we’re only able to assist you with finding a health insurance plan. I would recommend talking to your international student advisor or the career services office at your school. You may also find InternationalStudent.com useful as it offers an array of resources for international students including the following:
* School Search Tool
* Scholarships
* Student Loans
* Visa Information
* Test Preparation
* Essay Writing Help

We hope this helps and have a great day.

Lucas Mendes says:

Hi, I’m a Canadian student and I have an option to do my Master’s of Science in my University that has campuses in the States and Europe. If I come to the States I would be eligible for the OPT certificate after my studies. I am in the field of Finance. I was wondering if a lot of financial firms in NYC, Chicago, or wherever it may be, would be hesitant to hire me as a Full-timer after my studies with the OPT? Would I be at a disadvantage applying for competitive roles? If so I would consider the EU campus and not worry about this as I have citizenship there too. Kindly let me know 🙂

Hi Lucas,

Thanks for contacting us. Unfortunately, we are only able to help you with your health insurance needs. I would recommend contacting your university’s career services and seeing if they can give you recommendations as to where in the US you could go. New York City and Chicago are some of the biggest cities in the US and have a lot of potential employers.

Best of luck!


Leave a Reply

Compare plans fitting your coverage needs

Get updates via email:

Archives