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Types of Employment

The UNC International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) website provides detailed information about different types of employment available for international students with F-1 or J-1 status. Options include on-campus employment, Curricular Practical Training (CPT; F-1 students), Optional Practical Training (OPT; F-1 students), Academic Training (AT; J-1 students), and additional off-campus employment opportunities.



Students in F-1 or J-1 status are permitted to work on-campus at UNC-Chapel Hill up to 20 hours per week during the academic year (while classes are in session). Students may work full-time (21 hours or more per week) during official University breaks or during the summer if they intend to enroll for the subsequent semester.

On-campus jobs include most positions in which students receive a UNC-CH paycheck. These exclude positions at UNC Hospitals, the Carolina Inn, and most businesses located on Franklin Street, which are considered “off-campus employment” and require off-campus work authorization. See this page for more information regarding on-campus employment.


Curricular Practical Training (F-1 Students)

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a benefit of F-1 immigration status that permits off-campus employment which is an integral part of an established curriculum or which is required for graduation for all students in a particular educational program. CPT is typically authorized to allow a student to complete an internship, practicum, or field experience that is necessary for degree completion or that will help the student satisfy the academic objectives of the program. See this page for eligibility requirements and information about the application process.


Optional Practical Training (F-1 Students)

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a benefit of F-1 status that permits off-campus employment for the purpose of gaining practical experience in the student’s major field of study. There are two types of OPT–Pre-Completion OPT and Post-Completion OPT.


Academic Training (J-1 Students)

Academic Training (AT) for J-1 students is intended to provide practical work experience that complements the academic program. The training must be an integral part of the student’s academic goals and may be undertaken before or after completion of studies. For information on eligibility, the application process, and the requirements, see this page.


Additional Off-Campus Employment Opportunities

F-1 or J-1 students who are experiencing economic hardship caused by unforeseen circumstances beyond their control may be eligible for off-campus work authorization. ISSS provides more information on eligibility and the application.


International-Friendly Employers

This spreadsheet provides a list of some employers who sponsor international employees.

H-1B Employer Data Hub from USCIS shows information on employers that have petitioned for H-1Bs in the past, as well as employers who have sponsored permanent residency (Green Cards).