Information for International Students about Co-op and Full time Employment

Important for you to Know:

To work at a co-op or full time job in the United States you must first have a work authorization. When you have a job offer and when you have registered for coop you should visit the RIT International Student Services Office on the mezzanine level of the Student Alumni Union. They will issue you a new I-20 to enable you to work. Every time you change jobs you will need a new I-20. In addition, for any employment in the U.S. you will need to apply for a Social Security number.


  1. What do I need to know about doing a co-op in the U.S.?

    Before you can apply for an off-campus co-op (called Curricular Practical Training – CPT by the U.S. Citizenship and immigration Services) you must be a student here for at least 9 months and the co-op must be in your field of study. CPT can be on campus. For more information:
  2. What if I want a co-op job on-campus?

    International students can work a co-op on campus if they find an opportunity that matches their major.
  3. What do I need to do to apply for a job in the U.S. after graduation?

    You may be eligible to be employed in jobs which are directly related to your major field of study for up to one year. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service calls this type of employment Optional Practical Training (OPT). For more information:
  4. What if I want to stay in the U.S. for more than one year?

    If you want to stay in the U.S. for more than a year, you would need to obtain a temporary work permit, called an H1B. In order to obtain that permit, you must first have an offer of employment. Then there are specific steps your employer must take. You may be in H1B status (have a temporary work permit) for up to 6 years.
  5. What if I want to work in my home country for co-op or full-time employment?

    To enhance your chances of getting a job in your home country, you should consider if your degree, major, and/or skills are relevant to the employment needs in your country. If they are you will be more likely to be successful finding a job there. You can do CPT in your home country and then return to the US to study again.
  6. If I want to complete my co-op in the U.S or work in the U.S. full-time, what would make me competitive?

    As an international student, you have some particular qualities that you can offer employers:
    • Skills you have developed at RIT
    • Bi-cultural (tri-cultural including Deaf culture) background
    • Your knowledge of more than one language
    • Demonstrated success at living in another country
    • Personal strengths (courage, adaptability, sense of humor, motivation) involved in coming to the U.S. to pursue your education.
  7. What are some tips for my job search as an international student?

    • Research the demand for your degree and skills-set. Your job search will be easier if you have highly marketable skills or extensive experience. Be flexible—you may need to relocate in order to find the job you want. Learn all you can about your targeted career field.
    • Use all available resources in your job search. These include: college on-campus recruiting, campus or community job fairs, job postings on national job posting Internet sites, company website postings, job postings in newspapers and trade publica¬tions, professional associations, resume searches on national on-line services, employee referrals, regional and national conferences, employment agencies, networking through your own contacts.
    • Develop strong communication skills. Provide a well-prepared resume that includes desirable skills and relevant work experiences. Prepare your communication strategy for the interview (voicing, signing, using an interpreter, video conferencing with relay). Clearly convey your interests and ability to do the job in an interview. Make good eye contact with the employer in order to portray confidence and honesty. If your English language skills need work, see your academic advisor for tutoring and information on other resources.
    • Interact with other international students who have successfully found employment in the U.S., and get advice from them.
    • Work with the NTID Center on Employment (NCE) and Office of Co-op and Career Services here at RIT. Attend sessions on job search strate¬gies and related topics. Work with your Employment Advisor to develop your job search strategy. Attend campus career fairs and company infor¬mation sessions to inquire about employment opportunities and to practice your networking skills.
    • Target multi-national companies because they may value your versatile language skills and may have facilities in your home country.
    • Start your job search early, and create and follow a detailed plan of action that will lead you to great job!

• For further information, contact the International Student Advisors by phone at 585-475- 6943 or on the mezzanine level of the Student Alumni Union. Their website is: