Choose a university with a strong career program
The Career Accelerator Program (CAP) is an educational program that prepares people for employment and the start of a successful career. It starts in the second or third semester and lasts 2 years – in parallel with the main academic course of the university.
Under the CAP, students learn to write resumes and pass interviews, develop career plans, and meet with employers. Successful participants undergo paid internships.
Universities offer several CAP course options to choose from depending on the student’s plans and preferences. There are programs for those who plan to get a second higher education, start their own business or continue a family business.
Through the CAP program, students acquire the skills needed to find a job, build industry connections, and gain first experience in their specialty.
Look for job training programs
Most US universities have extensive business partnerships. During their studies, students undergo paid and unpaid training programs. To participate, it is enough to show your interest and good academic achievements. The experience of implementing specific projects also speaks in favor of the candidate – and during the training, the university provides almost unlimited opportunities and resources for this.
Students of some universities undergo internships in the world’s leading companies:
- Washington State University students have internships at Boeing, Microsoft, and Amazon.com.
- University of Central Florida students are at Disney, Siemens, and Electronic Arts.
- Louisiana State University students are at Johnson & Johnson, Citigroup and JP Morgan Chase.
Large universities regularly host job fairs and meetings with business representatives, so the best students can find work without leaving the campus.
Fill out documents correctly
Graduates of American universities have the right to stay in the country for 1-2 years in order to undergo an internship in Optional Practical Training or Academic Training programs. To do this, you need to apply within 60 days after graduation and find a job in your specialty.
The Optional Practical Training (OPT) internship is 12 months long and is suitable for students who come to the United States on an F-1 visa.
The Academic Training internship is 18 months long and is suitable for students with a J-1 visa.
Optional Practical Training is a more popular type of internship that allows you to maximize your stay in the United States. Students with STEM specialties (science, engineering, mathematics and technology) can stay in the country for 1 additional year.
How to apply for an optional Practical Training internship:
- request the necessary documents from the international department of the university.
- ask your supervisor to complete the Academic Advisor Recommendation Form.
- fill out the Request for I-20 form and make the corresponding entry in the SEVIS system.
- fill out the I-765 form, submit the documents to the international department of the university and wait for approval.
- submit approved documents to USCIS (American Immigration Service) and pay the fee.
- after 6-12 weeks, you will be sent an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) – the official approval of the internship.
After that, feel free to go to work.
An internship can be issued again with each new stage of education – in undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate studies.
When the OPT expires, you will need to leave the United States or apply for an H1-B temporary work visa. To do this, you need to find an employer who agrees to sponsor you. And after H1-B, you can already get a permanent residence permit.
So, to start a career in the USA, you need:
- choose a good university and a demanded specialty.
- in parallel with your studies, take a career program (CAP).
- participate in internships.
After graduation, apply for Optional Practical Training or Academic Training and find an employer.