Academic Training

Academic training (AT) is designed to allow J-1 students the opportunity to apply knowledge gained in the classroom to an experiential learning opportunity off-campus. It is available as full-time or part-time employment to those in both degree and non-degree programs. Academic training can be paid or unpaid, and can be used before or after the completion of the academic program.

To work more than 20 hours per week off-campus during a spring or fall semester, J students must enroll in the full-time co-op or internship program with Center for Career Discovery and Development (Career Center) along with their AT authorization. For information about the co-op or internship program, visit the Center for Career Discovery and Development’s website.

Eligibility Requirements
A J-1 student visa holder is allowed to engage in employment related to their major if they meet the following conditions. The student:

  • Has primarily come to the U.S. to study, not to work.
  • Is in valid J-1 status and in good academic standing
  • Will engage in employment directly related to their major field of study.
  • Will maintain health insurance coverage while working.
  • Must prove they have adequate financial support for themselves and their J-2 dependents (if any) for the duration of the AT.
  • Must receive approval from academic advisor for the duration of academic training.
  • Will obtain written Academic Training permission from OIE.
  • Has completed all coursework required for the degree OR will work only during vacation periods or only part-time (20 hours/week) if still attending class.
  • Must apply for the AT prior to the end of their final term and must begin AT within 30 days of their academic program completion. 

Time Limitations for Academic Training

  • Academic Training employment may not exceed the period of full course of study or 18 months, whichever is shorter. However, if you receive a Ph.D. and acquire a post-doctoral training position, you are allowed a maximum of 36 months of Academic Training.
  • Part-time Academic Training counts against the amount of full-time employment available. Example, if you are on a 12-month academic program, then you are eligible for 12 months of Academic Training. If you use 6 months of part-time Academic Training before you finished your academic program, then you only have 6 months of full-time Academic Training left after the academic program.
  • Earning more than one degree does not increase your time available for Academic Training.

Authorization Deadline
If you are going to complete your program, then you must apply for your academic training authorization before the end of your last term. For example, if you finish your studies on December 15th then the Academic Training must be requested by December 15.

Procedure

  1. Obtain a letter from the future employer that includes all of the details listed below. 
    • Must be on company letterhead
    • Job title
    • A brief description of your employment
    • Proposed training start and end date (note: the start date must be within 30 days of your program completion date)
    • Location of the training/employment
    • The number of hours per week
    • Name and address of the training supervisor
    • Salary (minimum of $1800/month)
  2. Meet with your academic advisor (undergraduate students) or graduate coordinator (graduate students) to discuss your job offer, employment details, and AT request.
  3. Login to iStart.gatech.edu and complete the Academic Training e-Form. In the e-form you will be asked to upload your employer's letter and provide the name and email address of your graduate coordinator who will review the offer letter and complete the academic training e-Form.

Health Insurance Requirements During Academic Training

While taking participating in Academic Training, J students and their dependents are required to maintain their health insurance that meets or exceeds U.S. Department of State standards. Government regulations stipulate that if J exchange visitors willfully fail to carry health insurance for themselves and their dependents, the J sponsor (OIE) must terminate the J program and report the termination to the Department of State in Washington.

For a list of these requirements visit OIE's J Health Insurance website.

Practical Training Fee
The Office of International Education will collect a $35 fee each time an international student holding an F or J student visa receives practical training benefits in the form of Curricular Practical Training (CPT), Optional Practical Training (OPT) or Academic Training (AT). Student e-forms submitted to the OIE for review after June 15, 2017 will be required to show evidence of PTF payment. Specific instructions for paying the fee will be include in the respective eform.

For more specific information about the PTF, please visit OIE's website: /isss/ptf