Academic Training:

What is Academic Training (AT)?

Academic Training is work, training, or experience related to a student's field of study. Training may be paid or unpaid and can take place either on- or off-campus.

Who is eligible to apply?

A student may be authorized to participate in academic training programs "during the academic program or commencing not later than 30 days after completion of studies" if the student meets the following requirements:

  • Is in good academic standing
  • Is in the U.S. primarily to study rather than engage in academic training.
  • Academic training must be done with a specific employer or training site and be directly related to the major field of study listed on DS-2019
  • Receives written approval in advance from an ISSS advisor for the duration and type of academic training. Note: Students on certain government J-1 programs may NOT be eligible for Academic Training, check with your sponsor.

How long is the Academic Training period?

The total training period may not exceed the amount of time spent in full course of study.  

  • If you are in a non-degree program (i.e., an exchange student), you can only participate in Academic Training for a period of time equal to that of your exchange program.
  • Students in degree programs can participate in Academic Training as long as the length of employment does not exceed the amount of time spent in study or an overall limit of 18 months, whichever is less.
  • If you complete a PhD, you can apply for an additional 18 months, provided the period of full-time study has been at least three years.

How to Apply?

Consult your J-1 program sponsor. Your sponsor must authorize academic training in writing before you begin working. The following procedure is for students sponsored by Kansas State University.

1. Complete the Academic Training Application packet. This includes forms for your academic advisor or major professor and your employer to complete.

2. Schedule an appointment with an ISSS advisor. Bring the following to the appointment:

  1. completed Academic Training Application packet,
  2. current DS-2019, and
  3. evidence of financial support if an extension is needed.

3. During the appointment, the ISSS advisor will verify your status and review the application form. If the ISSS advisor approves the AT, he/she will provide you with written authorization and/or new DS-2019 if an extension is needed. The written authorization from the ISSS advisor is your official academic training authorization document.

NOTE: While on academic training, you are required to maintain your J-1 status, including having health insurance coverage for you and any J-2 dependents here in the U.S.

Can post-doctoral Academic Training be extended beyond 18 months for a teaching position, or for training in a corporation?

Yes. Post-doctoral Academic Training can be extended to the maximum of 36 months for research positions at an academic or research institute, for a faculty appointment, or work in a private industry.

Must the Academic Training be paid?

Academic Training during the degree program may be paid or unpaid. Academic Training following completion of a degree must be paid. If you are sponsored by your home government, or are on an exchange program between Kansas State University and your home institution that provides an opportunity for a work experience, it is sometimes possible to be authorized for an unpaid work experience following program completion; contact an ISSS advisor if this applies to you.

What if I want to change my Academic Training employer?

If you wish to change employers, you must get a new authorization letter from the ISSS; authorization letters for Academic Training are job-specific. The ISSS will also update your SEVIS record and produce a new DS-2019 listing your Academic Training employer’s information. To do so, you must re-submit the entire Academic Training Application for J-1 studentsand be approved prior to termination of current employment.

What if I want to extend my current period of Academic Training?

If you are still within the allowable time frame of Academic Training eligibility and you wish to extend your Academic Training, you must complete the application process again, just as you did for the initial approval. This must be completed prior to the end date state on your DS-2019.

Can I travel outside the U.S. during my Academic Training?

Yes. During the period of authorized Academic Training, you are still considered to be in J-1 student status. You will need to carry the following:

  • Signed DS-2019
  • A letter from your Academic Training employer outlining the beginning/ending dates of the employment and salary
  • A letter from your J-1 program sponsor authorizing Academic Training

How will my employer know I am authorized to work under Academic Training?

If you are approved for Academic Training, ISSS will record the authorization on your SEVIS record. The authorization is noted on your DS-2019 and serves as your official academic training authorization.

If your employer has questions or concerns about hiring international students, please refer them to "What Employers Should Know About Hiring International Students." (This form was developed by the International Career Opportunities Network (ICON).)

The ISSS conducts workshops on Academic Training every Fall and Spring semesters. Please check the ISSS calendar of events for dates and times.