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Office of International Studies and Programs

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Phone: +1-509-963-3612
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Central Washington University
Office of International Studies and Programs
Hebeler Hall 102
400 E. University Way
Ellensburg, WA 98926-7408


Partner University Students Home Applying as an Exchange Student Finding Classes and Registration Accommodation J-1 Visa and Immigration Arrival & Orientation Student Life Employment


Permissible Employment

While there is a process to obtain authorization (see below), J-1 visa regulations permit students to work on campus up to 20 hours per week during an academic term and up to 40 hours during a break (e.g. Winter Break or Spring Break). Outside of Academic Training (see below) and cases of extreme and unforeseen economic hardship, off-campus employment of any kind is impermissible and could jeopardize students’ immigration status.

Payment and remuneration are not required for work to be considered employment. If a job is normally compensated, e.g., babysitting, it is considered employment for immigration purposes, regardless of whether the student themself receives compensation. On the other hand, true volunteering, e.g., the Yakima River Cleanup, is perfectly acceptable.

Never work without authorization. Doing so can be grounds for terminating a student’s immigration record and sending them home immediately. Such action also has the potential to jeopardize future visa applications for those who wish to return to the US at some point. Students should consult the Exchange Coordinator if they have any questions about whether a given activity is considered employment and how it could affect their immigration status.

Obtaining On-Campus Employment

For the processes involved in finding an on-campus job and obtaining authorization, students should begin by consulting the main OISP page on Employment or with Ray Wells, who coordinates employment processes for the office. These will provide guidance on finding a position through CWU’s Student Employment system, the materials needed to apply for a Social Security Number and more.

Among those needed materials will be a letter from the Exchange Coordinator. Therefore, students are advised to speak with him beforehand also, if only to allow him to expect the letter will be needed.

NB: The Department of World Languages and Cultures frequently hires tutors to help its students learning languages. Students with native or advanced proficiency in Chinese (Mandarin), French, German, Japanese, Korean, Russian, or Spanish and interested in an on-campus job might inquire with the department.

Academic Training

What is Academic Training?

Academic Training is employment that relates directly to a student’s field of study, as indicated on their DS-2019, and provides training in that field. This employment may take place on- or off-campus, involve multiple employers and be paid or unpaid. Pre-Completion Academic Training takes place concurrently with a student’s studies at CWU, and Post-Completion Academic Training takes places after a student’s academic program, with work commencing no later than 30 days after the program’s end.

The maximum duration of Academic Training is 18 months or a period equal to the length of the student’s academic program, whichever is shorter. All Academic Training applies equally to this limit; there is no distinction in this regard between part-time and full-time or pre-completion and post-completion training. With Post-Completion Academic Training, the clock will begin at the end of the student’s academic program, not the first day of employment.

Eligibility Criteria:

In order to be eligible for Academic Training, students must:

  • be in the US primarily for study, not to engage in Academic Training;
  • be in good academic standing;
  • participate in Academic Training directly related to the field of study printed on the DS-2019 and integral to their program;
  • receive written approval from the Exchange Coordinator (as the designated Responsible Officer).

NB: Sponsored students (e.g., World Learning, UGRAD, Fulbright, etc.) can only be authorized by their sponsoring organization; CWU may not do so. Please contact the sponsor advisor for more information about their requirements, limitations and processes.

Applying for Academic Training:

To apply for Academic Training, students must submit to the Exchange Coordinator the following materials:

  • Completed Academic Training Application Form;
  • Recommendation from Roslyn (Roz) Moes, the International Student Advisor, that includes the following information:
    • Student’s name;
    • Date of program completion or graduation;
    • Degree level;
    • Field of study;
    • The goals and objectives of the specific training program;
    • Location of the training (must be the physical address);
    • Name and address of the training supervisor;
    • Number of hours per week (start date and end date);
    • Dates of the training;
    • Explanation of how the training relates to your field of study;
    • Explanation of why the training is an integral or critical part of your academic program;
  • Job Offer Letter from Employer on company letterhead and including the following information:
    • Company name and contact information;
    • Dates of employment (start date and end date);
    • Location of employment (physical address);
    • Number of hours to be worked per week;
    • Name and title of supervisor;
    • Student position title and primary duties;
    • Compensation or rate of pay, if any
  • Recent unofficial CWU transcript of grades (available through MyCWU) and/or progress report from current instructors;
  • Proof of health insurance meeting CWU requirements for the duration of the Academic Training period (including for any J-2 dependents);
  • Copies of:
    • Passport (if changed since arrival);
    • Visa stamp (if changed since arrival);
    • Current and previous DS-2019s (if not already on file with OISP);
    • Current I-94.
  • Proof of sufficient financial support for the duration of the Academic Training period.

Pre-Completion Academic Training, training occurring during the student’s program of study, will only be approved on a quarter-by-quarter basis; students may apply for an extension as necessary. Thus, the authorized training period may end as late as the day before classes begin the following term.

Application materials for Post-Completion Academic Training must be submitted and approved before the student’s current DS-2019 expires.

Upon authorization, the Exchange Advisor will issue the student a formal letter of authorization.

Academic Training Evaluation:

Per federal regulations, CWU must evaluate the effectiveness and appropriateness of the academic training in achieving the stated goals and objectives in order to ensure the quality of the academic training program. Students must complete and submit (either scanned via email or in hard copy) to the Exchange Coordinator the Academic Training Evaluation Form [link to form] at the end of their academic training. Extensions of academic training will not be processed before receiving the completed evaluation form.

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