Academic Training (AT)
Academic Training (AT) is a job that directly relates to your study major that was authorized by your J-1 program sponsor. Your J-1 program sponsor issues the DS-2019 form, the basic document that certifies your eligibility for exchange visitor status. If your DS-2019 form was not issued by Michigan Tech, you must contact the agency or institution that issued it and ask to be approved for academic training.
All J-1 students in degree and non-degree programs can apply for AT during or after completion of their studies. Students are allowed to work part-time while school is in session and full-time during summer and winter breaks.
Learn About Different Kinds of Academic Training
Academic Training authorized before you complete your studies is called pre-completion AT. It is limited to part-time, 20 hours per week or less, during the academic term, but can be full-time during the summer. If you are a graduate student who has advanced to candidacy, you may be eligible for full-time AT as long as the internship/employment is integral to your doctoral dissertation, or thesis research as stated in the Academic Department Recommendation section of the AT Request Form.
The time you work under pre-completion AT is deducted from your total allowable academic training period for the purposes of calculating how long you are allowed to be in post-completion academic training.
Academic Training authorized after your studies are over is called post-completion AT. Post-completion AT can be full-time or part-time.
To Be Eligible You Need
- Valid J-1 status
- A job or internship with a start date no more than 30 days after your program end date for post-completion AT applicants
- Health insurance coverage for yourself and any J-2 dependents, maintained during your academic training
How Long is AT?
There is an 18-month general limit for undergraduate and pre-doctoral training.
- Employment may be authorized up to 18 months, or for the period covering the full course of your studies, whichever is less. For example, if you are a master's student who completed a program in 12 months, you are only eligible for 12 months of AT.
- Completing more than one degree program at the same time does not increase your academic training period.
- More than 18 months can be approved at this level of study only if it is required for the degree program. Non-degree seeking students are not eligible for the exception.
There is a 36-month maximum for postdoctoral training.
- Employment may be authorized up to 36 months at the postdoctoral level—this time includes all prior academic training done at this or lower levels of study.
Part-time academic training is deducted at the full-time rate.
- All academic training is counted as full time, even if you are employed part time.
- Academic training may involve sequential or simultaneous activities, either paid or unpaid, with several employers, US or foreign, if application and approval procedures are followed for each employer and activity, and the overall time limit is not exceeded.