Thoughts on OPT

What is OPT or Optional Practical Training?

Every year we run across Physical Therapists and Occupational Therapists that are looking to begin their OPT period.  Atlas is in a very unique position to help PT’s and OT’s that are on their OPT.  A few things must be understood to really make the most of your OPT period in the USA.

  • First off,  what is an OPT?  An OPT period is a one year period after a Foreign Educated therapist graduates from a post graduate program that allows them to live and work in the USA in order to gain experience in their new field.  We see candidates on their OPT that have primarily graduated from PT or OT Programs in their home country,  and then come to a University in the USA for a Master’s Degree in either PT, OT or fields like Kinesiology or Exercise Science.
  • Secondly,  The OPT is only good for a one year period.  During that year you must either find an employer to sponsor your for another type of Work Authorization(H1-B work visa, Green Card) or at the end of the 12 months you must return to your home country.

This sounds easy enough!  The thing that most Physical and Occupational Therapists don’t realize is that the 12 month period actually starts before you take and pass your licensure exam.  For Physical Therapists in particular,  this can cut off as much as 6 months of your OPT while you work to qualify and pass your exam.

What does this mean for me?  

Well it can mean a lot of things depending on your circumstances.  It is by far the best thing to find an employer as soon as your graduate or before you graduate that can help you plan for your future Immigration choices FROM THE BEGINNING!

With the deadlines involved for the H1-B visa filing and the retrogression issues with the Green Card,  it is imperative that you use your OPT period to transition into a more long term Immigration solution.

Atlas Healthcare has over 28+ years of experience helping therapists from the Philippines, Canada, India and all over the world with these complex issues.

Give us a call today to let us help you reach your LONG TERM goals in the USA.