Curricular Practical Training Basic Information
What is CPT?
Students required to participate in internship programs to successfully complete their degree requirements can engage in temporary employment to gain practical experience in his or her field of study by obtaining permission to work off-campus. This type of employment is called Curricular Practical Training (CPT).
The work performed while on CPT must be directly related to your field of study as listed on your current I-20. In addition, you must receive academic credit and a grade for the work experience. The work can be paid or unpaid.
Am I Eligible for CPT?
To be eligible for CPT employment authorization, you must meet the following criteria:
- Currently hold valid F-1 status
- Be enrolled at a college or university in F-1 status on a full-time basis for one complete academic year
- Be enrolled in a degree program that REQUIRES the completion of an internship or off-site work experience
Location: Students may engage in CPT only for the specific employer, location and period approved. The work can be done anywhere in the U.S.
Duration: The approval period should coincide with the term for which the student is enrolled in the internship course
Hours per Week: Can be approved for part-time (20 hours per week; must maintain normal full course of study; 9 graduate or 12 undergraduate hours) or full-time (21 hours per week or more; if you accumulate 12 months of full-time CPT you are ineligible for OPT); During fall and spring semesters, if a student is authorized for CPT for 20 hours per week, the student is not allowed to accept additional employment.
Field/Level of Work: Must be an integral part of an established curriculum in the student's field of study as listed on the current I-20
To be approved for CPT employment authorization, complete the application and schedule an appointment with the IMSSO.
NOTE: You must complete the approval process PRIOR to beginning work.