Curricular Practical Training

What is Curricular Practical Training?

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) allows students in the U.S. on an F-1 visa to seek authorization for practical training. Using this authorization, you can engage in temporary employment to gain practical experience in your field of study. To qualify, CPT must be "an integral part of an established curriculum." Students must be enrolled in a course that provides academic credit for CPT.

CPT can be an alternate work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum, which is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with ECC for which the student receives credit. This can be a necessary part of the program where employment is required in the field of study to graduate or a non-required part of the program where the practical experience is for credit and directly related to the student's field of study.

CPT Eligibility Requirements


To be eligible for CPT, an F-1 student must have completed at least one full academic year of study (full-time enrollment in the fall and spring semesters) and work in a position that is an integral part of the established curriculum. Students in the Intensive English Program are not eligible for CPT.

Students applying for CPT must be in good academic standing per SOAP (Standards of Academic Progress) guidelines.

CPT may be granted for either part-time (maximum of 20 hours per week) or full-time (more than 20 hours per week) employment. Students may engage in CPT only for the specific employer, location, and period approved and recorded by the DSO in SEVIS. The student must have an offer of employment from an employer offering work that qualifies as curricular practical training and receives written authorization from the DSO before work begins. USCIS approval is not required. Students on CPT must maintain a full course load at all times unless previously approved for an RCL.

If you have been authorized for CPT, see details about getting a social security card. Remember, students on CPT must apply for and receive a social security number before beginning work.

Applying for CPT


You may begin the Curricular Practical Training application online or download and complete the Curricular Practical Training - PDF.

What is the effect of CPT on OPT?

There is no regulatory limit on either the number of times or the length of time a student may engage in either part-time or full-time CPT. This will be governed by the nature of the training and the requirements of the student's program. F-1 students who engage in an aggregate of 12 months or more of full-time Curricular Practical Training become ineligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT) at the educational level the CPT is authorized.

Important reminders about CPT:

  • If the CPT application is approved, the DSO will inform USCIS and will issue a new Form I-20 with CPT authorization.
  • CPT cannot begin until authorized by the Center for International Education and Programs. This authorization is only valid for a specific employer, location, and period and on a part-time or full-time basis as approved and recorded by the Center for International Education and Programs.
  • If there are any changes regarding a student's employment, the student must notify the DSO so that the student's SEVIS record can be updated. The processing time is 3-5 business days.
  • It is the student's responsibility to comply with all immigration regulations which apply to F-1 students, including employment regulations. Working without proper authorization is a serious violation of F-1 status and may jeopardize the student's stay in the U.S.