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CPT & OPT Internship

CPT & OPT Internship

For all the international F1 students, there are two types of practical training programs -

  1. Optional Practical Training
  2. Curricular Practical Training

These two programs provide an opportunity for the international students to work legally with US employers, but the main difference between these two programs in OPT program is helpful in enhancing your academic experience and CPT is helpful for meeting the academic degree requirements.

Let us have a close look at the CPT & OPT internship programs to know the main differences between the two programs.

Optional Practical Training –

  • When you are applying for Optional Practical Training then you need not have a job offer. You can find a job within 90 days after your OPT start date, but make sure that you are not unemployed for more than 90 days in that 12 month OPT duration else your status will change.
  • OPT is normally a paid employment.
  • You again have two categories of OPT – Pre completion and post completion. You can enroll in OPT when you are still pursuing your graduation or masters or you can also apply after the completion of your graduation. You can select a combination of both as well. That means you can work for a few days during graduation and continue the rest later after completion of graduation. The total duration of OPT has to be 12 months only.
  • STEM OPT can get an extension of another 17 months.
  • OPT can be part time or full time.

Curricular Practical Training –

  • The normally CPT program is referred to as an internship program which is either required by all the students in the class or none.
  • You need to have a job offer in hand.
  • CPT program will add credit to your degree program and help in completion of the course.
  • A CPT program can be paid or unpaid, as you are going for this program just to get a credit score for completion of degree.
  • CPT can be part time or full time.
  • Make sure that your CPT is less than 12 months duration. If your CPT is 12 months or more than 12 months, then you will not be permitted to enroll in OPT program. So your CPT should be 364 days or less.

Some common requirement for CPT & OPT internship program –

  • When you are enrolling for CPT or OPT internship program, then you should make sure that the employer is related to your major subject of study.
  • You should be having a valid F1 visa when you are applying for any of these.
  • Whether it is CPT or OPT, you are not allowed to apply for it until you complete at least one year of education in the university.
  • You cannot start the program before the start date or you should not work after the end date of the program.
  • You should receive approval before you start working on any of the programs. You need an EAD card before starting the CPT or OPT program and that will take 3 months. So apply in advance.
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