Curricular Practical Training
Curricular Practical Training is a temporary employment opportunity for the F1 Visa Students in USA. All the graduate students and post graduation, students can enroll in this program, but make sure that you are enrolling in these programs when you are still in college as this is an internship program. The advantage of this CPT or Curricular Practical Training program is you will be able to get practical training in your main field of study. This CPT program is known as Co-op or internship program. This program is authorized by the ISS, according to the F1 visa regulations.
Eligibility Criteria –
In order to get eligible for Curricular Practical Training, you should have stayed in the US for at least 9 months. And also make sure that you have not completed your graduation. This program has to be done when you are still pursuing graduate. Some colleges will ask you to work for career services at your college or school else you will not be made eligible for CPT. You must be having a valid F1 visa status when you are applying for CPT program and you should apply for this program at least two months before you actually want to start the program.
You can enroll into CPT only after completion of 2 semesters or at least 2 semesters. This normally varies from university to university or sometimes the credit score is also taken in consideration for CPT program approval.
CPT can be either full time or part time –
You can opt for a part time or Full time CRP program, but you should also take care that your CPT program duration is not 12 months or more than 12 months. If it is so, then you will not be eligible for OPT program. So make sure that your CPT is 364 days or less. This program can be paid or unpaid depending on the employer.
Curricular Practical Training Dates –
All the CPT programs will have a scheduled start date and end date for CPT. These details will be present on the I-20 form, on the third page. Any student is not allowed to start the internship program before the start date or end the program after the end date. If in case you want an extension of your CPT program, then you should apply for authorization from ISS.
Employers Selection –
All F1 students are eligible for CPT program, but you are allowed to work only with those employers listed in the I-20 form. These employers are called as designated employers and if you want to work with more than one employer then you will need to have another CPT program approved from your college. You also have the option to change your employer, but the new employer also should be a designated employer who is a list in the I-20 form.
In short, both Curricular Practical Training Program and Optional Practical Training program are same as both the programs give you a chance to work in USA legal, but the only difference is you will be an intern and work during your graduation in CPT program. In OPT program; you can work even after the completion of your graduation.