What is a CPT Program?

Let’s start with understanding what a CPT program actually is. Curricular Practical Training, or CPT, is a type of work authorization program that takes place off-campus for international students, providing invaluable work experience and networking opportunities.

CPT works as an extension of an F-1 student’s main area of study, allowing them to essentially “learn and gain experience” at the same time. In agreement with the specific school, a sponsoring employer can offer this type of training program in a few different ways, including:

  • Cooperative education program
  • Internship/Externship
  • Practicum
  • Alternative work-study arrangement

For an individual looking for a full-time CPT program, 20 hours a week or more is allotted. However, CPT programs can also be part-time.

Benefits of 1-Year CPT Programs

CPT programs offer numerous benefits for international students, providing them with extra benefits that go beyond their schooling. Many students find their post-education job through a CPT program, utilizing networking opportunities and the skills learned on the job.

Here are a few of the main benefits that F-1 students can receive while in a 1-year CPT program.

Gain Work Experience

While in a CPT program, the experience an international student can gain is significant as it gives them a leg up ahead of their classmates and peers within their desired industry. As employers continue to expect more of applicants, gaining hands-on experience while in school can mean the difference between getting hired and not.   

Networking Opportunities

Meeting people who are already established in a student’s desired industry is an invaluable asset that a CPT program provides. Even if an internship or work opportunity doesn’t hire upon graduating, the additional benefit of a CPT is the chance to network, creating lines of valuable relationships within an industry.

Improve Language

While most people who take a CPT program know English, learning “professional” English is an entirely different skill set that CPT provides. International students can learn the specific jargon used by employers during day-to-day work and bring that skill to future jobs, giving them an automatic leg-up.

How to Meet CPT Requirements

If CPT sounds like the program for you, all you need to do now is meet the requirements.

Become Eligible

In order to utilize CPT, you must be a full-time, F-1 student that has been enrolled in an SEVP-certified institution for at least one year. The field of study is entirely up to you, with the exception of English as a Second Language (ESL), and you can not participate in CPT for your minor or general education studies. The position a student seeks to get authorization for must be in the student’s current field of study and must be approved by the institution as meeting that criteria.

Receive Authorization

In the Student and Exchange Visitor Program, a Designated School Official (DSO) will authorize your CPT opportunity, then providing you with said authorization on your FORM I-20. An additional authorization from ICE is not required to participate in CPT.

Explore CSI’s CPT Program Today

The Curricular Practical Training program has been a catalyst for life-changing endeavors for international students all over the globe, and it can be for you too.

To receive more information on the CPT requirements, please contact us today. One of our knowledgeable team members who can work with you individually to answer all of your questions.