Curricular Practical Training (OPT)
Curricular Practical Training (CPT) allows F-1 students to gain off-campus work experience in their field of study prior to graduation. Employment through CPT must be related to your field of study and an integral part of your curriculum. If the employment is not a required component of the curriculum, then it must be considered part of the preparation and/or part of the evaluation for a particular course for which you must register in conjunction with CPT.
Curricular Practical Training can be approved for full-time or part-time employment. A student who works full-time for 12 months under CPT will not be eligible for Optional Practical Training. Part-time employment of 20 hours a week or less is not counted in this one-year threshold. Unlike OPT, CPT can only be used while concurrently studying and is no longer available once a student graduates.
Most F-1 students who have been studying full-time for at least 9 months or 2 full semesters (summer is not used as part of this determination) are eligible for CPT.