What is CPT (Curricular Practical Training)? What is the difference between CPT and Day 1 CPT?

What is CPT

What is CPT(Curricular Practical Training)? What is the difference between CPT and Day 1 CPT?

Exploring the world and developing experienced critical thinkers is the need of the hour. Building up a career abroad enhances our comprehensive understanding of the world and provides the necessary skills to excel in the concerned field. Many students focusing on taking up career opportunities opt for courses that provide them with appropriate training sessions. In such cases, students look for courses that provide them training offered by the course itself. 

Let us read further and see what kind of training program can be utilized in such scenarios.

What is CPT?

Curricular Practical Training or CPT is a training program that provides international students with opportunities to work alongside their course. It can be on-campus employment or off-campus employment. The primary purpose of CPT is to provide practical experience through training before the completion of the course. The condition to be kept in mind while taking up CPT is that it should be a part of the curriculum opted for.

The benefits of taking up CPT.

  • There is no requirement of procuring an Employment Authorization Document from USCIS unlike in OPT. 
  • No application fee or charges are to be paid.
  • It can be full time or part-time.

Part-time and full-time CPT 

Training programs opted under a specific course can be part-time or full-time.  If part-time CPT is taken up, then the student needs to complete 20 hours or less a week. In the case of part-time CPT, the student must attend on-campus classes and maintain F1 student status.

In case, full-time CPT is taken up, the student is eligible to work for 20 hours or more per week. It is important to note that if 12 months of full time CPT is opted and completed, then the student will not be eligible for OPT i.e optional practical training under the specific course. 

It is also to be noted that CPT must be completed before the completion of the program.

Types of CPT

CPT can be divided into two types-

  • Required CPT
    • Required CPT is a mandatory part of the curriculum. Without the completion of the required CPT, the student cannot obtain a course completion certificate.
  • Optional CPT
    • Optional CPT is not mandatory. It is separately taken up by the student related to the course of study. It can be off-campus or on-campus employment.

What are the eligibility requirements for CPT?

  • Authentic F1 student status.
  • Have a job offer related to the course.
  • Full-time course in a SEVP university or college.
  • Not studying English as a second language.


What is the suitable time to apply for CPT?

The student is eligible to apply for CPT up to 90 days before the completion of the first year. CPT employment can only begin after the first year of study is completed. After I-20 authorization is granted for CPT employment, the student can immediately start with the employment. The student must apply at least 2 weeks before the start of the training program. It takes around 7-10 working days to get approval for CPT.

What is Day 1 CPT?

Day 1 Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a training program offered to F1 scholars who wish to train along with the program from the first day of the course. This training opportunity can be paid or unpaid. Taking up day 1 CPT depends on whether the university provides such an option. 

Eligibility requirements for Day 1 CPT

  • Valid F1 visa
  • Meeting course requirements (total credits)
  • The internship must be related to the course
  • Have a valid internship/job offer

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