Center for International Education and Programs at Elgin Community College | 1700 Spartan Drive, B105 | Elgin, IL 60123
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Phone: +1.847.214.7809 | Fax: +1.847.931.4897
Curricular Practical Training
Procedure for students wishing to apply for Curricular Practical Training
What is Curricular Practical Training (CPT)?
CPT allows F-1 students to seek authorization for practical training to engage in temporary employment to gain
practical experience in their field of study. CPT must be “an integral part of an established curriculum.” CPT can be an
alternate work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum, which
is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with ECC for which the student receives credit.
This can be a required part of the program where employment is required in the field of study to graduate or a non-
required part of the program where the practical experience is for credit and directly related to the student’s field of
study. Students must be enrolled in a course that provides academic credit for CPT.
Who is eligible for CPT?
To be eligible for CPT, an F-1 student must have completed at least one full academic year of study (full-time
enrollment in the fall and spring semesters) and work in a position that is an integral part of the established
curriculum. Students in the Intensive English Program are not eligible for CPT. Students applying for CPT must be in
good academic standing per SOAP (Standards of Academic Progress) guidelines.
CPT may be granted for either part-time (maximum of 20 hours per week) or full-time (more than 20 hours per week)
employment. Students may engage in CPT only for the specific employer, location, and period approved and recorded
by the DSO in SEVIS. The student must have an offer of employment from an employer offering work that qualifies as
curricular practical training and receive written authorization from the DSO before work begins. USCIS approval is not
required. Students on CPT must maintain a full course load at all times unless previously approved for a reduced
course load (RCL).
Effect of CPT on OPT
There is no regulatory limit on either the number of times or the length of time a student may engage in either part- or
full-time CPT. This will be governed by the nature of the training and the requirements of the student’s program. F-1
students who engage in an aggregate of 12 months or more of full-time curricular practical training, however, become
ineligible for optional practical training (OPT) at the educational level the CPT is authorized.
Important reminders about CPT:
If the CPT application is approved, the DSO will inform USCIS and will issue a new Form I-20 with CPT
authorization. CPT cannot begin until authorized by the Center for International Education and Programs. If
there are any changes regarding a student’s employment, the student must notify the DSO so that student’s
SEVIS record can be updated. Processing time is 3-5 business days.
Students on CPT must apply for and receive a social security number prior to beginning work.
It is the student’s responsibility to comply with all immigration regulations which apply to F-1 students,
including employment regulations. Working without the proper authorization is a serious violation of F-1
status and may jeopardize the student’s stay in the United States.