Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a benefit of F-1 non-immigrant student status, and provides temporary employment authorization for off-campus training that is directly related to an F-1 student’s major field of study.  Albion College students typically request part-time CPT (up to 20 hours a week) for spring and fall semesters, and full-time CPT (20 hours or more) during the summer term.  F-1 students cannot engage in volunteering, training, or working until CPT is authorized and the start date of CPT has been reached.  CIE will only authorize CPT for a semester at a time.  There is no set limit to the amount of time a student may engage in CPT. However, if a student engages in full time CPT for 12 months or more, the student becomes ineligible for post-completion OPT.  Engaging in part-time CPT (20 hours or less) does not affect eligibility for post-completion OPT.

Eligibility.  To be eligible for CPT, F-1 students must:
  • Be in valid F-1 immigration status and have been enrolled as a full-time student for at least one full academic year. 
  • Continue to meet full-time enrollment requirements while engaging in CPT, whether full or part-time.   Note: CPT authorized for summer requires enrollment only in the internship coursework.
  • Work only for the specific dates of employment authorized on the I-20, and for the specific employer authorized.  They must not begin before the start date or continue working after the end date, or change employers, without receiving a new authorization.  This would be a violation of the F-1 immigration status terms, and could result in a loss of immigration status and/or deportation.
  • Have additional courses to complete for their Albion College degree. They must not have completed all program requirements, regardless of graduation status.
Training/ Employment Requirements
  • CPT training (and employment associated with the training) must be "an integral part of an established curriculum" and "directly related to the student's major area of study.”
  • For-credit CPT may be mandatory or elective. The training program must be listed in the school's course catalog with the assigned number of credits and the name of the faculty member teaching the course clearly indicated. There should also be a description of the course with the course objectives clearly defined. Students enrolled in such a course may work out the details of their specific projects within the established course objectives under the supervision of the instructor.
  • CPT employment may be unpaid or paid, and F-1 students engaging in off-campus non-paid internships require CPT authorization.   Federal and state labor and wage/hour laws do still apply.
CPT Process Overview
  • Follow Albion College Career and Internship Center (CIC) procedures to find an internship, practicum, or other position in your academic major.  Gain a job offer letter for the position, on the organization’s letterhead, that includes the following information:
    • Job title.
    • Employment start date and end date.
    • Number of hours per week to be worked.
    • Employer name, address, and phone number.
    • Description of work.
  • Gain signatures on the CPT request form by the CIC and your department chair. 
  • Register for the course on your CPT request form.
  • Submit the CPT request form to the Center for International Education, Vulgamore 306.
  • Schedule a meeting with the CIE Director for 1-2 days after submitting the form.  At that meeting, you will receive a new I-20 with your CPT work authorization, and/or be notified of additional information required.
  • Only AFTER receiving the I-20 with CPT work authorization, report to work.