Curricular Practical Training Vs. Optional Practical Training

CPT requires a job offer VS OPT does not require a job offer.
CPT may require enrollment in a special class in which on-the-job training is required and for which course credit is received. If you will not be enrolled in a class, your academic advisor must recommend the CPT and explain (in writing) its relevance to your major. VS OPT does not require you to enroll in any class.
CPT is authorized for a specific employer for work related to the studentís field of studies. VS OPT allows work with ANY employer based on studentís field of studies.
Employment authorization based on CPT is granted on the I-20. VS Employment authorization based on OPT is called the EAD (Employment Authorization Document).
CPT may only be issued for work prior to graduation, and prior to completion of course units required for degree. VS OPT allows for employment both prior to and after graduation.
CPT does not affect OPT as long as the CPT issued does not exceed 12 fulltime months. Part-time (20 hours or less) CPT is never accumulated or deducted from OPT. VS Part time (pre-completion) OPT (20 hours or less) is deducted at half-time rate, but full-time OPT (over 20 hours a week) is deducted at full-time rate from the 12 months of OPT. (NOTE: if you received 6 full-time months of OPT prior to graduating, you will have 6 months left upon graduation.)
  • Both CPT and OPT require that the proposed employment be related to the student's field of study.
  • Both CPT and OPT do not allow the student to begin employment prior to completing the first academic year (unless required of the degree, and based on CPT).
  • Both CPT and OPT require the student to have received the authorization to work prior to beginning employment.

RR 01/25/10

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