Student Support

International Students

 

What is CPT?

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is temporary authorization for practical training directly related to your major field of study—paid or unpaid. You can either choose to be on part-time CPT or full-time CPT; however, participating in full-time CPT may make you ineligible for OPT.  If you plan to be on CPT during the fall or spring semesters, you must maintain full-time status. CPT can only be authorized by the International Education Center (IEC).  Contact the IEC for more information.       

“Practical training” can include:

  • Internship experience (paid or unpaid)
  • Cooperative (co-op) education experience
  • Applied and Service Learning
  • Practicum participation
  • Volunteer work happening off-campus (check with the IEC as some volunteer work do not require CPT authorization)
  • Off-campus employment offered by sponsoring employers through mutual agreements with SMC

Do not begin any type of practical training without approval from the IEC.  If your instructor requires that you participate in any off-campus work, internship, applied and service-learning experience, practicum, volunteer opportunity, etc., contact the International Education Center.  You may need CPT authorization prior to participating in the course assignment.  This is even if your academic department or instructor does not require you to earn credit for optional training/work experience, your F-1 visa status requires IEC approval for off-campus work-based practical training experiences.

Am I Eligible to Participate in CPT?

To be eligible for CPT, you must meet all of the following requirements:

  • Currently in good immigration standing;
  • Completed at least 2 consecutive full-time academic unit earning (fall and spring) semesters. Students who transferred their SEVIS records directly to SMC from a previous college in the U.S. might be able to count study time at their previous school.  Intensive English language training programs do not count towards eligibility;
  • Cumulative GPA of at least 2.0 and is not on academic probation; and
  • Declared a major in Corsair Connect and MyEd Plan.

Contact the International Education Center for more information.

How Do I Apply for CPT?

  1. Contact the International Education Center and request a CPT Eligibility Letter
  2. Reach out to the Career Services Center if you need any assistance finding an internship or contacting an organization connected with your Applied/Service Learning Course.
  3. Attend the appropriate mandatory orientation. If you are wanting to participate in an internship, see the Internship Orientation Schedule.  If you are required or interested in participating in a course offering Applied and Service Learning, see the Applied and Service Learning Dates and Deadlines Calendar.   
  4. Complete the appropriate Internship or Applied and Service Learning process, including any required forms.
  5. Contact the International Education Center for your final authorization appointment for Internship CPT or Applied and Service Learning CPT
  6. Make sure you pay for any fees associated with the enrollment of an internship or applied and service learning course.  Check your Corsair Connect for a list of your fees.  

What if my CPT Experience is Paid or Requires a Social Security Number (SSN)?

If you don’t already have an SSN, contact the International Education Center for more information on how to apply for an SSN.  The process of applying for an SSN may take several weeks, so plan accordingly.

How Many Hours Can I Work on CPT?

Part-time CPT: If you are planning to participate during the fall or spring semester, you are able to work a maximum of 20 hours per week, while at the same time maintaining full-time status.  If you are planning to participate during the winter or summer sessions, you are able to work a maximum of 40 hours per week. We recommend that you speak to your academic international counselor at the International Education Center, if you plan on participating in CPT during the winter or summer session, while being enrolled in any other additional academic courses.  

Full-time CPT: You are able to work a maximum of 40 hours per week.  Note that participating in full-time CPT may make you in ineligible for OPT. Contact the International Education Center for more information.


Additional Resources

  • Overview of the Internship Program at SMC and Eligibility
  • Overview of the Applied and Service Learning Program
  • Schedule an appointment with the Career Services Center to help you with resumes, portfolios, cover letters, interview preparation, career exploration, internship assistance, etc.  
  • Contacting the International Education Center