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Common Differences between CPT And OPT

Filed in Articles by on March 18, 2019

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Common Differences between CPT And OPT.

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Knowing the difference between a OPT and CPT can be quite confusing for some student, it was the same too for me years ago. So in this article I will be doing one major thing and that expatiating on what these terms are all about, their differences.

Difference Between OPT and CPT

Alongside taking tests, completing assignments, and attending class, involving in practical experience is a growing attribute of a US college education. For many students, getting job training prior to arriving their professional career is an important aspect of their education.

Luckily, international students with F1 visa are also able to join their peers in these internship and training experiences via optional practical training (OPT) and curricular practical training (CPT) employment. The two are apparently very common, so in this article, we show you the differences between the two!

What is Optional Practical Training (OPT)?

The OPT permit students to acquire practical training within their field of study while still working in the direction of their degree, or after they have graduated. When students are admitted in an OPT, they are competent to legally work within the US without the need of a workers permit or other form of visa.

OPTs have two types

  • Pre-Completion OPT: this type permit   students to work up to 20 hours a week while still enrolled in school
  • Post-Completion OPT allows recent graduates to work full time for up to 12 months in the US without the need for another visa.

Optional practical training can be done for up to 12 months in total while there are extensions for those studying fields in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. To be suitable for the 24-month extension, the student must have already been granted OPT and have made their degree. If they meet those necessities, they can then submit the form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization which if approved, will grant an extra 24 months to work in the US without another visa.

The OPT is one of the finest ways students are able to outspread their time in the US post-graduation to work legally, and many students even will receive a job offer once their OPT ends. This allows them to start the process for a work visa, or even a green card for permanent residency.

What is Curricular Practical Training (CPT)?

The CPT achieves a student’s program requirement for experience within the student’s field of study. The necessities, therefore, are a bit more severe compared to the OPT. For instance, the employer must be listed on the student’s I-20 and the training must occur before the program ends.

Many educational programs need students to gain practical experience before graduation, often through an internship or apprenticeship. According to the USCIS, these training experiences comprises of  “any alternative work/study, internship, cooperative education, or other types of required internship or practicum that is obtainable by sponsoring employers via  cooperative agreements with the school.” The CPT lets international students to legally achieve this requirement without needing another visa or a work permit.

For some  programs, a course is required to be taken along with CPT. You can learn more about whether your school needs  CPT through an international student counselor or academic counselor. Many schools have a devoted office to helpstudents apply for and register in CPT.

What are the Difference between OPT and CPT?

The main difference between OPT and CPT is the time period in which you are qualified for these programs and the type of work allowed in each program. OPT can be finished before or after graduation, while CPT must be finished before graduation. CPT employment is part of your main curriculum that allows students to work in a paid or unpaid internship, practicum, or cooperative (co-op) education program. CPT must be needed by your major and if it not, you must obtain course credit. Only certain employers partake in CPT. Alternately, OPT is not employer specific and allows work, not an internship or co-op, and you do not need to earn course credit.

Which Program is Right for You?

Now that you know more about CPT vs. OPT, you’ll be better armed to inquire of your DSO questions and make the best of your college education in the States. STEM students may want to take advantage of OPT and its extension period, buts some r students need to look at the necessities posed by their majors and educational institution to come to a conclusion

CSN Team

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