You may get the opportunity to participate in temporary employment to earn credit toward your degree in the form of an internship. If you have F-1 status, you must request special permission for this kind of paid employment. The permission is called Curricular Practical Training (CPT).
You must have been enrolled as a full-time student and in good status for at least one full academic year to be eligible for CPT.
The training must be approved by the instructional department as an integral part of the established curriculum by fulfilling graduation requirements for your field of study.
Optional internships are not approved for CPT.
You may work up to 20 hours per week while school is in session and 40 hours per week during breaks and vacations.
CPT is approved for only one semester at a time. You must obtain approval before the start of each semester to continue employment, if desired.
In order to obtain CPT, complete the following steps.
Obtain a job or job offer in your field of study.
Obtain approval for the work from your program’s Internship Coordinator and ensure you will receive course credit toward your degree program.
Bring the approved employment forms, including your employer’s address, supervisor’s contact information, your job title, and the start and end dates for your employment.
Receive your new I-20 with the CPT endorsement. The endorsement on the I-20 will be your proof of eligibility to work for that internship.
Immigration service (USCIS) approval is not required — CPT is approved by International Student Services. You can work up to 364 days of CPT without affecting your eligibility for Optional Practical Training (OPT). However, if you work 365 days or more of CPT, you lose your eligibility for OPT.