Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

What is CPT?

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a type of off-campus work authorization for F-1 international students who are currently pursuing an academic program in the U.S. and want to gain practical work experience in their field of study. CPT work has to be a required or an integral part of a student’s curriculum.

When do F-1 students become eligible for CPT?

To be eligible for CPT, TMCC students must be:

  • Enrolled full-time for one academic year
  • In good academic standing (minimum 2.0 GPA)
  • In valid F-1 immigration status

How can CPT-eligible students begin the CPT application process?

To apply for CPT, students must follow these steps (more details in the Application Process section below):

  1. Contact the TMCC International Academic Advisor to verify eligibility.
  2. Attend a TMCC Career Center workshop and meet with the Internship Coordinator.
  3. Secure an official job offer.
  4. Register for a CPT-related internship credit for the term when you will be working on CPT.
  5. Schedule an appointment with International Admissions to turn in your complete CPT packet.
  6. Wait for the new CPT I-20 to begin work.

Are there any limitations on CPT?

  • CPT is not available after a student completes a degree program.
  • If a student works full-time on CPT for 12 months or more, the student loses their Optional Practical Training (OPT).
  • Part-time CPT, even if more than 12 months are used up, does not affect OPT eligibility.
  • CPT is an employer-specific work authorization: each CPT is authorized for a specific employer, job, dates and hours, and it can only be used for that employment segment.

Do students have to pay for CPT?


Application Process

  1. Contact the TMCC International Academic Advisor to verify CPT eligibility.
    • Call 775-673-7062 to make an appointment.
  2. Visit the TMCC Career Center.
    • Visit the TMCC Career Center to get help in the job application process. The TMCC Career Center can assist you with job searching, interviewing, and writing a job cover letter and resume.
    • Attend a TMCC Career Center workshop.
    • Schedule an appointment with an Internship Coordinator to explore internship opportunities.
  3. Secure an offical job offer.
    • The job offer letter must be on business letterhead.
    • The letter must reference the following:
      • Exact start and end dates of employment
      • Number of work hours per week
      • Job title and description of job duties
      • Paid or unpaid employment
      • Employer’s signature
      • Employment address (Note: If the job will be at a location different from the employer’s address, the location of the employment must be included in the letter.)
    • View Sample Employment Offer Letter »
  4. Request a CPT recommendation letter from the TMCC International Academic Advisor.
    • Schedule an appointment with the TMCC International Academic Advisor.
    • Present your official job offer letter to the TMCC International Academic Advisor during the appointment.
    • Choose the appropriate CPT internship credit with the TMCC International Academic Advisor for the term that you will participate in CPT.
    • Allow for 5 working days to receive your CPT recommendation letter from the TMCC International Academic Advisor.
  5. Register for the CPT internship credit.
    • Register and pay for the CPT credit for the term that you will participate in CPT.
  6. Schedule an appointment with International Admissions to turn in your CPT application packet.
    • To schedule an appointment: email us or call 775-673-7042.
    • Complete CPT packet must include the following:
      • Completed CPT Request Form
      • CPT job offer letter
      • CPT recommendation letter from TMCC International Academic Advisor
      • Proof of registration for CPT internship credit
  7. Pick up your CPT I-20 from International Admissions, RDMT 319
    • Allow for 5 working days to receive your CPT I-20.
    • International Admissions staff will email you when your CPT I-20 is available for pickup in RDMT 319.
    • When picking up your CPT I-20, verify the employment information at the top of page 2 of your new I-20 before leaving.
  8. Be prepared to begin CPT work
    • Present your CPT I-20 to your employer.
    • The new CPT I-20 serves as proof of employment for your CPT work. Your employer will ask you to present additional documentation to verify your employment eligibility.
    • A Social Security Number (SSN) is required for employment in the U.S. If you do not have a Social Security Number yet, complete an International Letter Request and submit the completed form to International Admissions staff when you request a CPT I-20.

Important Reminders

  • You are only authorized to work during the start and end dates printed on page 2 of your CPT I-20.
  • You can only work the number of hours per week that your CPT job offer letter specified, which is reflected as part-time (maximum 20 hours per week) or full-time (more than 20 hours per week) on your CPT I-20.
  • For work extending beyond the CPT authorization on your I-20, you must complete a new CPT Request and receive authorization from International Admissions before continuing the CPT work.
  • View CPT Checklist »