Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
CPT is an off-campus employment option, authorized by the SUNY Plattsburgh International Student Advisor (ISA) in the Global Education Office (GEO). It is available to F-1 students for the purpose of gaining work experience that is both a) integral to, and b) directly related to the student’s field of study. CPT work opportunities can be:
- Paid or unpaid
- Practicums or clinical trainings
- Required or not required for degree requirements
- During the semester, students may only work part-time (20 hours per week or less)
- During official school breaks, students may work part time or full-time (more than 20 hours per week)
The work opportunity must be tied to academic course credit (Hospitality Management majors are an exception). You must have prior authorization for CPT (this means that you have the new CPT I-20 in hand) before you begin working. The United States government takes illegal employment very seriously. If the ISA becomes aware of illegal employment, he or she is required by law to “terminate” a student’s SEVIS record and this places the student in unlawful visa status.
In order to be eligible to participate in CPT, you must have:
- Maintained full-time enrollment for at least one academic year (two consecutive semesters).
- A job offer related to your major and corresponding course credit, unless you are in the HRT degree program.
Note: HRT majors still need CPT authorization before beginning work off-campus! However, you do not need to be registered for course credit for the work because off-campus training is part of your degree requirements.
CPT Hours and Limitations
Please keep these additional rules in mind:
- You are not permitted to work until you have received an I-20 authorizing specific CPT dates.
- CPT is approved for a specific employer for a specific time period
- You may not change employers or extend training without prior permission from the ISA.
- Participating in CPT does not affect your eligibility for Optional Practical Training (OPT), unless you have completed 12 months of full-time CPT.
- Students may use CPT at any time during the year after completing 2 academic semesters and prior to graduation.
To apply for CPT, you will need to submit these 2 documents to the Global Education Office (GEO) for processing of the CPT I-20:
- Completed Curricular Practical Training Form with academic advisor's recommendation and signature
- Offer Letter from your employer (IMPORTANT: This letter must contain specific details. Please read below for the requirements of this letter.)
Employer Offer Letter Requirements
Before you ask your employer to write your offer letter, please be sure you understand what it must contain. You may wish to share this with your employer ahead of time in order to avoid the unpleasant task of having to ask them to do it all over again. It may be helpful to review a sample letter as you consider the following requirements:
- Letter must be on official company letterhead
- Letter must include all of the following information:
- Title of the position
- Starting date of the position
- Ending date of the position
- Number of hours to be worked each week
- A brief description of job duties
F-1 and J-1 students who have been in the U.S. in this status for 5 years or less (2010 or later), and J-1 scholars in the U.S. in this status for 2 years or less (2013 or later) who have been employed on campus and/or off campus are exempt from Social Security and Medicare Tax. Your employer should not be withholding those taxes from your paycheck. More information regarding “Non-resident Aliens” and taxes is available from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS). If you or your employer have any questions or need assistance with CPT, please contact Amelia Lushia in the GEO Office.