Difference Between OPT and CPT for International Students

difference between opt and cpt, cpt vs opt, Optional Practical Training, Curricular Practical Training

There is a good percentage of international students studying in the USA.  OPT and CPT are the types of work authorizations given to International students to work in the US. These F1 visa work options are a great support for the students to gain practical experience. Let’s read about what is OPT and CPT and the Differences between CPT vs OPT.

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is temporary employment period for students with F-1 status and the work is directly related to an F-1 student’s major area of study. Eligible students can apply for a 12 month OPT employment before completing their degree (pre-completion) and/or after completing the degree (post-completion).

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is temporary work authorization for practical training directly related to your major field of study—paid or unpaid. “Practical training” can include Employment, Internship experience (paid or unpaid) Cooperative (co-op) education experience.

OPT and CPT are work authorization provided to F1 students in the USA. However, there are some differences between OPT and CPT, which an F1 visa student must know before getting started.

The major difference between OPT and CPT is the time or hours provided to work in which you are eligible for these programs. CPT must be used before graduation completes while OPT can be used to work both before after degree completion. CPT must relate your major or can contribute you course credit and allows students to work in a paid or unpaid internship, practicum, or cooperative (co-op) education program. OPT is not employer specific and allows to work, not an internship or co-op, and you do not need to earn course credit.

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Many international students get confused between OPT and CPT. To solve this misconception in their mind, below mentioned are the Difference between OPT and CPT which will clarify the clear meaning of each term. The difference mentioned will clearly distinguish the terms and help students know the benefits of each.

Difference between Optional Practical Training (OPT) and Curricular Practical Training

Difference between Optional Practical Training (OPT) and Curricular Practical Training (CPT), CPT vs OPT :

OPT is a 12-month work authorization provided to international students related to their field of study. International students have the benefit of working on CPT which has to be directly related to their core subjects.
OPT can be completed before or after graduation. CPT must be completed before graduation.
To be eligible for the OPT; the students must be pursuing the studies for minimum one year. After the completion of the full OPT period, the students are not eligible to apply for the CPT.
In order to receive OPT authorization, students do not require any employment or job offer. While applying for CPT Jobs in USA students require a job or an employment offer.
OPT has two parts. The pre-completion OPT is the job done while the student is studying and the post-completion opt is the OPT work authorization after completing graduation. CPT is a total of 12 months and it can be either full-time or part-time.
OPT students need not work continuously for the 12 months, they can work in breaks and stops. There is also a possibility of the extension of the OPT period. CPT requires students to work for the 12 months but once they have used the full CPT period, you lose your eligibility for OPT.
The OPT work can be part-time as well as full time for the eligible students. The work can be done part-time as well as full time for the CPT students.
The OPT Work the student’s employment experience must be related to their field of graduation but not necessarily the academic curriculum and you do not need to earn course credit. To work for CPT, the employer has to have a direct effect on employment. CPT must be required by your major and if it is not, CPT work must receive course credit and would directly affect the curricular credit of the student.
Students on OPT have the freedom to work with any employer. They can work with any company across the USA. A student who is on CPT is not allowed with every employer but under only those who are on SEVP.
OPT is not employer specific and allows work, not an internship or co-op. CPT is part of your major that allows students to work in a paid or unpaid internship, practicum, or cooperative (co-op) education program.

We have differentiated as well as explained CPT and OPT work authorizations in detail and your doubts about the two of these must have been cleared by now. It is actually essential to understand what these programs are all about and how they are different so that you are able to understand your journey ahead as far as doing a job in US is considered.

The student might now be interested in finding OPT jobs in USA. OPT and CPT both are good career opportunities for international students in the USA.

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