Curricular Practical Training

Curricular Practical Training

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is authorization for an international student to legally work off-campus at a temporary job to gain professional experience that is directly related to the student’s academic major.

CPT Employment can be part-time (20 hours per week or less) or full-time (more than 20 hours per week). It is authorized for a specific job and time period and is done during a student’s academic program (cannot be used post-graduation).

  • Must be a current F-1 student at North Seattle College.
  • CPT Employment must be a degree requirement.
  • Must enroll in an internship course for credit, even during an approved vacation quarter where enrollment is not required.
  • CPT Employment must be directly related to the student’s current NSC academic major listed on the I-20.
  • Must have been enrolled as a full-time students for at least three consecutive quarters at the college level at a US institution.
  • Must have a formal job offer letter.
  • Students who have completed their degree requirements cannot apply for CPT.
  1. A job offer letter that contains the following information:
    • The employer/company name
    • A specific start date (mm/dd/yyyy). The start date must be a future date from that date it will be approved.
    • A specific end date (mm/dd/yyyy).
    • A job title
    • A brief job description
    • A physical work site address where you will conduct your job
    • Number of hours to be worked per week
    • Letter must be signed by employer and on company’s letterhead
  2. CPT Recommendation Form completed by the student’s Department/Program Manager or Internship Coordinator.
  3. An I-20 that authorizes CPT. 

Employment cannot begin until the I-20 is issued by the International Programs Office.

The student’s Program Manager or Internship Coordinator completes the CPT Recommendation Form which verifies that:

  1. The employment is a required part of the student’s current academic major.
  2. The job offer letter is applicable to the student’s field of study.
  3. The student will complete a course for credit in a specified quarter.

International Programs plays the following role in CPT:

  1. Advises students and answers their questions about CPT.
  2. Authorizes CPT for eligible F-1 students.
  3. Issues an I-20 which authorizes CPT.
  1. Schedule an appointment with an International Programs Advisor by sending an email to At this meeting we will review CPT eligibility and the process to apply.
  2. After you’ve met with the International Programs Advisor, schedule a meeting with your Program Manager from your academic department and have them complete the online CPT Recommendation Form. Your Program Manager or Internship Coordinator will determine which internship course you will be enrolled in for the quarter(s) you will be authorized for CPT. When they submit the online form, it will be sent to International Programs automatically. Both you and your Program Manager or Internship Coordinator will be notified that the form has been received.
  3. Submit the CPT Request via the Student Portal and upload your job offer letter along with your request.
  4. Once we have received your completed CPT Request and the completed CPT Recommendation Form, we will process your request and issue a new I-20 containing the CPT authorization on the second page. We will email you once it is ready.
  5. Pick up your new I-20 from the front desk of International Programs.

What is the earliest start date I can use for my CPT authorization?

The earliest you may begin CPT is the day after the quarter before you enroll in your CPT course ends. For example, if your CPT is in Winter Quarter, you may begin CPT the day after Fall Quarter ends.

What is the latest end date I can use for my CPT authorization?

The latest day you can work is the day before the next quarter begins. For example, if your CPT is in Winter Quarter, you may work until the day before the Spring Quarter begins.

Can my CPT Authorization be extended for multiple quarters?

CPT authorizations are not automatically extended. If you wish to extend your CPT authorization period you must complete the same steps (job offer letter, recommendation form, new I-20). If there are any changes with the current CPT authorization not involving the dates of the CPT, please contact

What if I end my employment prior to my CPT authorization end date?

If you end your employment before your original CPT end date, you should provide our office with a letter from your employer stating the new employment end date.

Can I do CPT that is multiple quarters in length?

Yes, but you must be registered in an internship course for credit each quarter included in your CPT authorization.

Does CPT affect my available Optical Practical Training (OPT) in the future?

If you have been authorized for full-time CPT for a total of 12 full months (365 days), you will not be eligible for OPT.