CPT Frequently Asked QuestionsCurricular Practical Training (CPT) allows students in research and internship courses to gain paid work experience outside the classroom. To be eligible for CPT, you must be enrolled for at least one academic year at A&M-Commerce (fall/spring) See below for more information.
- Authorization must be granted by an international student advisor PRIOR to starting employment. Students may not begin employment until they have been authorized by an international student advisor. Permission from your academic advisor/professor is not enough to begin employment.
- CPT employment is authorized on the last page of the I-20. You are only allowed to work at the company listed on this page and for the dates listed on this page.
- Because CPT employment is directly connected to a specific course you must be enrolled in a course for the CPT.
- CPT employment can be full or part-time, but you must continue to enroll in a full course of study during the fall and spring semesters (unless it is your last semester).
- You cannot hold both a CPT position and on-campus employment at the same time.
- CPT employment is only authorized for the dates of the course you are enrolled for the CPT. CPT cannot be extended into a non-registered semester.
- The start/end date on the letter from your instructor, the job offer letter, and for the academic course must be the same. Your employment start date must be the day of or a date after your CPT appointment. If your employment start date on your documents is a date prior to your CPT appointment you will be denied.
Who is eligible for CPT? Students who are in good academic standing with A&M-Commerce, in legal status with USCIS, and who have been enrolled on a full-time basis for at least one full academic year (fall/spring) at A&M-Commerce.
Do I have to be enrolled in an academic course to be approved for CPT? Yes. CPT is directly connected to an academic course (internship, project course) within a student’s academic program. The ISSO will not authorize any CPT unless the student is enrolled in an academic course connected to the CPT. The CPT course must be a face to face or web enhanced "E" course.
Do I have to be enrolled in a full course of study while on CPT? During the fall and spring semesters you will be required to meet the full course of study requirement so this may limit the location of your CPT. The only exception is students who are in their last semester before graduation. During the summer semester you may only enroll in the CPT academic course.
Can I enroll in a course outside of my degree plan for CPT? No. The CPT course you enroll in must be an integral part of your academic/degree program.
What is the difference between CPT and OPT? CPT employment may be used while you are in your academic program but cannot be used after you graduate. OPT employment is used after you graduate
and may last from 12-months up to 29-months (for certain STEM majors). CPT is approved by an international advisor at the ISSO and OPT must be approved by an international advisor at the ISSO and USCIS.
Will my CPT authorization have any impact on my OPT? CPT has NO impact on any future OPT authorization unless you use more than 12 months or more of FULL-TIME CPT. The international advisors at A&M-Commerce will do their best to monitor this but it is the student’s responsibility to ensure they do not exceed 12 months of full-time CPT.
Can I have on-campus employment and CPT employment at the same time? No. Students are not permitted to have both on-campus (student worker, assistantships) and off-campus employment (CPT).
Where do I begin with CPT? Since CPT is directly related to an academic course in a student’s academic major, it is best to begin your pursuit of CPT in your academic department. Students will need to ask their professor/academic department if it is possible for them to pursue some off-campus practical training employment in relation to a specific course in their academic major. Students in College of Business can visit the CBE Advising Center in BA 314, call 903-468-3197, or visit with their academic department/advisor for more information. Computer Science students may contact Sang.Suh@tamuc.edu or Daniel.Creider@tamuc.edu for more information. All other majors are encouraged to visit with their academic department/advisor to discuss their options. Approval begins in the academic department and is finalized at the ISSO. The ISSO will not approve CPT without the approval of the academic department.
What if I quit my CPT employment or decide to change employers? CPT employment is specific to the dates and the employer you are allowed to work for. If there are any changes to your CPT employment (i.e. you quit, are terminated, go from full-time to part-time) you must notify the ISSO immediately. If you want to change employers during your CPT you must go through the application process again before you may start the new employment.
How do I apply for CPT? Click here for the application process. Once you have completed all steps and all documents have been signed with the appropriate signatures you will need to call the ISSO at 903-886-5097 at least one day in advance to schedule an appointment. Please do not call and expect an appointment on the same day. Students must attend their CPT appointment in person. No exceptions