Hero Image

Curricular and Optional Practical Trainings

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Any enrolled F-1 student whose program has a required "alternate work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum which is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school" may apply at International Student Services for legal authorization to participate. [see Code of Federal Regulations, 8:214.2(f)(10)(i)]

Sponsored employment is defined as "structured employment or training that is monitored by the school and obtained through the support" of Southern Adventist University.

Curricular Practical Training has the following general guidelines: 
  • An undergraduate student must have been in lawful F-1 status at least twelve consecutive months to be eligible to apply.
  • A graduate student must be in lawful F-1 status and are eligible to apply as soon as necessary for their program of study. 

  • Curricular Practical Training must be in the student's field of study and the student must be registered and earning academic credit towards their program of study for the training. 
  • Part-time Curricular Practical Training is only limited by a student's program requirements. However, if twelve months or more of full-time training accumulates, then the student is no longer eligible for the post-completion Optional Training benefit (work experience after completion of their course of study).

  • Part-time Curricular Practical Training employment is defined as 20 hours or less per week or 40 hours per two-week pay period. 
  • Full-time Curricular Practical Training employment is defined as greater than 20 hours but not more than 40 hours per week or not more than 80 hours per two-week pay period. 
Curricular Practical Training should not start until approved by a Designated School Official from International Student Services.

Access the Application Form

The Designated School Official (DSO), at the International Student Services Office, will review the documentation and determine eligibility. If the applicant is eligible, the DSO will authorize the Curricular Practical Training through the SEVIS website and generate a new I-20 form.

Please note that participation in any internship, clinical, or field practicum is not allowed until the international student has received proper Curricular Practical Training authorization (the updated I-20). Failure to obtain timely and proper authorization may be grounds for loss of F-1 status, Department of Homeland Security detention, and/or deportation.

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Optional Practical Training is one type of work permission available to eligible F-1 students. It allows you to get real-world experience related to your studies for up to 12 months. 


for at least one full academic year BE PHYSICALLY PRESENT IN THE UNITED STATES

at the time of application

in a job directly related to your major field of study

Apply up to 90 days before you complete your degree, but no later than 60 days after you complete your degree. 
December Graduates ⇒ Apply starting September
May Graduates ⇒ Apply starting February

To access the application, contact the International Student Services Office. 

  • You do not need to have a job in order to apply for OPT
  • You can only begin employment once you have the EAD (OPT card)
  • Your job must be directly related to your studies
  • Employment minimum of 20 hrs per week (paid or unpaid)
  • You can only accrue 90 days of unemployment within your (1) year of OPT
  • You may work as volunteer or intern

Keep in mind...

  • Application takes (1) hour to complete
  • I-765 application fee: $410
  • Estimated 3-5 months processing time