CPT OPT internship

HEB FAQs : CPT vs OPT – What is CPT, OPT and how does it concern you

Continuing with our frequently asked questions series, here is a small post on CPT and OPT and some common questions asked by MS aspirants regarding the jobs.


What is CPT?

While some of the funniest and ignorant questions I have encountered are comparison of CPT vs OPT, “which one is better for me”, “which one should I choose” and “which one pays the most” ,  I have also come across some sincere queries like what is CPT exactly and how does it fit in into the masters program.

  • CPT stands for Curriculum Practical Training, usually an optional training/internship.
  • CPT is one of the legal ways in which you can pursue an internship in the field of your study while residing in US.
  • As it is a curriculum training, it usually has a dedicated period in the Academic calendar and different universities offer it under different names such as Co-op, Summer internship etc. The only catch is, that CPT permit can be issued by the university for a period between 1 semester up to 364 Days (again, rules for this differ among universities)

What is OPT?

OPT on the other hand stands for “Optional practicum training”, and as the name suggest is purely optional for the students. As such, it is not included in the degree program and thus students may or may not pursue this internship after graduating, but who am I kidding, everyone wants to grad an opportunity to work and gain valuable experience in US (and some bucks may be?) after getting world class education.

  • Generally for international students, the OPT limit is 12 months for a general Masters course.
  • If your Course is STEM(Science Technology Engineering Medicine) accredited, you will get an opt extension and a total OPT period of 29 months!
  • The only catch is that you need to find an OPT job within 90 days of your graduation, otherwise you will be deemed out of status and sent back to your home country.
  • If you intend to stay longer than your OPT period, you will need to get your employer to file an H1B non-immigrant visa for you. But more on that later.


Hope this clears yours OPT vs CPT doubts, if you have more questions, shoot them in the comments below! :) and don’t forget to Subscribe !


2 thoughts on “HEB FAQs : CPT vs OPT – What is CPT, OPT and how does it concern you

  1. Can you please explain what exactly you meant by finding an “OPT Job”. Do you mean to say a job in the relevant field of study?

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