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Practical Training

Practical training provides international students with off-campus employment authorization in their major field of study.

You become eligible for practical training if you have been enrolled full-time for at least 9 months and are in F-1 status at the time you apply for practical training.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is work authorization which allows an international student to gain practical experience off campus in their field of study usually in the form of an internship, co-op education, or practicum in fulfillment of degree requirements prior to graduation.

CPT cannot be authorized unless you have a degree requirement making it necessary to work off campus.

CPT Eligibility

To be eligible for CPT, you must:

If you would like to get more information about CPT before applying, please schedule an appointment with your IPO advisor.

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is employment authorization in your field of study for up to 12 months following completion of your degree or following completion of your course work if you are a graduate student with only thesis or dissertation remaining.

OPT Eligibility

To be eligible for OPT, you must:

  • Have been enrolled full time for 9 consecutive months (2 semesters)
  • Be in valid F-1 status
  • Have completed:
    • your degree program (undergraduate students); OR
    • your course work (graduate students with only thesis or dissertation remaining)
  • Download the OPT Application Checklist (PDF) and gather all required documents
  • Meet with your IPO advisor

If you would like to get more information about OPT before applying, please schedule an appointment with your IPO advisor.

OPT Reporting

International students on post-completion OPT or on an OPT STEM extension continue to have reporting requirements through Idaho State University in order to maintain status. Following are the reporting requirements as prescribed by the International Programs Office.

Updating Address and Employment:

You must notify ISU of employment changes and address changes within 10 days during your OPT period, per SEVP requirements.

Students on a STEM extension are required to report their employment status to ISU every 6 months regardless of whether anything has changed. This is done by submitting a STEM Extension 6 Month Report.

Address changes submitted through BengalWeb while on post-completion OPT or on a STEM Extension will not be submitted to SEVIS!

To report a change of address, change in your employment or a STEM Extension 6-month report, please click on the appropriate link below:

OPT Workshops

Students are required to attend an OPT workshop prior to applying for OPT. The workshops are offered several days each semester, usually in March and October.

The PowerPoint OPT Workshop Presentation from the last workshop held is available for download for information purposes (this is not a substitute for attendance).