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Office of International Services
Teachers College, Columbia University
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Office of International Services

F-1 Visa Employment > F-1 Practical Training: Introduction

F-1 Practical Training: Introduction

As you proceed in your program at Teachers College, or even after you complete your degree requirements, you may find it either necessary or helpful to gain relevant work experience to complement your studies. F-1 immigration regulations permit students to get paid, academically-relevant work experience and professional training through F-1 practical training.

There are two types of F-1 practical training: curricular practical training (CPT) and optional practical training (OPT).  While there are important differences between the two types of practical training, they share certain requirements.

  • Both CPT and OPT are designed to help F-1 students get relevant professional training in their fields of study. Employment not related to the field of study is not permitted under either category.
  • In order to be eligible, a student must be in valid F-1 student status and must have completed at least one academic year of full-time study prior to starting any employment (certain exceptions apply for CPT; please read the information on CPT for more details)
  • CPT and OPT are required for if the employment is paid, but they may be used in cases of unpaid internships or employment as well.

Please read through this web site for further information about both types of practical training, and contact the Office of International Services with your questions.

Office of International Services
Teachers College, Columbia University
Box 7, 525 W 120th Street
New York, New York 10027-6696
Phone: (212) 678-3939 ♦ ~ Fax: (212) 678-3990 ♦ Email: