Day1CPT.Org News Blog

Breaking Barriers: H1B Alternatives for International Students in the US

H-1B visa is a nonimmigrant work visa that allows U.S. employers to hire foreign workers for specialty jobs that require a bachelor’s degree or equivalent. This often includes occupations in fields such as computer science, medicine, finance, and economics. USCIS will hold an H1B lottery every year to grant 80,000 foreign individuals the right to work in America. However, the application number is so much greater. In the fiscal year of 2023, only 26% of applicants successfully got an H1B visa.

With day 1 CPT, international students can participate in paid internships while studying at school

With day 1 CPT, international students can participate in paid internships while still studying at school

Given the situation, many F1 visa holders run out of their OPT and STEM OPT work authorization before they can get their hands on an H1B visa. Day 1 CPT becomes an increasingly popular alternative option for F1 students. It is a cost-effective way to ensure F1 students’ who just entered the professional field continue working in America legally.

Day 1 CPT universities allow students to work while studying and day 1 CPT courses are designed to integrate the real-world working experience with in-class teaching, which can give its students a head start in the job market.

By enrolling in a day 1 CPT program at accredited day 1 CPT universities, international students who wish to develop their career in America after finishing their first degree in the U.S. can:

1. Legally prolong the stay in the U.S. 

2. Learn new skills and get another degree 

3. Apply for CPT work authorization on day 1 

4. Acquiring internship experience by using CPT and becoming more favorable to potential employers

5. work for paid jobs to have income that can support themselves

Since these international students who lost in the H1B lottery had already been in the U.S. for more than a year, when they enrolled in a new graduate-level program, they can be exempt from the “enrolled in one academic year prior to using CPT” rule. Hence, day 1 CPT becomes possible. 

Day 1 CPT becomes a very popular alternative to H1B for international students

Day 1 CPT becomes a very popular alternative to H1B for international students

What kind of jobs can you do with day 1 CPT? 

With day 1 cpt, a student can get jobs on and off campus. Off-campus jobs are usually much better paid. Your job must be closely related to the major you chose at your day 1 CPT university. Therefore, generic jobs are not recommended and are unlikely to get authorized by your DSO. 

If you majored in CS, which is the most popular major among international students these days, you can work for tech companies in the U.S. by using day 1 CPT as long as you fulfill all the CPT requirements.

The most common situation is that international students use day 1 CPT to continue working for the same company that they were employed for while they were using their OPT. Most of the ICC (IT Consulting Companies) would accept CPT as a form of work authorization while helping their employees to apply for H1B.

How much can you earn while using day 1 CPT? 

It depends on whether you work part-time or full-time, as well as the company you work for. Most of our students are STEM students who work in the tech industry, holding positions ranging from interns to full-time employees. Salaries also vary from $25 per hour to $100,000 per year.

Day 1 CPT is simply a work authorization, and your salary level is determined by your own work abilities. However, participating in Day 1 CPT can give you an advantage in future employment. The main reason why international students struggle to find jobs after graduating from US universities is their lack of local work experience. Even with internship experience, your resume will look better than that of your peers.

Day 1 CPT & career development in the U.S.

Are you looking to stay in the U.S. for the long haul? Then, as an international student, you must learn more about day 1 CPT. This unique program allows you to gain valuable industry experience right from the first day of enrollment. Some programs even grant work authorization up to 30 days before the semester begins, giving you a head start in your career.

With Day 1 CPT, you can apply your learnings directly to your professional field, gaining hands-on experience while earning your degree. Work-study opportunities are available during the first semester or after completing the first year of classes. Discover how Day 1 CPT can benefit your education and career goals today.

Which Universities offer Day 1 CPT?

Most universities in America offer some form of CPT, though there are universities specially focused on making their program “work friendly”. They are less academic, more practical, and easier to get into. They are the ones known as day 1 CPT universities. Though it is not an official term, it essentialized the difference between these universities and others.

The most famous day 1 CPT universities on the west coast are Westcliff University, CiAM, Trine University, and Sofia University. The most popular day 1 CPT universities on the east coast are Monroe College, Harrisburg University, and New England College. You also have options down in the south, such as National Louis University and DBU.

It is very important that you make sure the university you chose is either regional or nationally accredited with a great record with USCIS. All universities we collaborate with are reliable and accredited. If you don’t know which day 1 CPT university or which day 1 CPT program/courses to choose, fill out the form here, and our expert will reach out to you and provide personalized recommendations.

Day 1 CPT Universities located in the most popular cities

To use day 1 CPT, ensure your job and your field of study are perfectly matched

Day 1 CPT Universities and their day 1 CPT requirements

All universities have their own Day 1 CPT requirements and students who choose to work in such programs must check specifically with the university they enroll in.

Below are some requirements of universities. 

 Harrisburg University Day 1 CPT

  • There are 3 semesters in a year for Day 1 CPT Programs at Harrisburg University: Fall, Spring, and Summer.
  • F-1 visa students are required to start a CPT internship on the first day of the first semester (Day 1 CPT full-time job).
  • You need to renew your CPT every year.
  • Enroll via and get a $600 scholarship right away.

Read more about day 1 CPT at Harrisburg University

Westcliff University Day 1 CPT

  • 3 semesters in a year for Day 1 CPT Programs at Westcliff University: Fall, Spring, and Summer.
  • For each semester, you need to register for at least 6 credits or classes.
  • Onsite frequency: once per semester
  • Enroll via, and you will be granted a $1000 scholarship

Tips: Westcliff University has one of the lowest RFE rates among all-day 1 CPT universities. It is highly recommended for international students who plan to stay in the U.S. for the long run.

Trine University Day 1 CPT

  • 3 semesters each year: Fall, Spring, and Summer.
  • You have to register for 2 courses/6 units every semester.
  • Onsite requirement: once per semester
  • Enroll via and get a $600 deduction on tuition provides students the opportunity to gain practical job experience and participate in paid jobs during their studies in America.

Interested in attending day 1 CPT universities? Contact by filling out the form below to learn how to get started.

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