J-1 student status allows you to remain in the U.S. for the duration of your full-time academic program. To maintain J-1 student status, Exchange Students pursuing a Master's degree must be enrolled full-time during each fall and spring semester of their program. J-1 student status permits you to work on-campus as a student employee and off-campus as part of academic training. You'll need to obtain permission from your J-1 sponsor prior to starting on-campus or off-campus employment.
The F-1 status allows a you to remain in the U.S. as long as you are a properly registered full-time student. F-1 student status permits you to work on-campus during your program of study. You may also be eligible for off-campus employment, Curricular Practical Training (CPT) or Optional Practical Training (OPT) during your program. To apply for an F-1 visa and to enter the U.S. as an F-1 student, you must obtain an I-20 Certificate of Eligibility Form from the Monterey Institute of International Studies.
CPT is meant to complement your degree program and not interrupt the progress of your degree. A student who applies for CPT must be able to show that they are enrolled full-time for the semester in which they are requesting work authorization. CPT approved during a semester will be approved for part-time (up to, but no more than, 20 hours/week) unless the CPT request is for the IPSS or DPMI course. For these two courses, CPT is approved full-time for the term in which they are taken.
No, CPT is meant to complement your degree program and not interrupt the progress of your degree. During CPT you must be enrolled in course units related to the CPT employment. During the academic year you still have to maintain your full-time enrollment status (i.e. 12 units per semester). During the summer you must show that you are enrolled full-time in the upcoming fall semester.