Cooperative Education experiences and Internships are considered Experiential Learning Programs. They allow students to make informed career choices and to develop a sense of a specific position, work environment, industry, and company culture. They enable students to improve skills they already possess and develop new skills. Internships and Cooperative Education (CoOp) programs, along with volunteering, provide students with valuable hands-on experience. Upon graduation, students with these experiences are often more competitive when applying for full-time employment opportunities.
Encourage your student to be proactive in searching for an internship or CoOp experience, it will pay off! Students typically begin their internship and CoOp at the end of their sophomore year or at the beginning of their Junior year. Students can schedule an appointment to discuss their internship search or attend a CoOp Information Session to get started.
Cooperative Education: Cooperative education programs (CoOps) are multi-semester experiences that are always for course credit and always paid. Students may choose from two types of CoOps: parallel or alternating. A parallel CoOp student works and goes to school at least 3 semesters in a row, averaging 15-25 hours a week at work and 9-12 academic credits. An alternating CoOp student alternates between workplace and school semester by semester, working 40 hours a week during work terms and going to school full time during academic terms.
Internships: An internship is most often a one semester experience that may or may not be for course credit. It may also be paid or non-paid; however, non-paid internships should comply with the Fair Labor and Standards Act (FLSA). Paid internships must comply with minimum wage and overtime pay requirements under the FLSA. Hours per week are determined by employer and intern for both types of internships positions.