Creating Opportunities

Developing Internship & Cooperative Education (CoOp) Programs

Internships and CoOps are formal, supervised learning experiences where students may apply knowledge and information acquired from their academic program of choice. These programs should incorporate clear objectives of what the student will learn. If you feel like you have opportunities that are reflective of any of the programs below, consult with UWF Career Services.

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.

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.

Are you a not-for profit organization? Consider promoting your volunteer and service opportunities.

Weighing the Benefits Between Internships and Cooperative Education

  • Both CoOps and Internships are intended to be learning experiences for the student; the intent should be to help students grow and develop in their career field and to connect their work to what they are learning in the classroom.
  • Internships work well for short-term projects, typically only taking about 4 months to complete.
  • A revolving internship requires the employer to re-train a new employee every 4 months.
  • The commitment for the student and the employer is shorter with internships.
  • CoOps work well for any organization looking to have an “intern” for longer than a semester.
  • CoOps do not require frequent re-training a new employee, as with internships. The student is gaining responsibilities semester by semester and she/he stays with the organization for at least 3 semesters.
  • Both CoOps and internships are great avenues for converting a student to full-time status, without the need to spend added recruitment costs with a CoOp/intern, you’ve already recruited and trained a potential full-time employee.

Promoting Volunteer Opportunities to Students

Allow students to engage in the community by serving at your nonprofit organization in a one-time or reoccurring event or through participating in a special project. Students often serve as volunteers in service learning or a field study, where they receive academic credit for completing a specified number of community service hours. They may also participate in community service through a student organization, student group or individually.

Consider engaging students in additional experiential programs like Cooperative Education (CoOp) and Internships.

If you are a nonprofit organization and have volunteer opportunities, post your positions using JasonQuest, our free job posting database. For more information, please contact Career Services at 850-474-2254 or