Work-based learning is the practice and application of classroom knowledge in a real-world setting or simulated environment under the supervision of an experienced professional. Some courses may also incorporate industry-based projects and simulations. 


Program Required Work-Based Learning

These are work-based learning experiences that are embedded within a program's curriculum and are a required element for program completion and graduation. Through these experiences, students earn college credit, gain valuable work experience and develop their employability skills.


Apprenticeship Training 

  • Programs are registered by the state
  • Students must apply and be accepted
  • These opportunities are managed by the organizations offering them
  • Students are paid; employers get tax breaks
  • Examples: Carpenters, Heavy Equipment Operating
  • Engineers, IBEW, Iron Workers, Plumbers, Sheet Metal
  • Workers, Stationary Operating Engineers, PA Early Education 


  • Health care-related
  • Provides preemployment experience in the field
  • Typically a defined number of days/hours/weeks
  • Normally required by the program
  • Requirements outlined by the department and clinical site 


  • Provides preemployment experience in the field
  • May be paid or unpaid (must be unpaid for ECD)
  • Course description must list the minimum number of hours required
  • Departments identify and manage practicum sites
  • Examples: Court Reporting, Criminal Justice, Dietetics, Early Education, ASL-English Interpreting, Social Work 

Cooperative Education 

  • Hands-on experience, applied knowledge
  • Usually full-time, paid positions
  • Offered with variable credit based on hours
  • May or may not be required for a given program
  • Specific criteria apply
  • Coordinated by the discipline departments or Workforce and Job Readiness 


  • The culminating course in a program
  • A work-based learning component may be included
  • May offer students the opportunity to analyze real-world problems facing companies and to present their solutions at the end of the semester
  • Part of program requirements 

Other Opportunities

  • Application of coursework to projects by students
  • Topics/problems identified by organizational partners
  • Science, engineering, health care, logistics, IS/data, environmental
  • Can be incorporated into other courses
  • May be a capstone course 


Optional Work-Based Learning

These work-based learning experiences are optional. Students may earn college credit while gaining valuable work experience.



  • Supervised, structured learning in a professional setting, paid or unpaid 
  • Typically requires a specific number of hours within a defined time frame 
  • Routine feedback from an experienced supervisor 
  • Microinternship: a short-term (weeks-long) experience related to a specific job or task 
  • Credit may be awarded within Allied 
  • Health programs 


  • Short-term shadowing experience
  • Helps students make connections with professionals
  • Paid or unpaid
  • Credit may be awarded within
  • Allied Health programs 



For information regarding program-specific opportunities, please contact your department head or program coordinator.
For information regarding internships and externships, please contact Career Services & Job Readiness at or 724.325.6771