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What is Cooperative Education?

Cooperative Education is a unique plan of education that integrates classroom study with planned and supervised career related work experience. You can participate in on or off campus and receive academic credit for your work experience.

The purpose of the program is to gain experience in your field, develop a professional network, strengthen your education and personal development and career preparation. Cooperative education builds your confidence and independence and can help you understand the demands and skills needed to perform in the dynamic work environment.

Co-op is available in programs such as:

  • Accounting
  • Art
  • Biology
  • Business
  • Computer Information Technology
  • Engineering and Science Technologies
  • Health and Physical Education
  • Homeland Security
  • Marketing
  • Theatre

Gain an Advantage with Cooperative Education

  • An opportunity to gain valuable work experience relevant to the major area of study.
  • An opportunity to formulate career goals and to develop confidence and maturity.
  • Exposure to employers who may hire you permanently upon completion of your degree.
  • An opportunity to work in laboratories or on equipment not available in the classroom.
  • Professional references to add to your portfolio.

How Does the Co-op Program Work?

The coordinator of cooperative education administers the program. The coordinator is responsible for assisting students to develop co-op employment opportunities and for referring qualified Students to fill positions posted by participating employers.

Once a student has secured a co-op position, the coordinator, the employer and the student meet to complete the training agreement that contains the following information:

  1. Work location
  2. Beginning and ending dates of work term
  3. Rate of pay
  4. Hours of work
  5. Job description 

What is Expected of the Student?

The student is expected to maintain good standards of performance and work relationships throughout the work period. Opportunities for learning will depend on the student's initiative and effort as well as the job environment. Any special problems arising on the job should be discussed with the student's employer, faculty advisor or the co-op coordinator.

In order to participate and enroll in cooperative education, the student must meet the following criteria:

  • Must have a GPA of 2.5 or higher
  • Completed 30 college credits with at least 12 credits in their major field.
  • The semester before graduation is preferred
  • Receive faculty approval
  • Secure clearances if they are needed
  • Follow established processes and complete required paperwork
  • Qualify for risk management coverage
 Once a student has a work site, s/he will register for academic credit earning 3 or 6 credits depending on the number of hours worked during a specified time period. The following formula is used to determine credit registration during the fall and spring semesters.

150 hours = 3 credits*
300 hours = 6 credits *
*During the summer term a student must work 120 hours for 3 credits and 240 hours for 6 credits.

Once the training agreement has been completed, the student meets with the faculty advisor to discuss the work assignment. The student will also contact the faculty advisor at mid-term for a progress review. At the end of the semester, the student will schedule a meeting between the faculty advisor and the employer.

The faculty advisor will award the student graded academic credit based on the employer's evaluation, completion and quality of any work assigned by the faculty advisor and completion of required hours on the worksite.

For more information about cooperative education, contact the Career Services office on the campus that is most convenient to you.