Cooperative Education FAQs
What is Cooperative Education (co-op)?
Co-op is a paid employment experience integrating academic studies with learning through productive work experiences in a field related to the student’s academic or career goals. Participants must register into and pay the tuition for a co-op course. Financial aid may be used to pay the course tuition costs.
Does a student need to be in a specific major to be part of the co-op program?
Students may participate in a co-op in a variety of disciplines and programs including, but not limited to: Business Administration, Engineering, Information Technology, Hospitality Management, and Creative Arts. Even if you are in a different major you may still be eligible for a co-op. Check with the Career Center at your campus.
How many credit hours can be earned in the co-op program?
Students can earn up to 3 credit hours in a semester; a maximum of 9 semester credits may be earned in co-op.
What are the qualifications for the co-op program?
Students must submit a co-op application to the Career Centers; a minimum of 2.75 cumulative GPA; successfully complete at least two courses in the discipline related to the co-op experience; successfully complete 3 career related workshops and have an approved resume; register and pay for a co-op course.
Are students graded in the co-op experience?
Typically a letter grade is assigned.
Is placement guaranteed?
Tri-C staff will make every reasonable effort to place qualified students into cooperative field experiences; the final hiring decision, however, is made by the hiring employer, and therefore placement is not guaranteed.
If a student’s GPA falls below 2.75 while working on a co-op assignment can that student remain in the program?
You will be allowed to complete the co-op during that semester, but you will not be eligible for any additional co-op opportunities until your GPA improves to at least 2.75.
If a student is currently employed in a field related to their major and that student meets the required co-op requirements, can that opportunity count as a co-op field experience?
When such a situation occurs, students must communicate that information to their co-op coach, who will then make arrangements for that position to be evaluated, and a determination will be made as to its suitability for the program.
What's the difference between co-op and Internship?
Internships are typically unpaid, non-credit opportunities that allow a student to “try out” a career path before deciding on (or changing) a major. Co-op is an academic program that augments classroom learning with paid hands-on experience in the workplace. You will earn college credit in a co-op because you must enroll in the co-op course section
Can transfer credit count towards meeting the co-op requirements?
If the college has accepted a course as transfer credit into the institution then it can be counted towards the credit requirement in your major.
Will I get paid for the work I do in my co-op?
Yes, co-op students must be paid at least minimum wage for the work they do. Typical compensation is $10-$12 per hour but the actual compensation will depend on the employer. Co-op students are not eligible for benefits from the employer, and cannot qualify for unemployment benefits at the conclusion of the co-op experience.