What is Cooperative Education?

Cooperative education is a structured method of combining classroom education and practical work experience. At ACC, cooperative education is defined as employment placement for course credit.

Examples at ACC include internship classes, practicums, capstone courses with external placement, independent study courses with external placement, leadership classes, and Health Science clinicals.

What is an Internship?

Internships are carefully designed and monitored educational experiences that provide students the opportunity to integrate academic knowledge with practical work experience in a professional setting. They are supervised, mentored, and evaluated experiences that help students test interests, develop new skills, and learn first-hand about the workplace in their field of study.

Internships are designed to benefit both students and employers. Students receive real world experience in positions related to their academic major and career goals while employers benefit from their skills and assistance. Employers recruit students to work on special projects, assist with daily tasks, or provide support during times of higher demand. Students earn academic credit, pay, or in some instances, both for the work they provide to their employer.

An important element that distinguishes internships from short-term jobs is the intentional “learning agenda” structured into each experience. Students have specific learning objectives and supervisors serve as mentors, providing opportunities to meet the objectives as part of or in addition to the specific duties of the internship.

An Internship is NOT…

  • Free administrative labor

  • Free or inexpensive solution to a full-time position vacancy

  • A “go-for”, data entry clerk or menial work unrelated to a collegiate, academic program.