In the Fast Lane: Boosting Your Career through Cooperative Education and Internships

By Martinez, Amanda | Careers & Colleges, January-February 2006 | Go to article overview

In the Fast Lane: Boosting Your Career through Cooperative Education and Internships


Martinez, Amanda, Careers & Colleges


So maybe you've heard of cooperative education but aren't sure what it is. Or maybe you've been advised to find an internship but don't know where to look.

Read on--you've got questions and we've got the answers!

Just because you're in school doesn't mean you can't jumpstart your career. As you enter college, there are plenty of things you can do to propel yourself into a promising future--including cooperative education and internships. Geared toward high school and college students, both types of work programs provide unbeatable opportunities to develop your interests and test-drive your skills. Learning the basics is the first part of developing your roadmap to success.

A Crash Course on Co-op

Believe it or not, co-op has been around for about a century. Over the years, the usefulness and demand for co-op opportunities has grown so much that programs are offered through many colleges and universities from coast to coast--not to mention abroad. Today, co-op usually refers to a learning relationship between a student, school, and employer. In these programs, both school and employer monitor and evaluate a student's progress at a job related to the student's area of study. Co-op can be done for academic credit (or not) and is often salaried--sometimes quite well. In fact, students have been known to earn up to $15,000 a year!

According to the National Commission for Cooperative Education, the most common type of co-op program is the alternating pattern, in which a student rotates semesters of taking classes full time at a college or university with semesters of working full time in the "real world." There are other variations on co-op, too. In the parallel pattern, for example, students go to school for part of the day (say, the morning) and work for the rest of the day (such as in the afternoon or evening). Either way, though, most co-op programs are structured to allow students to graduate in as little as four-and-a-half to five years, all the while reaping the benefits of class and valuable work experiences.

So who does co-op, you might be wondering? According to a 2002 survey by the Cooperative Education and Internship Association, over 240,000 undergraduate students work co-op jobs in the United States each year. These students work with one of approximately 50,000 U.S. employers. Among these employers are ones as prestigious as Fortune 500 companies and as diverse as the people who work there. Examples of companies range from Harley Davidson to Gillette and from Johnson & Johnson to PeopleSoft. That's right--the limits are few.

The Scoop on Internships

Internships have many things in common with co-op programs: students work at a company for a set period of time in order to gain experience and insight useful for their future career, they can be done for credit or not, and there are an impressive variety of companies offering such programs. Like co-op, for-credit internships are also monitored by the student's college or university. In order to pass, employer evaluations are common--as is homework! Students often must write a paper, keep a journal, or maintain some other similar record of their learning experiences on the job.

There are, however, some differences from co-op. For instance, while internships are sometimes required or recommended as part of a degree program, there is no standard schedule for alternating terms of work and class like in co-op: you do one whenever you want.

Internships also range in duration--some run for as little as a week or two, while others go for as long as a summer or a semester. Plus, internships all require a different number of hours each week, some full time, some part time--which means they are flexible and convenient for your schedule. Pay varies as well. Many internships are unpaid, but some offer a stipend or a modest hourly wage, Unpaid programs usually require that you seek academic credit for your work, but if you're more interested in the cash than the course credit, keep your eyes open for paid opportunities--there are plenty out there. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

In the Fast Lane: Boosting Your Career through Cooperative Education and Internships
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.