and cooperative education programs (co-op) allow you to apply
skills and knowledge learned in the classroom to actual on-the-job
experience. Many employers offer these programs for students
to learn more about a particular career field, gain real-world
work experience, and possibly earn money to help finance their
These programs can help you figure out what you want to do
as well as what you don't want to do for a career. Most public
and private institutions have partnerships with companies
to employ their students. These programs are not based on
financial need and are available to undergraduate, graduate,
and professional students.
What is an Internship?
An internship is an academic program that offers students
practical work experience prior to graduation, usually in
their career field or other area. Internships vary in duration;
they can last from a month (or less) to two years (or more)
and may be part-time or full-time, and paid/unpaid employment.
Many internship are not paid, but some are. The organization
providing the internship determines whether or not an intern
will be compensated and at what rate.
Internships are usually limited to one work period (one summer,
semester, or quarter) with a given employer. They may be arranged
during the academic year or summer (summer internships are
very competitive). Students generally enroll in internships
after they complete their junior years.
What is a Cooperative Education Program?
A Cooperative Education Program (Co-Op) is an academic program
that offers students practical work experience in their field
of study and area of specialization prior to graduation. This
program allows students to alternate between periods of full-time
enrollment in school and full-time employment. As a participant
under this program, it usually takes students five years to
complete an undergraduate degree.
A co-op work term generally consists of full-time and paid
employment (typically 35-40 hours per week). The work terms
will be recorded on a student's transcript as a Pass, Fail
or Withdrawal. Some co-op course carries no credit weight
(and is therefore not included in the calculation of the grade
point average). However, a completed work term(s) count towards
the co-op’s certificate or degree. Work terms can also
extend over two back-to-back periods, providing up to 10 months
(i.e. 2 semesters) of continuous employment.
Reasons you should seek an internship or co-op program
Internships and co-op programs will help you get the experiences
you need to gain an edge in the job market, and possibly get
the job of your choice. Most students who have completed an
internship or co-op program believe that it has added a dimension
to their education that could not be acquired in the traditional
classroom environment. Many students without internships or
co-ops are at a competitive disadvantage, because more and
more employers are hiring students with career-related work
Additional reasons to apply are:
• You can test your career choice through real world
• You can identify your career paths.
• You can possibly earn money for college and personal
• You may receive college credit toward your graduation
• You can start to develop a network of professional
contacts within your career field.
• You can gain valuable work experience to highlight
on your resume and job applications.
• And more!
General Eligibility Requirements
Each internship and co-op program has different eligibility
requirements and benefits. More specific information for
each program can be obtained from your academic advisor,
internship coordinator, or career center.
General factors considered for acceptance
into one of these programs normally include:
• Attendance at an accredited college or university
on a full-time basis
• Completion of a minimum number of credit hours
• Minimum cumulative grade point average
• Enrollment at a specific school
• Completion of the Internship/Co-op Application
• Be in good university standing
• Interview with an internship/co-op coordinator
If you are accepted for internship or co-op, you will be assigned
a mentor. Your mentor will provide you with an introduction
and orientation to the organization and its activities. During
the internship or co-op, your mentor will serve as a guide
and supervisor in which there should be regular scheduled
meetings to discuss your projects and progress. You may be
required to submit monthly reports to your mentor. Through-out
the internship or co-op, your mentor will monitor and evaluate
your performance and progress on the job
At the middle and the end of the program, the mentor will
give you a final evaluation, which often includes a letter
of recommendation. If you arranged to earn college credit
for your participation in this program, you will receive
a pass or fail grade from your mentor.
Receiving academic credit
Whether you receive academic credit will depend on your
department and your major. If you expect to receive credit,
you will be required to do some extra assignments to document
your learning experience. Typical assignments are projects,
daily logs, informational interviewing, outside readings,
and written reports. Each department has a faculty member
who coordinates the department's internship programs.
The amount of credit will vary from department to department,
but most grant one to three hours of credit for a full semester
of full-time work. If you are granted college credit, you
will have to pay for the number of credit hours assigned to
Determining your career path
If you are interested in seeking and applying for an internship
or co-op, You should carefully explore each opportunity; the
best internship or co-op is the one that matches your interests.
Before searching for an internship or co-op position, you
should perform a self-assessment.
A self-assessment is the process of identifying and documenting
information about yourself in order to make an informed career
decision. This process involves analyzing your skills, interests,
personality, values, and academic and career goals to help
you determine what type of internship or co-op program to
pursue. You should also determine the location and working
It is important to know that internships and co-ops exist
in all employment sector and career fields.
four major employment sectors are:
Private sector employers consist of incorporated firms,
industries, law firms, manufacturers, and service-related
Public sector employers consist of civil service, military,
and other federal, state, county, and city government
Education/research sector employers consist of privately
funded or public schools, colleges, universities, vocational,
or research institutions.
Not-for-profit sector employers consist of hospitals,
foundations, service organizations, labor unions, and
research, religious, or non-government-funded organizations.
Employment opportunities in the aviation industry are based
on timing and networking. Networking with others in this industry,
as in any industry, is essential to finding a job and advancing
in your career. Remember, internships and co-ops offer you
the opportunity to network.
The most common aviation employers are:
• Aircraft Manufactures
• Government Agencies and Departments (i.e. FAA, NASA,
• State Aviation Departments or Commissions