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Work Experience for Academic Credit

 Gain relevant experience      Earn academic credit      Clarify career goals

Cooperative Work Experience (Co-op) is an educational program that combines classroom learning with supervised practical work experience.  Students who are enrolled in a co-op course earn three credit hours toward an Associate of Applied Science degree or eligible Professional Certificate.  Some workforce programs require students to complete a Cooperative Work Experience; for others, the co-op is optional.

Co-ops are made possible by a strong partnership between the student, employer, and Collin College.  Job search assistance is available to students, or you may use your existing, relevant employment for co-op credit; however, the position and employer must first be approved by a Workforce Program Career Coach or Faculty member.        

Co-op eligibility checklist:

  • Have completed at least one semester at Collin College and are currently enrolled
  • Declared major in degree plan or certificate program that lists co-op as a required course (or suggested elective)
  • Overall GPA of 2.5 or better
  • Taking co-op at appropriate point in degree plan sequence

Course requirements:

  • Work 320 total hours in 16 weeks (summer varies)
  • Prepare and execute five competency-based goals while on the job
  • Attend 16 hours of professional development seminars and complete evaluation forms
  • Submit three- to five-page reflection paper
  • Participate in two on-site meetings with your supervisor and faculty advisor

Getting started:

  • Schedule an appointment with your career coach to confirm eligibility and begin the co-op process. Please allow plenty of time prior to the start of the semester as it may take several weeks to verify eligibility and initiate enrollment. 
  • Attend a Co-op Workshop (Wednesdays at noon in H142 at the Preston Ridge Campus in Frisco) and get answers to those FAQs.
An internship provides practical experience in your degree program, but it does not have an academic component and you do not receive course credit for working.  Nonetheless, the experience is invaluable and any kind of industry exposure should be pursued during your education.  NOTE: Internships are arranged by the student and the employer independently.  Collin College promotes paid internships, co-ops, part- and full-time employment on Cougar Student Jobs.

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Thank you for your interest in partnering with Collin College to help our students gain relevant work experience.  You're in good company!  Former co-op hosts include:  JCPenney, Marriott Hotels, Country Wide Loans, STMicroelectronics, Fossil Studios, Texas Instruments, Holiday Inns, AMS Production Group, Renaissance, Sodexho, Airbus, and Ruth Chris Steak House.

Employers benefits:

  • Profit from fresh ideas, eager learners
  • Reduce hiring and training costs
  • Increase employee retention
  • Identify future talent
  • Mold effective employees, your way
  • No fees/pre-screening to job qualifications


  • Become a partner-in-training with faculty and students
  • Guarantee 320 work hours over a 16 week semester (summer semester varies)
  • Provide training environment with designated supervisor/mentor
  • Validate work hours and complete student's performance review
  • Host two informal faculty on-site visits

How to participate:

Let us know of your interest in working with a co-op student by completing the Employer Request Form (below) and sending it to  We are eager to help you meet your production schedule and staffing needs. Please post all employment opportunities -- co-ops, internships, part-time and full-time positions -- on Cougar Student Jobs. We look forward to working with you!

Employer Request for Co-op Student