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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 declared a major and are working toward a workforce degree or certificate
  • Have completed at least one long semester at Collin College and are currently enrolled in at least one three credit course
  • Major is in AAS degree or certificate program that lists co-op as a required course (or suggested elective)
  • Overall GPA is 2.5 or better
  • At appropriate point in degree plan sequence (typically the semester prior to graduation)
  • Have secured a position (paid or volunteer) that relates to your college major
  • International students must meet additional requirements; see the appropriate career coach for details

Course requirements:

  • Work and document 320 total hours during over course of semester (16 weeks during long semester and 10 weeks over the summer)
  • Prepare and execute five competency-based goals while on the job
  • Attend 16 hours of professional development seminars and complete evaluation forms
  • Submit a three- to five-page reflection paper
  • Coordinate and 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. 

An internship provides practical experience in your degree program, but it does not have an academic component and you do not receive course credit.  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.

To meet your Career Coach visit this page.