Cooperative Education and Internships
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.
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.
Coops provide part-time work in a student’s area of study while the student is enrolled in the college. Like an internship, a coop program is designed to benefit both students and employers. Unlike the internship, a coop program is designed to be a longer term relationship.
Academic credit is not earned, and no faculty are assigned to the student. Rather, the student is considered to be a regular part-time employee of the company/agency.
Clinical experience is key component in some programs. Students apply theory learned in the classroom, to practice in several clinical settings for “hands on” experience.
Settings for these experiences vary, offering students the opportunity to develop knowledge and skills in areas involving many populations across the lifespan, at medical and/or educational facilities.