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Cooperative Education is an academic program in which students may gain professional work experience, directly related to their major fields of study, prior to graduation. This is accomplished by scheduling multiple terms of paid, full-time employment, alternating with semesters of full-time coursework.
In the College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology, Co-operative Education is an optional program that many students find beneficial for a number of reasons:
- Co-op provides an opportunity for progressive levels of responsibility and professional experience because of the commitment for repeated, alternating terms of work.
- Co-op participants earn competitive salaries. The reported salaries for CEAT Co-op students range from $2000 to over $4000 per month.
- Enrollment in the Co-op program maintains full-time student status when the student is away from campus. By maintaining full-time status, the student may retain health insurance coverage, scholarships and loans, and campus benefits such as access to student athletic tickets, etc.
- Cooperative Education enrollment earns 1 – 3 elective hours of academic credit per term of work, and is seen by many students as a way to strengthen their grade point. Some majors within CEAT may accept the upper division hours of Co-op as controlled electives.
- The typical Work/Study plan is configured with two terms of work back-to-back – Spring and Summer or Summer and Fall. The student returns to campus for one or more terms of full-time coursework, followed by an additional Summer term of Co-op.
And of course, the most obvious benefits include acquiring hands-on experience to integrate classroom learning and the workplace, while enhancing career opportunities.