ttu logo

tennessee technological university

Career Services

What is COOPERATIVE Education (aka Co-op)?

Cooperative education is a form of experiential learning that integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application and skills development in a professional setting. Co-op is a voluntary, independent education program available for all undergraduate and graduate students in any academic area. Students have the opportunity to gain valuable applied experience and make connections in professional fields they are considering for career paths. The cooperative education program provides careful supervision with timely evaluation of performance, attitude, and ability of the student on the job. The goal is to help students improve their capabilities and prepare them to be successful in the workplace.

How are co-ops different from internships?

A co-op position:

  • Is always paid.
  • Usually involves multiple semesters.
  • Always gives a student one hour of add-on credit each semester the student is out on co-op assignment. This credit hour does not count toward graduation requirements but does keep the student enrolled at Tennessee Tech while out on assignment. The student's experience must be related to the student's major of study and future career goals. Future co-op terms must build on experience gained from the first term with increased responsibilities and increase opportunity for learning.
  • May involve different scheduling plans.
    • Plan A - Student works full-time for an employer for 12 months
    • Plan B - Student works alternate semesters at the employer's site (work, return to school, work, etc.)
    • Plan C - Student will attend college and work approximately 20 hours per week for the employer
    • Plan D - Summer only assignment (two or more summers)

An internship:

  • May be paid or unpaid.
  • Involves only one semester of work (usually 120 days or less).
  • May involve academic credit obtained through a student's academic department.

The Career Services office is not an academic department and, therefore, does not grant academic credit for any internships. The Career Services Office's primary role is the posting of internship opportunities to the TechWorks online resume and job database.

Who is Eligible to Participate in the COOPERATIVE Education Program?

Students must meet the following requirements:

  • Have a minimum 2.5 overall GPA (must be maintained while in the program) and at least sophomore status
  • Complete co-op orientation through the Career Services office and enroll in the appropriate co-op course each semester they are out on assignment (including summers). Each course provides one hour of add-on credit and does not count toward graduation requirements.
  • Complete one semester at TTU prior to completing a co-op application.
  • Transfer students from another college or university must complete two full semesters at TTU prior to beginning a co-op assignment.

How can the COOPERATIVE Education program benefit your organization?

  • Reduction in cost of recruitment and training personnel
  • Selection and education of quality students who could become permanent employees
  • Observation and evaluation of students' on-the-job performance before the possibility of offering permanent employment
  • Elimination and/or reduction of time needed to train new graduates
  • Retention rate is higher among co-op students who become permanent employees

To become a co-op employer, register for a FREE TechWorks account, complete the Co-op Employer Information form and fax to (931) 372-6154, or e-mail the form to Ashley Kabakci.