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Counseling and Advising Center

Supporting Student Achievement

Counseling & Advising Center

Supporting Student Achievement

Counseling & Advising Center

Supporting Student Achievement
Counseling & Advising Center


Joe Amaral (he/him/his)
Co-op Educational Coordinator
Lewis Hall 114-B, Mount Vernon Campus
[email protected]

Whidbey Island students who prefer a face-to-face meeting may ask for a meeting to take place at the Whidbey Island Campus.

Cooperative Education – Work Based Learning

Cooperative Education (Co-op Ed) helps you apply classroom knowledge and theory to practical work situations via a paid or volunteer employment position that is related to your classroom study, educational, and career goals. The Cooperative Education program is a requirement for all students who earn an Associate in Technical Arts Degree.

Value for Students

Student benefits from a good Cooperative Education experience:

  • Enhances classroom learning by integrating academic curriculum and real world occupational experience.
  • Confirms or redirects students’ career decision-making through on-the-job experience in a chosen field.
  • Improves job opportunities by giving students valuable work experience and contact with potential future employers.
  • Teaches valuable job-search skills such as career assessment, resume writing and interviewing techniques.
  • Encourages completion of college for all students – from top performers to traditionally non-college bound students – by linking school to work and by providing networking links to future careers.

Value for Employers

A Cooperative Education intern at your business can benefit you by:

  • Providing an excellent pool of well-prepared employees.
  • Improving your hiring process by using actual on-the-job performance as a basis for permanent hiring decisions.
  • Increasing the cost-effectiveness of recruitment and training. Employers can save costs to identify and train personnel.
  • Improving workforce diversity through access to minority students for permanent employment.
  • Enhancing human resource flexibility with effective short-term employees.
  • Strengthening company relations with colleges and students.

Finding Your Internship

Cooperative Education students must find their own work placements.

Since finding your job site is your responsibility, begin the process as early as possible and keep accurate lists of contacts, references and referrals. And share them with your fellow students by networking effectively!

  • Talk to faculty: They have many contacts in the business community and can often provide you with great ideas and suggestions to find a place to work.
  • Find a company you’d like to work for: Check the yellow pages and ask other students, friends or associates to suggest good places for you to learn your trade. Once you find an organization you’d like to work for, contact them for an informational interview. Tell them you are a college student looking for a chance to demonstrate and fine tune some classroom skills in a real world work setting. Ask for an interview to discuss how you might be able to work as an intern, exchanging your skills and knowledge to help their business for college credits needed to complete your degree or certificate.
  • Talk to the Cooperative Education Coordinator: They can provide you with help in your job search techniques, offer advice and possibly refer you to businesses seeking interns in your career area.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Get Started?

To complete your Cooperative Education class requirement, you must:

  • Get permission from your Faculty Chair or sponsor;
  • Determine the number of credits you’ll need (Your academic or faculty advisor can help you.);
  • Contact the Co-op Ed Coordinator for an Access Entry Code to register for the class;
  • Register for the appropriate class. Ensure the desired number of credits is selected;
  • Complete the Online Orientation or schedule an appointment with the Co-op Ed Coordinator;
  • Find a suitable paid or unpaid internship placement on or off campus;
  • Complete a Learning Contract with the employer and turn it in to the Co-op Ed Coordinator;
  • Create and submit your Learning Objectives for the quarter;
  • Begin working for your Co-op Ed employer and perform well;
  • Complete the reflective writing component(s) of your Co-op Ed experience;
  • Complete and turn in all necessary forms and assignments by the published due dates.

These steps apply to the following professional/technical program majors: AT 199, BMT-199, CAHM 199, CIS 199, CJ-199, DSL 199, ECE-199, ENVC 199, ET-199, HFT-199, MIT-199, MT-199, OFTEC 199, WT 199, etc.

FIRE, HSERV, & PARLG students should consult with their respective faculty about their Cooperative Education requirements.

ECE-199 students will turn in their assignments to the ECE Department for grading.

Whidbey Island students may contact the MV Co-op Ed Coordinator for additional guidance.

How Many Credits Do I Need?
That varies according to the program and what is required for your degree or certificate. You should speak with an academic advisor if you are unsure how many credits you need to achieve your educational goal. Sometimes in the Summer Quarter students may increase the number of credits of Cooperative Education when other classes are not offered and they need to carry a minimum number of credits to maintain their student status. You faculty or academic advisor can help you determine how many credits you need for your program.
How Many Hours Do I Need to Work?
The general requirement is 50 work hours per credit for Cooperative Education. These hours can be obtained at the selected work site or can be reduced by participating in the Weekly Online Discussion Board.

Most students have two credit options for fulfilling Co-op Ed requirements:

  • 30 hours of work per credit WITH participation in the online Weekly Discussion Board. (CIS students see below.)
  • 50 hours of work per credit WITHOUT the online Weekly Discussion.

30 Hours/Credit Option: One credit is awarded for every 30 hours of work during the academic quarter. For example, a student taking a three-credit Co-op199 class must work 90 hours over a 10-week academic quarter. That averages to nine work hours per week. Students choosing this option must also participate in the online Weekly Discussion Board facilitated by the Co-op Ed Coordinator via Moodle.

50 Hours/Credit Option: One credit is awarded for every 50 hours of work during the academic quarter. For example, a student taking a three-credit Co-op 199 class must work 150 hours over a 10-week quarter. That averages to 15 work hours per week. Students choosing this option are not required to participate in the weekly discussion. Instead, they will submit a mid-term paper about their work experience.

Because of the intense technical nature of computer information systems, CIS-199 students are asked to complete 50 hours of work for each credit but may still choose between the mid-term paper and the online Weekly Discussion Board.

How Do I Find a Good Cooperative Education Work Site?

Students are responsible for finding the workplace where they will complete their internship. It is useful to begin looking before you HAVE to complete this class. If you are having difficulties finding a suitable job site, begin by speaking with your Department Chair or instructors. Many Professional/Technical instructors maintain relationships with local employers. If you still have trouble, you may ask the Cooperative Education Coordinator if he has received any requests from local businesses for interns. Finding your internship uses the same skills you’ll need to find a paying job so be sure to visit the Career Services Team to build and boost your job search skills.

Can I use my current paying job as my Cooperative Education experience?

Yes. If you can show how your current job duties relate to your major and if you can develop Learning Objectives that force you to step outside of your normal range of duties and comfort zone. We want you to show the application of your skills and knowledge.

When Should I Do My Cooperative Education Internship?

Most students complete Cooperative Education in their second year of study, or at least after a few quarters. Check with your faculty advisor to ensure you have received enough training to be able to demonstrate your skills properly in a work setting before beginning your Co-op Ed experience. When you have your faculty’s approval, you may register for Cooperative Education as soon as registration begins for the next quarter. You may register on-line but that requires an Access Entry Code that can be obtained from your faculty advisor or the Co-op Ed Coordinator.

How Can I Get More Information About the 199 Class?

Get yourself a copy of the current Course Syllabus by clicking the Syllabus and Forms link located on the left side of this page. You may also want to complete a orientation by clicking the Cooperative Ed Orientation link. If this is your first time in a 199 class, you must either complete the online orientation by answering the short quiz at the end or by speaking with the Cooperative Education Coordinator who will go over the syllabus with you and answer any questions. The Coordinator will also provide tips and suggestions to help you make your Co-op Ed experience worthwhile and successful. If you prefer the online orientation, you’ll be asked to send a confirmation email with your answers to the Coordinator.

Can I Register for the Class Online?
Yes. You will need an Access Entry Code that you get from either your Department Chair or from the Co-op Ed Coordinator. This code will enable you to register online. Pay close attention to the number of credits shown to ensure it matches your needs. The system will default to six credits and if you need something other than six, you’ll need to update that number before you click “Submit.”
Is There a Limit to How Many Credits I can Take in a Quarter?
The system has a cap of 15 credits but the maximum numbers of credits is usually limited by the amount of work hours you can earn in a quarter. It takes roughly 30-50 hours of work per credit in a given quarter so be sure you have enough time and energy to complete the work hours and assignments. Taking more than five credits of Co-op Ed is extremely challenging, and many students underestimate the impact of the increased amount of work hours and written assignments. Be sure to discuss it with your faculty and Co-op Coordinator. Be aware that you’ll need to develop and complete a Learning Objective for each credit you’ve signed up for, in addition to the standard two Learning Objectives that everyone does. Sometimes students will take on additional credits in the Summer Quarter when the regular class selections are limited but be aware that the Summer quarter is usually shorter than the others.
Can I Split My Cooperative Education Credits Into More than One Quarter?
Yes, if your Department Chair approves. In fact, this approach is often recommended by former students in order to increase your exposure to one long-term project or to work at two or more organizations for a real-world comparison. You do NOT need to complete an orientation if you have finished a previous Co-op Ed class but you are advised to check out the information anyway to be sure nothing has changed.
What is the Difference Between the 30 Hours-Per-Credit Option and the 50 Hours-Per-Credit Option?
But Simple arithmetic says the answer is 20 hours. But for this class, the main difference is this: Students choosing the 30 hrs/credit option work 30 hours at the work site for each credit they are seeking. In addition, they will participate in the Weekly Online Discussion accessed via Moodle. Students who don’t like the online aspect of the class may work 50 hours at the work site for each credit and they will submit a Mid Term paper instead. Details are covered in the Course Syllabus.
What Assignments Will I Be Required to Complete For This Class?

The Course Syllabus contains all the information about the assignments, their due dates, and tips to complete them. The Learning Contract and Learning Objectives are the first two assignments and must be completed prior to beginning work. Students selecting 50 hours/credit must turn in a mid-term paper. Students in the 30 hours/credit option will participate in the online weekly discussion. All of the remaining assignments are due during the last week of the quarter and will include: Supervisor Evaluation, Student Self Evaluation, Time Sheet and Final Summary Paper.

How Will Term Papers Be Graded?

All term papers will be graded as college-level term papers. There is a grading matrix for each of the term papers in the Course Syllabus. If you click the Syllabus and Forms link, you’ll also find a Word document that will tell you how to configure your paper in APA style. Since this is NOT an English Composition class, I have also included a template for the two papers that is already configured in APA style. The margins, spacing, and format are already done for you. You’ll find your term paper is halfway written for you. All you have to do is add content.


Joe Amaral (he/him/his)
Co-op Educational Coordinator
Lewis Hall 114-B, Mount Vernon Campus
[email protected]

Whidbey Island students who prefer a face-to-face meeting may ask for a meeting to take place at the Whidbey Island Campus.