Co-operative education faqs
Cooperative Education, or co-op, gives students the opportunity to gain meaningful work experience before they graduate. For some students it is a required, for others, it is an option. We strongly encourage students to download a major-specific Co-op Quick Start Guide for more information (links are on right side of this page).
Cooperative education at RIT is full-time, paid employment directly related to a student's field of study for a minimum period of 10 weeks (a single quarter) or a minimum period of 20 weeks (2 consecutive quarters or “double-block”).
Co-op begins after students have completed the first two years of coursework in their academic program, in most cases. Most students alternate quarters of coursework with quarters of co-op during the last three years of their program. A student's academic department determines the co-op/academic schedule. International students need work authorization from RIT International Student Services and cannot co-op until after three consecutive full-time academic quarters of study have been completed.
Cooperative education is a unique
kind of education. It is different from summer employment,
and different from an internship. Here's why:
• Co-op employment is related to a student's field of study
• Co-op employment is full-time, productive work
• Co-op employment is paid
• Co-op employment increases in complexity and challenge according to academic level
• Co-op employment includes formal evaluation and documentation of performance
Co-op gives students the opportunity to:
• Apply much of the theory students are learning in courses
• Experience a typical work day and focus a career choice
• Earn a reasonable salary which will help students finance their education
• Take a breather away from the "grind" as a student
• Develop additional technical skills and enhance vital personal skills such as judgment, written and oral communication, teamwork
• Make contacts (network) that may be helpful when students seek full-time employment
• Be a more attractive candidate for full-time employment after graduation and probably obtain a higher starting salary than students without co-op experience
Employers benefit from co-op in a
number of ways:
• Co-op students are flexible, highly motivated, technical employees who join the work force at relatively low cost to the employer.
• A student's presence can free up an employee's time for long-range projects.
• A student's abilities and potential for permanent employment can be assessed on the job.
• Student's new ideas and enthusiasm are often professionally stimulating to full-time employees.
• Students serve as the employer's "good will ambassador" to other RIT students and faculty, facilitating recruiting and other relationships.
Frequently Asked Questions
The RIT Office of Cooperative Education and Career Services provides services and resources to assist RIT students in their career success.
services does the Office of Co-op & Career Services provide
to my son/daughter?
We provide programs and resources to all RIT students, to help them through the experiential education and full-time job search process. Our services include one-on-one advising, group orientations and workshops on career & job search topics, a resource library, and extensive job opportunities.
experiential education options are available?
80% of RIT’s undergraduate majors have mandatory co-op requirements, ranging from 6 to 15 months. Students in programs that don’t require co-op are encouraged to participate in co-op, to gain valuable work experience in their field of interest. Other programs may have a field instruction or internship element handled primarily by the academic department.
does my son/daughter find a co-op or internship?
Our online database - RIT Job Zone – gives your son/daughter access to co-op, internship, and full-time job postings and on-campus interview opportunities, and allows them to apply online. The system also offers additional resources with contacts and company information, the ability to store and send resumes electronically and e-mail notifications of new jobs that fit their search criteria. We do recommend that students also develop co-op and internship job leads and apply for jobs on their own.
can I help my son/daughter with their co-op or internship
• Become informed of the services offered by the Office of Co-op & Career Services and the specific co-op requirements for your son/daughter’s academic program. (A list of Co-op Quick Guides can be found on the right -- they include information academic program-specific co-op information.)
• Help your son/daughter develop
their own co-ops with employers through a personal contact
• Talk with your son/daughter about
their major and career choices. Encourage them to visit
the Office of Co-op & Career Services early in their
academic program, to become familiar with their Program
Coordinator and the services provided by the office.
• Maintain a dialogue with your
son/daughter about their co-op and full-time job search;
encourage them to begin their job search early, make sure
they are attending orientations and workshops, that their
resumes are up to date and have been reviewed by our office,
that they are registered in and are using RIT Job Zone,
that they are attending the RIT Career Fairs and other area
career fairs, and are participating in on-campus recruiting.
• Assist your son/daughter with
developing and utilizing a professional network. Help them
make a list of friends, associates, and relatives to contact
for informational interviews, career advice, and job search
assistance. Encourage them to join a professional association
related to their field of interest.
• Listen to their concerns, and be supportive throughout your son/daughter’s college experience and job search process
How can I help the Office
of Cooperative Education & Career Services?
There are a number of ways parents can help the Office of Co-op & Career Services:
• List a co-op, internship,
or full-time position with RIT. Our office will be happy
to list any opening within your company on our RIT Job Zone
system. Contact our office at 585-475-2301, and someone
will assist you with this process. Or visit our Employer Portal Page.
• Encourage your company to develop
a recruiting relationship with RIT, and to participate in
on-campus recruiting and/or our Career Fairs. Put us in
touch with your company recruiter or human resources representative;
we’ll provide in-depth information on our academic
programs and assistance with the recruiting process.
• Become a mentor or advisor to provide career guidance to students.