Skip to content Skip to navigation

Co-op Program Overview

RIT is a World Leader in Cooperative Education

For more than 100 years, the hallmark of a Rochester Institute of Technology education has been the practical, paid work experience provided through cooperative education. RIT’s co-op program is the fourth oldest and one of the largest in the world. More than 4,500 students completed over 6,200 co-op assignments each year and are employed by more than 3,400 employers throughout the U.S. and abroad. 92 percent of our co-op employers answered "yes" to the question: would you hire your co-op student for a full-time position. Co-op is one of the most effective means for employers to identify and acquire key talent.

Partnering with RIT

• RIT is one of the nation’s top comprehensive universities, setting the national standard for career-oriented education.
• You gain easy access to a highly-qualified, career-focused talent pool. Our reputation for excellence is built on an academic portfolio designed to meet the current and future needs of business and industry.
• RIT’s Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education responds to your staffing needs with personal, individual attention and offers a complete range of solutions and services to assist you in sourcing candidates.

Advantages to Hiring a Co-op Student

Employers enjoy many benefits from hiring co-op students:

  • Co-op students produce immediate and valuable results at relatively low cost
  • Students bring fresh perspectives, ideas and knowledge to your workplace
  • Your employees, with the help of co-ops, can take on new tasks and assignments
  • The most promising students can be recruited to full-time assignments upon graduation
  • Co-ops act as goodwill ambassadors for your organization when they return to campus
  • Co-op opens the door for developing other valuable partnerships with RIT

Employer Responsibilities

When you bring a co-op student into your organization be prepared to provide an appropriate orientation, supervision and performance evaluation as outlined below. The staff of RIT’s Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education is here to help you and the student in achieving a positive experience.

  • Discuss and clarify employer and student expectations for the co-op experience.
  • Treat the co-op student as you would with any new employee.
  • Provide a thorough orientation to your department and overall organization.
  • Familiarize the co-op student to your work environment by providing a tour of your facilities.
  • Provide information on how co-op students fit into the organizational structure of your organization.
  • Co-op students are subject to the same procedures, regulations, etc. that govern your other employees. It may be helpful to assign a mentor or "buddy" at this initial stage to assist in the co-op's introduction to the new work environment.

The co-op student will be able to work independently once the orientation/training period is complete. However, your student will need at least the level of supervision that you would provide for any employee:

  • Assign a specific supervisor who will be accessible for questions, direction or assistance with problems.
  • Contact the Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education with any questions or concerns.
  • Be sensitive and supportive to the goals of your organization's co-op program.
  • Pay particular attention to adjusting the co-op student's workload as his/her skills grow.

Provide frequent feedback for the co-op student about performance. In addition, towards the end of each academic term, you will receive an email with a link to a co-op student evaluation form from the Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education. The online form needs to be submitted to the Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education upon completion in order for the student to receive credit for the co-op experience. We ask that you use that form to:

  • Provide formalized performance feedback for your co-op student.
  • Realistically assess your co-op's strengths and weaknesses.
  • Make recommendations for the co-op's further professional and academic development.

Keep Us Involved

  • Report Hiring Decision: Please contact us when you have filled your vacancy.
  • Employer Testimonials: We would welcome news of the achievements and successes of our co-op students.
  • Concerns: Do not hesitate to contact us if you are concerned about the work performance of your co-op.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does my position fit the definition of co-op?
Cooperative education at the Rochester Institute of Technology is defined as full-time, paid work experience directly related to the student's field of study and career interests. For a limited number of academic programs, part-time (10-20 hours/week) co-op may be available. Students work directly for the employer and are held to the same standards and expectations as other employees. Co-op is designed to be a learning experience for the student as well as a productive working assignment for the employer. The experience should emphasize real-world tasks and responsibilities that grow with the student's increased knowledge, skills, and experiences. Our office can work with you to ensure your position meets RIT’s expectations.

How and where will a co-op student fit into my organization?
Outline some of the projects and activities when you need assistance. These should be related to the potential student's academic major and career interests. Try to develop a position that would involve a variety of tasks and projects. It would be helpful to provide an opportunity for interaction with employees in various parts of your organization.

What are some important considerations in becoming a co-op employer?
Plan for appropriate supervision and mentorship of the co-op student. Review potential job responsibilities to determine if they are appropriate. Establish an appropriate pay and benefit structure, which may include assistance to the student in relocating to your area and obtaining safe and affordable housing.

When are students available for co-op?
Students are available to work for one or two consecutive terms, availability may vary from program to program. Recruiting dates on our Key Dates page outlines specific work availability.

Do I need to sign a contract with RIT?
No. Just provide a job description and RIT's Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education will post your position online and assist you in identifying the most appropriate student candidate pool. The hiring decision is always determined by each employer on a one-to-one basis with the student.

Who determines the salary for the co-op student?
As the employing organization,you do. We provide data regarding co-op salaries paid to current students and can assist you in determining an appropriate wage.

Does the employer assist with housing or relocation costs?
Employer housing assistance ranges from providing housing recommendations to arranging subsidized living quarters.

Does the employer have to provide healthcare coverage?
Our clear understanding is that the emphasis from the ACA (American Healthcare Act) ruling is on “offering” not “providing” coverage.  Consequently, if the student is already covered and does not require the employer offered insurance than the employer obligation is met.


How do I decide on the kind of student that would match my needs?
Discuss your employment needs with a program coordinator in the Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education. We can provide information on RIT’s academic programs and facilitate contact with faculty.

I'm interested! What should I do now?
Hiring a student is easy. Start by posting a job or by calling us at 585.475.2301.

Expectations for all Job Postings and Recruiting Activity

The Immigration and Nationality Act prohibits citizenship status and national origin discrimination with respect to hiring, termination, and recruiting or referring for a fee.8 U.S.C 1324(a)(1)(B).

Employers may not treat individuals differently because they are, or not, U.S. citizens or work authorized individuals. U.S. citizens, asylees, refugees, recent permanent residents and temporary residents are protected from citizenship status discrimination. Employers may not reject valid employment eligibility documents or require more or different documents on the basis of a person's national origin or citizenship status.

Any postings which require U.S. citizenship only will be accepted if your organization is required by law, regulation, executive order, or government contract to do so.

EOE Statement

All job postings are accepted with the understanding that the employing organization gives fair and open consideration to all applicants for employment regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, marital status, physical handicap, sexual preference, or status as a disabled veteran of the wars including Vietnam. It is also agreed that students and graduates will be accepted and assigned to jobs and otherwise treated without regard to the factors identified above.

Job Offer Guidelines and Principles for Ethical Professional Practice

Please Note: we adhere to National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Job Offer Guidelines and Principles for Ethical Professional Practice