Frequently Asked Questions
- General-Getting Started
- Applying for jobs/Interviewing
- Placed Students
- What is Cooperative Education?
- What is the difference between a co-op job and an internship?
- How does co-op work?
- How do I get started? (employer and student)
- Does working through the UTC Co-op Program guarantee me a co-op position or internship?
- Who is eligible for co-op?
- If I don't have any relevant work experiences, should I still apply for a co-op job or internship?
- What can I do if I don't currently qualify for the Co-op Program?
- Will I be paid in a co-op job or internship?
- Do I get credit for my Co-op experience?
- Will a co-op job/internship lead to a permanent position?
- Will I receive benefits in a co-op job or internship?
- Will I lose my scholarship if I participate in an alternating co-op or a full-time, off campus internship?
- How long will it take to find an internship or co-op job?
- Can I work with more than one employer?
- Can I find my own job?
- If I take a co-op job or internship, how long am I committing to the position?
- After I have applied for a position, how long will it take for the employer to contact me?
- Does the employer call the UTC Co-op Office or the student directly to set up an interview?
- As a working student, when do I turn my work report in to the Office of Cooperative Education?
- Do I have to sign up for co-op work experience every semester or summer that I work in a co-op job or internship?
Cooperative Education at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga is an optional element of the curricula. Co-op allows students to combine classroom studies with a paid, progressive, pre-professional, hands-on, career-related work experience. It also lets students from most all UTC majors gain valuable practical work experience directly related to their special areas of study. UTC has over 150 students currently working with more than 100 employers locally, regionally, and nationally.
Student definition: "Co-op gives a complete educationpeople, machines, tools, methods; not just books and numbers!" Alan Raines, Mechanical Engineer
As suggested earlier, co-op is a multi-semester work opportunity with one employer. Internships may be one semester long or shorter and students may participate in several internships during their college career with multiple employers.
Students may choose to work a parallel co-op schedule part-time work concurrent with classesor an alternating co-op schedule that requires them to alternate semesters of classroom study with their co-op work assignment. A typical alternating schedule will be:
|Junior||work #3||school||work #4|
|Senior||work #3||school||school/ graduate|
UTC students who choose not to participate in one of the co-op work schedules may pursue a full-time or part-time internship through the Office of Cooperative Education. Internships are shorter term (one summer, one semester, or less) work experiences.
Students: read and follow the information on our Students Seeking Co-op Jobs or Inernships page.
Employers: read and follow the information on our How to Develop a Partnership with the UTC Co-op Program page.
No, UTC Co-op Program is not a mandatory program requiring all students to participate in an experiential education program. Each coordinator will work hard to expose you to every opportunity that you are eligible for, but none of us can guarantee that you will get hired. Your getting hired for a co-op position is often based on your development of the resume, your preparation for the interview, your success in the interview, and the employer's perception of you as a match for the company and the position within the company
UTC students who have maintained a 2.5 GPA (2.75 GPA in College of Business Administration) and who have completed their freshman course requirements in their major may begin a co-op work assignment. Many employers, however, require courses beyond the freshman level. It varies from major to major.
Not having relevant work experience is one of the main reasons you should come by the Co-op Office. We specialize in finding career, major related work experience. If you already have relevant work experience related to your career goals, the Co-op Office will be glad to work with you to refine or improve the type of work that you have.
You may come by to talk with one of the coordinators in the office. They will work with you to put together a realistic plan to help you work toward co-op qualification.
All positions advertised by the Co-op Office are paid, career/major related work experiences.
Though you will register for Co-op 001 001 in your major, this "course" recognizes your position as an approved co-op or intern by the Office of Cooperative Education and the University. The course is also listed on your transcript and is assigned a Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory grade with zero (0) hours credit. However, if your department has an internship course listed as part of their curriculum, your co-op coordinator will work with you to investigate departmental regulations required to participate in their credit course. If you want departmental credit for an internship, you must sign up for both the department internship course and Co-op 001 001.
National statistics suggest that 60% of co-op students are offered full-time positions with their co-op employers. With the job market so favorable for students now, employers are using co-op and internships more frequently to identify potential full-time employees than they have in the past.
Companies vary on their approaches to benefits. Some employers give their co-op students exactly the same benefits as their full-time employees, while others provide students only with the same holidays. That is a question you may want to ask during your interview with the company representative.
Will I lose my scholarship if I participate in an alternating co-op or a full-time, off campus internship?
No; both you and the Co-op Office will inform UTC Financial Aid of your impending co-op position. Though you will not receive the financial aid or the scholarship during the semesters you participate in a full-time, off-campus work assignment, your financial aid/scholarship will be reserved for you when you return.
Applying for jobs/Interviewing
There is no time limit. Most of the time, the Co-op Office has more jobs than it has students, and students sometime are not flexible in the jobs that they want.
As a UTC co-op student you are required to work with only one employer. That is one reason that the co-op program is different from an internship. Co-op employers hire students for multiple semesterseither on a full-time, alternating schedule or part-time parallel schedule. They often use co-op as a recruiting tool for full-time hires and want their new employees to have as much experience with the company as possible.
Students pursuing internships may work with more than one employer during their college career by applying to a variety of employers. Internships vary from employer to employer in length of time and type of internship.
Students may conduct their own job search or assist their coordinator in the search. If you find your own position and wish for it to be considered a co-op, you will need to discuss the new position with your co-op coordinator, who, in turn, will discuss the co-op requirements with your potential employer. After final approval you must follow the regular co-op steps to receive credit.
It depends on the requirements stated in the job description. However, alternating co-op positions require a three semester commitment.
Student contact from the employer varies. We request that employers call you within two weeks of the interview, but you may want to address this question during your interview.
Employers do both and use e-mail, also. When they can't get in touch with you via phone or e-mail then they contact the office to see if we have better luck.
You may submit it any time during the last half of each work term, by Reading Day for the semester in question. If you happen to be working "back-to-back" work terms, we do expect one for each semester or summer.
Do I have to sign up for co-op work experience every semester or summer that I work in a co-op job or internship?
Yes, every semester whether you are working in a) an alternating or parallel co-op position or b) a part-time or full-time internship.
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