Career Development Co-ops and Internships

Co-ops and Internships

Experiential Education

Experiential education is learning that is integrated and applied in a real world, professional position. Rather than just study the work, you actually do the work.  The two main types of experiential education available at Georgia Tech are co-operative education (co-op) and internships. More and more employers seek to hire employees who have direct knowledge of how “work works,” not just knowledge from classroom learning, so co-ops and internships are a great way to position yourself as a strong candidate for jobs when you graduate. They’re also an excellent way to explore your career options and figure out what you do and don’t want to do.

Why Should I do internships or co-ops?

  • Gain valuable professional experience to position you well for jobs at graduation
  • Discover if what you think you want to do after graduation matches the reality of actually doing it
  • Acquire practical experience and knowledge of how work works
  • Accrue audited credit hours (without tuition or fees!) that count towards your full-time student status
  • Receive transcript designation (co-ops and internships)
  • Earn diploma designation (co-ops only)
  • Get paid!
  • Earn academic credit (some internships)
  • Develop a network of contacts that can help in your career
  • Possibly receive job offers after co-ops or internships

Co-operative Education (Co-op) Program

Georgia Tech’s co-op program is a co-curricular program designed to complement your formal education with paid practical work experience directly related to your major.  Co-ops exist for all engineering majors as well as many majors in other colleges.  As a co-op student, you alternate semesters of on-campus study with semesters of full-time employment (a minimum of ten weeks) across six semesters. You are classified as a full-time student whether you are in a working semester or a studying semester.  By the end of your co-op, you will have three full terms of experience that are the equivalent of one full year of professional work experience.  You will also receive a designation on your transcript and on your diploma for your accomplishment.  The best time to begin a co-op is in your sophomore year.

To learn more about co-ops, take these steps:

  • Read the info on them at: http://career.gatech.edu/undergraduate-student/co-op
  • Activate your account on CareerBuzz to see co-op listings.
  • Watch for announcements (on CareerBuzz, on the C2D2 website, and around campus) of workshops and webinars on how co-ops work.
  • Attend employer info sessions to learn about companies that hire co-ops.
  • Attend the C2D2 all-majors career fairs in September and February.
  • Ask your academic advisor or faculty about co-ops they are aware of.
  • See a career advisor in C2D2 for personalized guidance after you’ve done your homework to learn the basics of co-op (i.e., the steps above).

Internships

As with the co-op program, Georgia Tech’s internship program is designed to complement your formal education with practical work experience.  Internships provide you opportunities to work in your field of study, determine if you have an interest in a particular career, earn money and/or academic credit, and create a network of contacts. Internships are major-related, full-time or part-time work experiences that help you better understand the practical applications of your academic studies.

Unlike co-ops, internships are single-semester opportunities.  Full- or part-time employment in the fall or spring requires a minimum of 16 weeks; summer internships are for a minimum of 10 weeks. You typically intern for one semester and can participate in multiple internships.  In some cases, you have the option of working for two consecutive terms (e.g., spring and summer or summer and fall).  Full-time work assignments require a minimum of 35 hours per week. Part time assignments are 10 to 34 hours per week.

Internships can be in the United States or abroad. Global internships are managed in partnership with the Office of International Education

To learn more about internships, take the following steps:

  • Read the info on them at: http://career.gatech.edu/undergraduate-student/internship
  • Activate your account on CareerBuzz to see internship listings.
  • Watch for announcements (on CareerBuzz, on the C2D2 website, and around campus) of workshops and webinars on how internships work.
  • Attend employer info sessions to learn about companies that hire interns.
  • Attend the C2D2 all-majors career fairs in September and February.
  • Ask your academic advisor or faculty about internships they are aware of.
  • See a career advisor in C2D2 for personalized guidance after you’ve done your homework to learn the basics of internships (i.e., the steps above).
  • For pre-law, pre-teaching, and pre-health internships, contact the respective pre-professional advisor in C2D2 and review those programs’ websites.

Experiential Education for International Students

Co-ops and internships are available to international students from employers that accept international applicants for their co-operative opportunities.  International students in F-1 status are eligible to work legally in the United States under Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and/or Optional Practical Training (OPT).  To be eligible for either CPT or OPT, F-1 students must be in full-time student status for one full academic year prior to beginning employment.

International students who wish to obtain CPT or OPT work authorization should contact the Georgia Tech Office of International Education. International students often have additional requirements, and you should therefore plan as far ahead as possible if you wish to intern or co-op while at Tech.  For more information and contacts, go to www.oie.gatech.edu.


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