THE ENGINEERING CO-OP PROGRAM
WHAT IS CO-OP?
The co-op and placement program provides paid, flexible, industry experience to undergraduate students in the College of Engineering and Polymer Science.
You will get a feel for working in the industry and have the opportunity to narrow down the type of job you are most interested in with multiple co-op rotations. This will improve your technical and “real world” skills like communication, leadership, and presentation skills, which employers look for in new hires.
Note: The co-op program is optional to all undergraduate engineering students with the exception of students in the Aerospace Systems Engineering program.
At the end of approximately five years, with a co-op, you are ahead of students who do not choose to co-op because you will have accumulated 12+ months of work experience in your area of professional interest. Also in many cases, you will have already earned seniority, retirement benefits, vacation, and other perks.
ua students who complete some form of experiential learning – such as internships and co-ops – earn, on average, almost $6,000 more in their starting salaries than those without such experience.
- Learn new things alongside industry pros.
- Gain relevant engineering work experience to boost skills and be attractive to potential employers.
- Offset the cost of your education by making extra income.
- Eliminate what isn’t great. Now is the time to figure out your engineering strengths and interests.
- Get connected. Making industry connections while in school will make securing full-time employment much easier.
ACADEMIC AND FLEXIBLE CO-OP SCHEDULE
We recommend that you complete your first five semesters of study in the classroom and then alternate a semester of paid employment with a semester of classroom study until your senior year (see chart below). Many students, however, choose to customize this schedule based on their individual needs.
While on co-op you do not attend classes but for the purpose of registering at UA, you are considered a full-time student even though the co-op "class" is credit/no credit.
SAMPLE CLASS AND CO-OP SCHEDULE
|2nd year||Classes||Classes||Possible Co-op, Vacation/Classes|
|3rd year||Classes||Co-op I||Classes|
|4th year||Co-op II||Classes||Co-op III|
Between co-op assignments
On return to campus following each rotation, you will meet with your coordinator to discuss your recent co-op experience. A grade of "credit" is then assigned for the past work period, and it is recorded on your permanent record in the Office of the Registrar. This is also the time for you to determine if you want to pursue another co-op.
“My co-ops made me more marketable. I am currently interviewing and recruiters are surprised by how much experience I have as a college student."— Melisha Vaughn B.S. in Biomedical Engineering, class of 2019
WE ARE ALWAYS HERE TO HELP
Requirements & Details
If a you decide to co-op, you will have an incredibly rewarding experience while building a resume that makes you stand out to prospective employers. The process is straightforward, and we help at every step.
- GPA must be at least 2.3 or higher depending on your major
- On-schedule in your major
How to get a co-op:
- Attend co-op orientation. Contact us for the most recent schedule.
- Schedule a one-on-one meeting with the co-op office.
- You need to bring all required paperwork, resume, and a photo copy of your Zips ID to the first meeting.
- The co-op coordinator will ask questions about career goals and what type of position you're looking for.
- After the co-op position is official, you must register for the zero-credit co-op course.
Cost: The registration fee to participate in the co-op program is $125 per semester.
HOW WE WORK TOGETHER
|YOUR RESPONSIBILITY||CO-OP OFFICE RESPONSIBILITY|
|Meets with co-op office||Plan a projected schedule of co-op rotations and classes to determine your approximate date of graduation|
|Think about your career objectives and the types of positions that interests you||Guide you to make informed decisions about the types of positions to pursue|
|Participate in interviewing workshops||Let you know about interviewing workshops|
|Update your resume||Provide suggestions to improve your resume and refer resume to co-op employers|
|Show up on time to interviews||Coordinate interviews with employers|
|Consult with co-op and placement office during interviewing and offer process||Help you complete the job acceptance process|
|Respond to inquiries from co-op and placement office in timely manner||Respond to your questions within 48 hours|
Finding the right co-op
Your co-op and placement coordinator will get to know you by discussing all your options with you to determine what type of company and position is a good fit given your major and area of interest.
You can choose to co-op at the same company for multiple rotations or if you desire more experience, you can choose to work at different companies in different engineering positions. This can be a good way to narrow down your career focus.
A lot of options:
- Our co-op and placement office has a vast network of employers locally and nationally.
- All are companies that have hired talented engineers from UA for co-op or full-time, permanent positions.
- All provide opportunities to explore a range of engineering functions.
- Companies include internationally known brands: J.M. Smucker Company, Sherwin Williams, and Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, to local companies like: Swagelok, Parker Hannifin, and Pepperl + Fuchs.
- On occasion, larger companies with an international presence will send you abroad for a third or fourth rotation.
Questions to consider when looking for a co-op:
- Do you want to stay in the Akron area?
- Are you looking to work for a large or small engineering company?
- What type of work experience are you looking for?
- For example, do you want to design new products or consider the effectiveness, safety and cost of new designs?
“Co-ops help students figure out what they want to do after college, which can be a huge stressor. The most basic process of elimination is at play here. I love it when a student tells me ‘This is it. This is what I want to do.'”— Stephanie Schindewolf, Director of the Engineering Co-op and Placement Office
ON THE JOB
While you co-op you are a real employee and viewed as such by your employers. Your co-op position is a full-time, paid work opportunity, often making above minimum wage with an average of $15-20/hour. If you complete all three rotations, you will make an average of $40,000 during your time at UA!
Typical co-op earnings per month:
(Data from class of 2022 work period May 13, 2019-August 23,2019 c/o co-op office)
- Aerospace Systems Engineering: $2,076-4,808
- Biomedical Engineering: $2,163-3,979
- Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering: $2,422-4,844
- Civil Engineering: $2,374-3,979
- Computer Engineering: $2,768-3,430
- Corrosion Engineering: $2,811-5,707
- Electrical Engineering: $2,249-4,758
- Mechanical Engineering: $1,730-5,647
Tips for International Students
Please connect with The International Center to learn about student visa and work authorization requirements BEFORE obtaining a co-op or permanent position.