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Cooperative Education

Realize your Potential

Academics Links

Contact Us

Chloe Hiland
College of Southern Maryland
8730 Mitchell Rd
PO Box 910
La Plata, MD 20646-0910

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Co-Op?
Cooperative Education is a semester-long program that allows you to earn credits for real-world work experiences.

Do I get paid for my work? Cooperative Education projects may be paid or volunteer positions. The real value is the experience that you gain and can include on your résumé.

When should I contact someone about doing a co-op? It is best to contact the co-op advisor at least two months prior to the start date of the term in which you would like to do your co-op. If you have a clearly defined work project and/or employer prepared, you may be able to register for a co-op closer to the start of the term. Contact the co-op advisor for more information.

Why is co-op required for my program? The fundamental purpose of cooperative education is to provide you with opportunities to learn under real-work conditions that cannot be replicated in a traditional classroom. (Note: Some programs require a co-op; others offer it as an elective. See your program requirements for more information.)

How do I find an employer? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Check the list of employers and/or projects in the “Co-op Information for My Major” section of this Web site

  • Contact the co-op advisor

  • Contact CSM’s Career Services

  • Register in Job Connection, CSM’s online employment board

  • Use the major-related job you already have

  • Contact a potential employer about an opportunity

  • Contact a relative, friend, or neighbor who may provide job leads

May I use my current job for my co-op? Yes. One of the benefits of co-op is getting college credit for the work you are already doing. Your job should be related to your academic program (e.g., a help desk specialist taking ITS-2910). Contact the co-op advisor for more information.

What are the prerequisites for co-op? Check the course descriptions and prerequisites link at this site or your college catalog.

How do I get started? The first step is to complete a Co-Op Intake Form online. Once reviewed, the co-op advisor will call or e-mail you.

How many credits do I earn through co-op? Credits vary. Review the course description for more information or contact an academic advisor.

What should my employer expect? Your employer will expect you to be a productive employee while you are working or volunteering at your selected site. You will work about 15 hours per week (or 30 hours/week in a shorter summer session) on required tasks or projects. Your supervisor will be able to document your efforts by completing an evaluation form provided by your course instructor. Also see the Employer Roles & Responsibilities at a Glance.