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Difference Between Internships and Co-ops

What’s the difference between an Internship and a Co-op at Howard Community College?

Internships are temporary work experiences that relate to a student’s college major or career goals.  Internships can be done at any time.

  • Internships provide opportunities to gain valuable applied experiences and provide opportunities for making professional connections.
  • Students will engage in tasks that contribute to the professional work of an organization.
  • Internships can be paid or unpaid.


Co-ops (Cooperative Education) are more structured work experiences that are connected to a 6-week course at HCC, where academic credit is earned upon successful completion.  Co-ops can be performed during the fall, spring, or summer semesters.

  • Co-op experiences last between 6-15 weeks, depending on how many credits a student will earn.
  • The co-op seminar course explores topics such as professionalism, networking, and goal setting.  As part of the course, students are expected to complete reflection assignments based on their co-op experiences.
  • Co-ops can be paid or unpaid. 

     Return to Co-op/Internship Home Page

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