Differences between Co-op and Internship

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A Co-op and internship are extremely useful to gain experience in your field of study. You will get a closer look at what is actually happening in the industry. These work placements will lead to more job offers after graduation.

When studying abroad, you will realize that the learning style can be way more than just learning through memorizing and researching, but rather having practical aspects such as these two work opportunities.

You will be able to apply your knowledge into practice!

These two terms have similar meanings and some people actually use them interchangeably. However, they do have their differences. Keep reading to figure them out! 😉

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What is an internship?

A learning opportunity where you get to work part-time in a company for a short period of time. You ask questions, observe, and gain skills that will make you ready to work after graduation.

What is a co-op?

Co-op or cooperative education, means that you take time off from your classes at college or university to work full-time. You get to develop your knowledge related to your field of study.

Getting this work opportunity will make you stand out after graduation as you already have the work experience. You might even get a job offer in the same company!

Differences between an internship and a co-op

#1 Length

If you are in a program that has the “co-op” option, instead of studying 4 years for a bachelor’s degree, you will do it for 5 years. You will stop taking courses when working and continue after the co-op. 

Usually, the co-op lasts one to two years. Even though you spend more time finishing your degree, it’s still worth getting a co-op because it will make you stand out from other candidates when applying for jobs in the future.

For Internships, they are usually part-time and are done while studying. You won’t be taking a semester off, which means that you won’t take a longer time finishing your degree.

The most common time to get an internship would be during the summer. 

#2 Salary

Co-ops are full-time jobs and are paid. Your position would be decided by the company.

As an intern though, the positions can be paid or unpaid and you will have less training in the company as you will only be working in one area/department.

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#4 Responsibilities

A Co-op allows you to transition to different positions and departments within the company which means you will get more experience and knowledge. 

You will start at higher salaries and higher levels of responsibility than interns.

Being an intern means that you will work at a company but with few responsibilities, more so observing and learning rather than actually having many tasks to do. 

Internships are usually limited to one area of responsibility (marketing, human resources, IT, etc.)

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Which one is best for you?

Both are equally important learning opportunities that will allow you to improve your skills and increase your chances of getting hired faster after graduation. 

Choosing one of them will depend on the employer, program and the career field. 

If you are a graduate student, it would be best for you to pursue a co-op. They are usually done at larger companies and the positions might be given to graduates instead of undergraduate students.

However, if missing a semester or two is something that you want to avoid, then an internship would be a better fit as you can complete it while taking classes.

Internships are typically not paid, so if you have financial issues and wouldn’t like to work for an unpaid position, then this might not be for you.

Keep in mind that some programs have the internship component as mandatory and the credits of completing it goes towards your degree. 

Ready to make a decision? Great! Share this content with your friends so they can understand the terms and choose between co-op and internship. 😉

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