Eligibility Requirements

Students at Essex County College may elect to participate in the Cooperative Education Program provided they meet academic standards and are enrolled in a degree or certificate program in which cooperative education is an approved course. Applicants must meet the following criteria at the time of application:

  • Completed 24 or more credits including English 101 with a letter grade of C or better. Certificate candidates must half the number of required credits for their certificate programs.
  • Have a minimum of 2.0 cumulative grade point average (GPA)
  • Be enrolled in an approved cooperative education curriculum
  • Have successfully completed specific courses pre-selected by their departments

Approved Programs

Students who are participating in the following degree programs and who meet eligibility criteria are encouraged to apply for the Cooperative Education Program:

Division of Biology & Chemistry

  • Biology, Pre-Medicine (A.S.)
  • Bio Technology (A.A.S.)
  • Bio Technology (Certificate)
  • Chemistry (A.S.)
  • Chemical Technology (A.A.S.)
  • Environmental Science (A.A.S.)

Division of Business

  • Accounting (A.A.S.)
  • Accounting (A.S.)
  • Business Administration (A.A.S.)
  • Business Administration (A.S.)
  • Business Administration: Hospitality Management Option (A.A.S.)
  • Business Administration: Office Systems Technology and Management Option (A.A.S.)
  • Business Administration: Financial Services Option (A.A.S.)
  • Business Career Development (Certificate)
  • Information Systems Office Operations (Certificate)
  • Internet – Web Page Design Specialist (Certificate)
  • Legal Assistant Studies (A.S.)
  • Legal Assistant (Certificate)
  • Legal Nurse (Certificate)
  • Legal Specialist (Certificate)
  • Microcomputer Systems Applications (A.A.S.)
  • Office Assistant Program (Certificate)
  • Word Processing Program (Certificate)

Division of Engineering Technologies & Computer Science

  • Applied Computer Science (A.S.)
  • Architectural Technology ( A.A.S.)
  • Civil Construction Engineering Technology: Land Surveying Option (A.A.S.)
  • Computer-Aided Design technology (Certificate)
  • Computer Information Systems (A.S.)
  • Computer Science (A.S.)
  • Electronic Engineering Technology (A.A.S.)
  • Energy Utility Technology (A.A.S.)
  • Engineering (A.S.)
  • Internetworking Technology (Certificate)
  • Manufacturing Engineering Technology (A.A.S.)
  • Manufacturing Engineering Technology: Mechanical Engineering Technology Option (A.A.S.)
  • Network Technology (Certificate)

Division of Humanities

  • Art (A.S.)
  • Digital Media & Electronic Publishing (Certificate)
  • Liberal Arts (A.A.)
  • Liberal Arts: Communications Option (A.A.)
  • Liberal Arts: Journalism Option (A.A.)
  • Liberal Arts: Spanish Language Option (A.A.)
  • Music (A.S.)

Division of Mathematics & Physics

  • Mathematics (A.S.)

Division of Social Sciences

  • Criminal Justice ( A.S.)
  • Physical Education (A.S.)
  • Social Science (A.S.)


The Cooperative Education Program at ECC has a flexible admission schedule which allows a twelve to fifteen-week co-op semester to begin when a student is selected for a position or a currently employed student receives approval to earn co-op credit for his or her position. Students beginning co-op assignments after normal registration deadlines will be allowed to register for their co-op courses at the beginning of the next scheduled registration period.


Academic Credit

Students who are successfully admitted to the co-op program are awarded one credit for eighty hours (80) of approved work experience and satisfactory completion of additional co-op course requirements. A student may earn one to four credits in a given semester by working on a full-time or part-time basis.


Students may earn up to eight co-op credits in a degree program and four credits in a certificate program.

Orientation Seminar

Students enrolled in their first co-op courses are required to participate in a Co-op Orientation Seminar prior to starting co-op assignments. The Orientation Seminar which is offered by the Co-op Office covers policies and procedures for participating in the co-op program, as well as expectations of the student- employee in the workplace.


Benefits of Co-op

By integrating formalized study and supervised employment students gain academic, professional, and personal development benefits. Cooperative education offers students the opportunity to:

  • obtain better direction for academic studies
  • earn academic credit towards graduation
  • gain exposure to specialized facilities and equipment
  • increase interpersonal skills
  • clarify career goals
  • gain professional experience in chosen career fields
  • gain a competitive edge over students without relevant work experience
  • increase the likelihood of higher starting salaries after graduation
  • enhance employability skills

How to Get Started

Students eligible for and interested in co-op should the following procedure to gain admission to the program:

  • Complete a Application for Students and submit to the Office of Cooperative Education with five copies of a proofread resume.
  • Meet with the Co-op Teacher Advisor for evaluation. If approved, sign Cooperative Education Agreement and Statement on Ethical Conduct forms. Schedule a date to attend a Co-op Orientation Seminar.
  • Participate in interviews with interested employers.
  • Receive and accept a co-op job offer and report employment to the Co-op Office.
  • Register for Co-op. Upon reporting the employment, the Co-op Advisor will provide the student with the appropriate form for registration and a Student Learning Agreement to be completed with a Co-op Faculty Advisor.
  • Follow the course outline and Student Learning Agreement carefully and all course assignments in a timely manner.

Self-Developed Co-ops

Applicants to the program may receive assistance from the Co-op Office in searching for a position or may request that an independently secured position be evaluated by the co-op staff for approval. Students interested in converting a new or current position to co-op must do the following:

  • present a job description on company letterhead of expected duties while participating in cooperative education
  • demonstrate that new learning is taking place with expanded duties and responsibilities, new projects, etc. under the co-op assignment.
  • meet eligibility requirements of the co-op program
  • submit a current resume

The Co-op Teacher Advisor and /or a Co-op Faculty Advisor will determine suitability of the job for cooperative education credit. If the position is approved for co-op, the student will then follow the steps outlined in How to Get Started.


Co-op Semester Requirements

Once a co-op position is secured the student is assigned a Faculty Advisor to provide guidance for the work experience. The Co-op Faculty Advisor will assist the student in developing Learning Objectives for the assignment, determine other assignments of the co-op course, monitor the student’s progress and assign a grade for the course.


The grade for the co-op course is based on a number of factors including how well the student meets employment standards, satisfactory job performance as measured by employer evaluations, and adequate and timely completion of other course requirements.


Frequently Asked Questions by Students


What is cooperative education?

Cooperative education (co-op) is an educational strategy that integrates classroom studies with learning through hands-on work experiences in a field that is related to the student’s academic major or career goals.


What are the benefits of co-op?

Co-op is a valuable tool in career decision making since it gives students an opportunity to try out career options prior to graduation. After graduation, students usually find that their co-op positions make them more attractive to prospective employers. In addition, co-op students often receive higher starting salaries than students who do not have co-op experience. Because co-op positions are often paid, students are also able to earn money to help with covering college and living expenses.


Is there a difference between co-op and internship?

Yes. With internships there are generally no eligibility criteria other than the employer’s, there is no faculty involvement or monitoring and the work experience does not have to be tied to academic learning or meet specific academic standards as is the case with co-op assignments.


How do I qualify for co-op?

To qualify for co-op you must meet the following program requirements:

  • 24 or more college credits in a degree program or half the number of required courses in a certificate program
  • Have a minimum GPA of 2.0
  • Be enrolled in an approved academic program
  • Have successfully completed departmental pre-requisites
  • Be approved by the Office of Cooperative Education

For more details on eligibility requirements please refer to the Cooperative Education Handbook or contact the Office of Cooperative Education.


When do I begin my first co-op work experience?

Once you have met all eligibility requirements and are approved by the Co-op Office and your academic department, you may begin the job search process. You have the option of finding a job on your own, seeking co-op approval for a job you currently have or requesting assistance in your job search from the Co-op Office and /or Career Resource Center.


Will I receive college credit for my co-op experience?

Co-op credit is awarded based on the formula of 80 work hours equals one credit. Co-op credits are generally applied towards free electives.


How does the work relate to my academic program?

Before you begin your co-op work experience, you will meet with your Co-op Faculty Advisor and co-op employer to develop clear learning objectives that link your academic program to the work experience. These objectives are put together in a document known as the Student Learning Agreement. This document along with other assignments forms the syllabus for your co-op course and will be used by your Co-op Faculty Advisor to evaluate your work performance.


Will I get a grade for the co-op experience?

Yes. Students will be awarded a letter grade based on satisfactory completion of the work assignment and other co-op course requirements.


What is the Co-op Orientation Seminar?

The Co-op Orientation Seminar is a requirement for participation in the co-op program for students on their first co-op assignments. The Seminar will cover policies and procedures for participation in the program as well as expectations of students on co-op work assignments.


How many credits can I earn through co-op?

You may earn a total of eight co-op credits in a degree program or four credits in a certificate program. These credits may be earned on a full-time or part-time basis. A student may earn anywhere from one to four or six credits in a given semester.


How do I enroll in the Co-op Program?

If you meet the co-op eligibility requirements, you may schedule an appointment to meet with the Teacher Advisor in the Co-op Office. If you are approved for co-op you will be scheduled to attend a Co-op Orientation Seminar. You will then begin the job search process and meet with a Co-op Faculty Advisor to work out details of the Student Learning Agreement. Once an appropriate position is secured, you will need to inform the Co-op Office so that you may be given approval to register for the co-op course.


Are co-op credits transferable?

Co-op credits are generally taken as free electives in a student’s curriculum and are often transferable to four-year colleges and universities which offer cooperative education programs. Students should seek advice from the Transfer Center regarding the transferability of cooperative education credits.


What if I do not have a major or career plan yet?

To participate in co-op students must be matriculated in a certificate or degree program.

One of the benefits of co-op is that it allows you to test career options before making career choices.


What kinds of jobs are available?

Co-op jobs are developed to fit the academic preparation and previous experience of students who may apply for them. These positions cover a broad range of work situations including large multinational corporations and a wide scope of career fields such as technology, manufacturing, financial services, sales and communications. Students may also work in smaller businesses, gaining important entrepreneurial experience. Others may find employment at nonprofit agencies and government offices.


May I take classes while on co-op?

Yes. Students have a choice of earning co-op credit on a full or part-time basis. However, a student may not enroll for more than three hours of co-op education during a semester in which the student is enrolled for 12 or more other credits.


What are my chances of being placed?

Your chances are good since you have the option of seeking co-op approval for a job you now have, finding a job on your own, or doing so with the assistance of the Co-op Office and /or Career Resource Center.


Will this extend my time in college?

Since co-op courses take the place of free electives in your curriculum, in most cases students will be able to their degree in the expected time.


Will there be other co-op students working at my place of employment?

It depends on the employer. Smaller businesses are less likely to have other students, but offer a great opportunity to learn about the enterprise. Many larger companies employ multiple students each term.


Do participating employers ever hire co-op students after the co-op term is over?

Many co-op students have become regular employees at firms where they have completed their co-op assignments. Offers of permanent employment are generally based on a number of factors such as work performance and available funding. National statistics indicate that approximately 45 percent of all co-op students are offered permanent positions with their co-op employers upon graduation.


What should I do if I would like to participate in co-op but already have a job?

You should schedule an appoint to meet with the Co-op Teacher Advisor to fill out the necessary paperwork and to see if your position qualifies for co-op credit. If it does, your Advisor will inform you of the next steps to follow.

Contact Information

Cooperative Education Staff:
Fatima McMahon, Director
Tel: (973) 877-3353
E-mail: mcmahon@essex.edu


Holly Lang-Rawlins, Teacher Advisor
Tel: (973) 877-3266
E-mail: lang-rawlins@essex.edu


Shaqrah White, Outreach Coordinator
Tel: (973) 877-3270 E-mail: shwhite@essex.edu


Andrea Hayes, Secretary
Tel: (973) 877-3453
E-mail: ahayes@essex.edu


Mailing address:
Essex County College
Office of Cooperative Education
Business Division, Room 3189
303 University Avenue
Newark, NJ 07102-1798
Fax: (973) 877-355

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