Cooperative Education

Office of

Academic Internships,

Cooperative Education &

Service Learning

Neff Hall, Room 337

Phone | 260-481-6939

Email |

Debra Barrick | Director

Phone | 260-481-5471

Fax | 260-481-5460

Email |

Hours of Operation

8:00 am to 5:00 pm

Monday to Friday

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Frequently Asked Questions

The cooperative education program defines internship as a one-semester paid work experience. A co-op is multi-term and provides more in-depth experience. Both are paid experiences through OACS.

What is co-op?

At IPFW, the co-op program is an academic program in which students work in a position related to their major. Co-ops gain experience with the same employer and earn a competitive salary while working.  Co-oping allows participants to build a powerful resume, to develop a network of professional contacts, and to gain a truly complete education.  Students who successfully complete this form of enhanced education receive a co-op designation on their degree and are recognized for their accomplishment during the commencement ceremony.

What is the difference between an internship and a co-op?

Through the Cooperative Education office (co-op), an internship is a one-semester paid work experience (usually summer). A co-op is longer and provides more in-depth experience, and you spend at least two semesters with your employer. All experiences are approved by faculty and are directly related to your employer.

Do I have to pay for any of your services?

No! All of our services are FREE to IPFW students.

If I accept a co-op or internship, do I get paid for working?

Absolutely. All students are paid competitive wages. The most up-to-date salary range is $8.50-$26.25. The most recent average wage was $15.89.

Why are Fort Wayne area companies hiring co-ops and interns?

Many employers use the IPFW co-op program to recruit full-time employees. Many IPFW students graduating with bachelor’s degrees and co-op or internship experience are hired by employers participating in the program. 

What kind of employers are you talking about?

There are numerous  employers in our database who offer co-op and internship opportunities. They include manufacturers, engineering firms, accounting firms, and others.

Will my co-op or internship be listed on my transcript?

Yes! It will be listed on your transcript as proof that you participated in a co-op program officially recognized by your degree-granting institution.

I’ve never interviewed before. Can I receive help?

Yes! FREE mock interviews are available with the Career Services Office on campus so you understand what to expect in the interview. Visit them at

I’m afraid I won’t have enough knowledge and skills to do the work.

You can start a co-op or internship after completion of freshman year. Employers realize that you won’t have a much education or experience as a new graduate. Since cooperative education and internships are training programs, employers design student assignments based on student abilities. Supervisors and mentors help students understand their responsibilities.

Do I have to come to the co-op to remind you to send my resume to employers?

No! We automatically email your resume to all employers requesting your major and the type of co-op or internship you want.

Am I obligated to accept an offer for a full-time position with my employer after graduation?

No. But, after you co-op or intern, you will gain valuable insights into that company so you can make an informed decision. Chances are that any employer that offered you challenge, respect, consideration, and training as a student will offer similar incentives to you as a full-time employee.

May I begin the co-op program if I am not committed to completing it? 

No. You will be allowed to begin co-op employment only if you intend to meet all requirements of the program.

What salary can I expect? 

Salaries are set by employers and can vary widely from one company to another. Your primary goal as a co-op student should be to obtain the best work and educational experience possible. At this point in your career, salary should not be a major factor in deciding which co-op offer to accept.

What types of information will I provide on the work report? 

Work reports provide an opportunity for you to summarize your responsibilities and accomplishments and to provide feedback about your co-op job based on various criteria. Work reports are used to help verify that you have met requirements for graduating with the co-op designation, so plan to complete them accurately and in a timely manner. After removing the confidential information, the Division of Professional Practice may make your reports available to assist other students as they research particular employers.

May I take a course during my work term? 

Note - This situation only applies to students working full-time alternating co-ops or full-time internships - Co-op students are occasionally able to take a class on campus during a work term. Such an arrangement depends on the willingness and ability of your employer to offer you a flextime schedule of forty hours per week. Taking a distance learning course or a course at another university is also sometimes possible. First, ask if your supervisor approves of you taking a class during a work term. If you plan to take an IPFW course during a work term, contact your co-op advisor to obtain the correct registration permit. If you wish to take a course at another institution during your work term, check with your academic advisor in advance to make sure the credits will transfer.

What if I have more questions?

Need more information? Stop by Neff Hall, Room 337 or call 260-481-6939.

Other areas of interest:

Office of Academic Internships, Cooperative Education, and Service Learning

Academic Internships

Service Learning

What's Co-op?

A video by Joshua Feller, IPFW student