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Career Development Center

Cooperative Education

What is Experiential Learning?

A high percentage of students today are working their way through college, and a great many liberal arts students are undecided about their educational/career goals. If you are one of them, experiential learning may be a valuable element of your personal career planning process. These programs integrate your classroom curricula with periods of practical experience in a workplace related to your major field of study and career objectives. The blend of classroom theory and practical on-the-job exposure may help you explore careers, solidify decisions about career choices, and obtain practical work place experience in your field of interest. Classroom learning is supported and reinforced by a series of working experiences in business, industry, health, or public sector agencies.

Benefits for Students:

  • Provides an opportunity for career exploration
  • May increase motivation to be successful in academic studies
  • Helps one develop self-confidence and professional skills
  • If a paid opportunity, can help defray college expenses
  • Provides useful contacts and networking for future employment

Benefits for Participating Employers:

  • Provides extra hands in the workplace to accomplish employer service goals
  • Brings new ideas and the enthusiasm of new learners to the work site
  • Provides employees opportunity to participate in on-site education of students
  • May help the employer recruit and train future workers at lower cost
  • Establishes business networks through students returning to campus

What Kinds of Experiential Learning Opportunities are Available?

Cooperative Education (Co-Op)

This program is called Cooperative Education (Co-Op) because it involves a cooperative alliance (partnership) between SFSC faculty, students, and local employers. Cooperative education (Co-Op) provides students with opportunities to learn about careers by spending time in a typical workplace that is related to their college major or career interests. Students, college faculty, and employers work together to provide a plan for students to integrate periods of relevant employment with campus study. The Cooperative Education program is a very practical way of learning. You could earn up to 7 hours of college credit (over the span of several terms) while working in positions related to your academic and career goals. Co-Op placements may be paid or unpaid, although most students volunteer their time at a relevant work site.

To earn Co-Op credit you must:

  • Apply for and be accepted to the Co-Op Program. (Applications are submitted to the director of the SFSC Career Development Center.)
  • Work with the Career Center to identify an acceptable work site in which to complete your Co-Op hours. (Although many students are placed at a work site by the Career Center staff, it may be possible for a student already employed to complete a Co-Op for college credit at their current work site if such a position meets the program qualifications, affords opportunity for new learning, and is approved in advance by the Co-Op director.)
  • Work schedule and salary/stipend (if applicable) is mutually agreed upon by you and the employer. Most Co-Op opportunities are unpaid, although occasionally paid positions are available.
  • Complete a program orientation.
  • Register for an appropriate Co-Op course and pay normal tuition rates.
  • Spend three hours per week at your Co-Op site in return for each one credit hour for which you register and complete several assignments during the term.

During a Co-Op experience, college credit is granted not for merely
spending time in a workplace but, instead, for your documentation of your learning
that occurs as a result of those hours spent in the workplace!

To participate in liberal arts Co-Op (Co-Op provided through the Division of Arts and Sciences), you must:

  • Be a current SFSC student in good standing who is registered for SFSC classes during the term of the Co-Op experience.
  • Have successfully earned at least 12 college credit hours.
  • Have successfully earned at least 12 college credit hours at SFSC.
  • Hold an overall grade point average (GPA) of 2.5 or higher.
  • Meet all requirements of the selected employer work site. This may include orientation, background screening, interview, or other items.
  • Be registered for the Co-Op course.

For more information, review the Participant’s Guide for Cooperative Education
for Liberal Arts/Division of Arts and Sciences Students.

To apply, please e-mail or fax the Co-Op Application 
to Colleen Rafatti at


Internships give students opportunities to learn about careers and gain valuable work experience, but they provide no college credit. Most internships are unpaid, although some do provide a small salary. Internships are a way to explore both potential careers and possible future workplaces of interest. They also provide students who have little or no prior work experience the chance to practice technical, communication, problem-solving, and teamwork skills. And, they are an excellent way for students to begin to build a professional network that may be beneficial when later seeking permanent employment.

To participate in an internship you must:

  • Be a current or former SFSC student in good standing.
  • Hold an overall grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 or higher.
  • Meet all requirements of the selected employer work site. This may include orientation, background screening, interview, or other items.

Available internships are posted on the SFSC Career Center website on the Job Postings page.

If you would like to pursue any of the posted internships or to inquire about other opportunities
that might be possible to arrange, contact the director, Career Development Center.

Currently available part-time jobs and Work-Study positions are posted on the SFSC Career Center website on the Job Postings page.

Career Development Center
South Florida State College
600 West College Drive
Avon Park, FL 33825

To contact us:
Phone: 863-784-7410
Fax: 863-784-7319