Difference Between Coop and Internship

7 minute read
Difference Between Co-op and Internship

Cooperative education, often known as co-ops or coops, and internship programmes can be beneficial experiences for students wishing to apply their knowledge and abilities while gaining experience in their chosen profession. These experiences may lead to a job offer or assist you in standing out as a better candidate when applying for jobs after graduation. These names are frequently interchanged, although they refer to two separate opportunities. In this blog, we will cover everything you need to know about the difference between a coop and internship.

What is Coop?

Co-op education, often known as cooperative education, is a course that allows you to obtain real-world experience in a field connected to your studies. Most co-op courses are designed so that each term or semester of school is followed by a term or semester of work. A work term is a period of time spent working outside of school.  

Know more about top Co-op Courses in Canada

What is an Internship? 

An internship is a type of on-the-job training that allows a student to try out a potential vocation or job while still in school. These are popular among graduate and undergraduate students because they typically allow them to begin acquiring the professional abilities that they will need for any future employment. 

How to Answer ‘Why Should You Be Hired for This Internship?’

Difference between Coop and Internship

Even though both internships and co-ops offer a variety of employment benefits, there are some key differences between coop and internship. 

  • Time commitment: Co-ops are usually full-time jobs that last for multiple terms, whereas internships are frequently part-time and last for a shorter period of time.
  • Payment: During a work term, students in a co-op are normally paid a full-time wage. Internships, on the other hand, may be paid or unpaid, depending on the programme and company.
  • Mobility: Co-op programs usually require students to commit to working for the same firm for numerous terms. Internships provide additional freedom because you can perform many internships during your academic career and are not required to work for the same employer or in the same field.
  • Degree duration: Since you are taking certain semesters off to work, participating in a co-op programme may lengthen the time it takes you to complete your academic degree. Because students frequently take classes during their internships or complete the internship programme during the summer, internships do not normally add to the time it takes to obtain a degree.
Credits: Vancouver International Students

When to Consider Co-op Education?

After understanding the major difference between coop and internship, what do you think is a better option for you? The answer is based on your academic and professional objectives. Here are a few reasons why you should consider joining a coop over an internship: 

  • You’re Working in a Competitive Environment: Unlike internships, co-ops allow students to immerse themselves in their chosen field and develop abilities that will impress prospective employers. In a competitive job market or industry, this can provide you with a significant advantage over your competitors.
  • You’ve Decided on a Major and a Career Path: Because co-ops can be a significant time commitment, you should have a chosen major and, ideally, a career plan in mind. You’ll be able to get the most out of a co-op programme if you do it this way.
  • You Require a Source of Income: Internships without pay are becoming less prevalent, yet they still exist. A co-op will help you earn some extra cash while building your career if you desire a guaranteed payment.

When to Consider an Internship?

You must first decide whether an internship is an appropriate option for you before you can figure out how to secure one. Here are a few reasons why an internship might be the best option for you after understanding the difference between coop and internship.

  • You Consider Looking at Several Job Options: Internships are a great way to get a taste of different occupations. Are you a math major, for example? Internships for math majors are available, as well as opportunities to try out alternative jobs.
  • You Want to Graduate as soon as Possible: Because co-ops entail taking complete semesters off to get job experience, they may cause your graduation date to be pushed back. If that’s a deal-breaker for you, summer internships might be a better choice.
  • You’re in your Senior Year: As they have more experience, college juniors and seniors have a better chance of landing internships than freshmen. Applying for paid internships is a preferable alternative if you already have an attractive resume.

Universities Abroad Offering Coop Education and Internships 

Here’s a list of topmost Canadian universities and American universities that are incredible in providing internships and co-op education. 

Coop/Internship Work-Permit Eligibility Criteria

If you are enrolled in a course that includes a coop or internship component, you must possess a valid coop/internship work permit and study permit for your coop or internship placements. To be eligible for a work permit, you must obtain the following requirements: 

  • In Canada, a letter from your work department confirming the mandatory nature of the work experience
  • Valid study permit 
  • The employment in question is a requirement of your program
  • The employment must constitute less than 50% of your program

Co-op requirements for international students applying in the USA are: 

  • International students are required to obtain a work authorization on an F-1 visa known as Curricular Practical Training (CPT). 

How to Apply?

Below mentioned is the online application process for international students applying for coop and/or internship work permits as well as study permits: 

  • Step 1: Visit the apply online application page of the desired country immigration website and fill out the “Check your eligibility to apply questionnaire”. Complete the questionnaire and at the end of it, you will be provided with the documents checklist. 
  • Step 2: Print the document checklist and write down the personal reference code provided on it. This is needed in order to initiate your co-op work permit application through your account. 
  • Step 3: Sign in to your account and refer to steps for instructions. 
  • Step 4: Upload the required documents. 
  • Step 5: Pay the required fees. 
  • Step 6: Wait to receive your study permit or work permit. 

Which is Right for You?

Internships and co-ops can both be incredibly beneficial to students. Consider the following factors to help you select which type of experiential education is best for you:

  • Have you chosen a major or a course of study?
  • How much time are you willing to spend on a job while attending classes?
  • Do you require a source of income?

If you’re still undecided about your field of study, an internship can help you test the waters by allowing you to work in a variety of sectors or roles and focus on the industry that most interests you. However, if you are already dedicated to a specific sector, a co-op programme would likely benefit you more, as co-ops allow you to dive deeper into full-time employment in your selected role while also gaining a better grasp of the industry as a whole.


What does co-op mean?

Co-op education, often known as cooperative education, is a programme that allows students to work in an industry connected to their subject of study. 

Do you get paid in a co-op job?

Yes, university and college students who are placed at firms or other organisations for a specific period of time are compensated for their efforts.

What is the benefit of co-op education or internship?

Internships and co-ops have a number of advantages. Both programmes will allow you to gain relevant work experience in your chosen field, which may lead to greater job options after graduation.

What are some examples of coop and internship?

Several industries and positions provide co-op and internship opportunities. Co-ops and internships are particularly prevalent in the industries such as accounting, engineering, IT, health and medicine, law and courts, PR, management and consulting, etc. 

Is it better to do a co-op with a single firm or a number of internships with various companies?

The finest opportunity for you is determined by the personal aspects that are most important to you. Consider whether you prefer full-time or part-time job experience, the options your institution offers for your course of study, and the type of role and responsibilities you wish to obtain from your experience when deciding which programme is right for you.

Part-Time Jobs in Canada for International Students

We hope that this blog has provided you with all of the required information on the difference between coop and internship. If you need professional career advice, contact the specialists at Leverage Edu on 180057200, who will guide you through every step and ensure your admission to a preferred university abroad! 

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *



15,000+ students realised their study abroad dream with us. Take the first step today.
Talk to an expert