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Internships and Co-Ops

Internships & Co-Ops

Well over 80% of Purdue Engineering students will graduate with at least one internship or co-op experience under their belt. Internships and co-ops provide engineering students with amazing opportunities to gain practical, real-world experience, as well as significant salaries. While starting salaries can vary between employers and industries, we often see starting salaries of around $20 per hour for a student's first internship or co-op experience!

The primary difference between internships and co-ops is the duration of work. Internships are typically one-time employment opportunities between a student and an employer (meaning students typically have to re-apply to work for them in a future term), whereas co-ops consist of two or more work sessions with the same employer over a given time. Purdue students can earn a co-op certificate after completing three work sessions (equivalent to about one year of full time work).

Internships offer students excellent flexibility to work for multiple employers in multiple industries over their course of time as a student to see which employer and industry they might want to pursue full-time after graduation. Most internship opportunities take place during the summer, though some opportunities also exist during the fall and spring semesters.

Co-ops, on the other hand, provide an unparalleled breadth and depth of experience within an industry because students will spend multiple work sessions with their employer. Co-ops consist of 3-5 work sessions (minimum of 2 with the same employer), that provides students the equivalent to one year of full-time work experience, or more, depending on the number of sessions completed. Students typically rotate through different departments, sometimes even different locations, within a company for each of their co-op sessions to gain a variety of experiences.

While not as many students participate in co-ops as they do internships, co-ops are a fantastic choice for students who have a pretty good idea of what industry and/or employer they want to work for after graduation. For more information about co-op programs at Purdue, visit the Office of Professional Practice's website. In addition to co-ops, the Office of Professional Practice also offers internship opportunities through the Interns for Indiana program.

Most Purdue Engineering students will participate in internship or co-op experiences and take advantage of the fact that there are opportunities available across the country and around the world! Over 1,000 unique employers will visit Purdue's campus every year to recruit students for internships, co-ops, and full-time jobs. There are over 30 career fairs that take place every year, including one of the largest student-run career fairs in the country called Industrial Roundtable.

Global Engineering Alliance for Research & Education (GEARE)

If you want an all-inclusive global program that's not available anywhere else, look no further than GEARE! GEARE is Purdue’s premier international work experience program. It provides a one-of-a-kind opportunity to integrate language study, study abroad, cultural training, domestic and international work/research experiences, and global design team projects into the 4-year Engineering curriculum. Students completing the program will earn a Global Engineering Studies Minor while enhancing the intercultural competencies necessary to be effective leaders within the global work environment. The benefits of co-op, experienced around the globe!