Q. What is an Internship vs. Co-op?
An internship is an opportunity to work in a career related, supervised work assignment. A structured internship should contribute to the student's personal and professional development through challenging, engineering related work assignments.
Internship opportunities can vary in many ways. They:
Can be part-time or full-time commitments (anywhere between 10-40 hrs/week)
Can be held during any semester, summer (or continually)
In the UIC COE program, can earn 0 hour internship credit (no academic credit), but can be put on the student’s permanent UIC college transcript
Can be paid or unpaid, but most engineering internships do pay an hourly rate to the student workerCo-op:
A co-op is a more formal internship program. The student is required to work in an alternating work schedule: students alternate school semesters and work assignments (employer requirements may vary). Please see Engineering Career Center for more information on co-op programs.
Q. How can I benefit from participating in an Engineering Internship program?
From engineering internship and/or co-op experience, students gain practical experience, technical knowledge, financial remuneration, confidence and better understanding of the engineering academic program. The experience gained generally makes students more marketable to employers, thus their job search is more rewarding. In this competitive job market, internships are considered critical to securing full-time employment upon graduation.
Q. Why I Should Be Doing An Internship As A Sophomore, Junior, and/or Senior?
If you do not start building your resume early in your academic career (undergraduate), you will have little to put on your resume and will not have the hands-on experience that employers want. It is very difficult to show your abilities in your field if you have no experience! To be competitive as a job candidate, you need to build your resume while you are in school. No one has yet devised a way to go back in time and get that experience once time has already passed. Of course, if anyone would do that, it would be an engineer…
Some students work part-time around classes. If you are planning to work and attend school, it is better to work in your area of study than to work at a casual job (and it usually pays more $ too). Perhaps working during the summer is best for you. Or, you could be a student who works part-time all year, around your school schedule. Whatever you choose, whether to work continuously for one company during your entire educational career at UIC, or to work at 2, 3, or more different internships, the point is to get experience in your field of study. You may find that by doing so, the experiences will help you shape how you wish to specialize in an area of engineering. You will also gain contacts in the engineering field and a base for future networking. An internship or cooperative education experience is a win-win situation - for you and for the employer. Get started now.
Q. May graduate students (those in UIC Engineering Masters and PhD programs) do internships/co-ops?
Yes. Graduate students can participate in the program, just like Undergrads. All students find their own internships or co-ops and then must inform the ECC. Reminder: Graduate & Undergraduate students who are studying in the USA on a student visa should attend one of the regular UIC OIS (Office for International Services department) workshops on employment & procedures for obtaining work authorization in the USA.
Q. What are the eligibility requirements?
All UIC College of Engineering students are eligible to register with the Engineering Career Center. There is no GPA requirement. To register, you must either attend an internship/registration workshop or, make an appointment with an advisor. Please email email@example.com
to schedule an appointment.
Q. When should I register with the Engineering Career Center?
Students should register with the Engineering Career Center early on in their academic career (freshman or sophomore year). All students are eligible to register. The sooner the students are in the www.uiccareers.com database, the more exposure they will have to employment opportunities.
Q. What is UICcareers.com and why should I utilize it?
It is an online job search program that UIC subscribes to. Many U.S. universities use the system (NACElink/Simplicity program) and we have named ours, "UICcareers." Not only does it serve as an online job search tool for registered UIC students, it is a portal that employers may log onto and search on their own for a potential employee. We, in the ECC, use it regularly to do a database search when a company contacts us looking for a certain type of engineering student to work for them. If you do not keep your profile on UICcareers updated each term, the filters will not find you when we do that search. UICcareers is not connected to the UIC data system, so you must update your profile whenever you get a new phone number, new address; every term when your GPA changes, etc. Students should update their profile information on www.uiccareers.com each semester.
Q. What must I do to have full access to apply for jobs posted on UICcareers.com?
You must have your resume reviewed by an advisor in the ECC. If edits need to be made, the ECC advisor will assist you and communicate that to you. Once this process is completed, the advisor will make the necessary update in the system to allow you full access to apply for posted positions.
Q. Why does UICcareers.com tell me I am the “wrong applicant type?”
There are a few possible answers to this question. The most probable are: (a) you do not have full acess - because you have not had your resume reviewed by an ECC advisor, (b) the requirements of the position posted by the employer does not match the data in your account - you are not a match, therefore, your resume is filtered out of the application process. If this is not correct and you feel you are a correct match, contact the ECC.
Q. How long will it take to get an internship or co-op job?
There is no guarantee that you will find a position. The demand for engineering students depends on the industry and your appropriate qualifications. Students should understand that it may take more than one term to find placement. This is why it’s important to start the process early on in your academic career. You should try to have a minimum of 1 internship on your resume before you graduate; multiple internships are preferable.
Q. When should I start my job search?
You may apply for an internship as early as your freshman year. It is strongly recommended that each student completes a minimum of one internship prior to graduation. Employers prefer that you work at two or more.
Q. How/Where do I find an engineering internship or co-op?
You have many resources available to you. Your network includes Engineer Career Center, www.UICcareers.com, faculty, friends, family, applying directly to company websites, job fairs, utilizing job search engines and many more. If you need more information, attend an ECC workshop and/or contact the ECC at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, see the link on this website for Job Searches.
Q. Students Finding Internships On Their Own
You do not have to use the UICcareers.com website to find a job. It is one of many resources open to you. Applying directly to a company via a company website, through an acquaintance, or any other route, is encouraged and supported. The ECC does not give out internships, it is a resource to help direct you.
Q. After I accept an internship/co-op position, where do I report this information?
You should report all internship, co-op, or full-time positions to the ECC. If you wish to register for ENGR 289 so that the position shows on your transcript, the ECC will need to know quickly in order for paperwork to be completed.
Q. How much does it cost to register with use the Engineering Co-op Program?
It costs nothing. There are no fees for using this program.
Q. How much does it cost if I want my internship or co-op to show on my UIC transcript?
There may or may not be fees associated with putting your on-the-job experience onto your permanent UIC school transcript. It depends on whether or not you will be taking classes that term. Example: If you will be taking classes during a school term and plan to work around your school schedule, there are no additional UIC term fees. You are already paying fees to be registered at the university for that term.
If you are not taking classes for a term, are working at an internship/co-op and you want the internship to show on your UIC transcript, you will have to pay UIC registration fees for that. The course which puts the internship/co-op onto the UIC student transcript is ENGR 289 and is a zero-credit course. Students who enroll in ENGR 289 for zero hour internship credit are obligated to pay standard tuition for a zero credit hour course and the Range 4 tuition and fee schedule typically applies. International students are required to take ENGR 289 in order to process their CPT
(Curricular Practical Training) work authorization application. See the UIC Office for International Services for more information.
Q. International Students & CPT: I am a student studying at UIC on a student visa. Is there something special I need to do before accepting an internship or co-op job offer?
Yes! You must be aware of the opportunities and restrictions of a student visa in regards to employment in the USA. International students may obtain a temporary work authorization to work off-campus; authorizations are made for one term at a time. If off-campus employment is to last longer than one term, the student must apply for a subsequent authorization. The USA program for work authorization for students is titled “Curricular Practical Training” or simply, “CPT.” Students should attend a CPT
/ employment workshop at the UIC OIS (Office of International Services), and read: http://www.ois.uic.edu/students/current/employment/
Follow directions on this link and contact the ECC for an appointment to start the process; email the ECC at ENGRJOBS@UIC.EDU
to set up the appointment. Please allow 14 days from the date you get signed approval from the ECC and deliver that paperwork to OIS before you plan to start your first day of employment. Depending on the time of year, there can be a time lag in procuring a temporary work authorization on your I-20. UIC International students are allowed to work part time -up to 20 hours per week off campus - during the fall and spring school terms, and may work full time during the summer term. CPT
authorization is not required for on-campus employment. For more details, contact OIS. Keep up to date with the OIS website postings: http://www.ois.uic.edu/?section=ifs&page=ifs-employment.pi