Explore Careers and Gain Experience Through Experiential Learning

Are you working your way through college?  Are you still undecided about your educational and career goals? If so, an experiential learning activity may prove to be a valuable element of your career planning process. Experiential learning programs integrate your classroom curricula with periods of practical experience in a workplace related to your major field of study and career objectives. This 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. These hands-on learning experiences may occur in a variety of settings such as business, industry, health, or public sector agencies.

Let us tell you more about these exciting programs: 

Cooperative Education (Co-Op)

  • Cooperative Education (Co-Op) involves a partnership between the SFSC Career Center, college faculty, students, and local employers.
  • Cooperative education (Co-Op) provides you the opportunity to spend time in a typical workplace that is related to your college major or career interest- and to earn college credit at the same time.
  • With input from the Career Center Director and your faculty advisor, you will develop a learning plan, complete career exploration and employability skills assignments, and document completion of a required number of job shadowing hours at an approved site.
  • You could earn up to 7 hours of college credit (over the span of several terms) while observing in positions related to your academic and career goals. A mandatory requirement to earn this credit is that you will spend 45 hours at your co-op site over the course of a college term for each hour of college credit that you seek to earn.
  • Co-Op placements may be paid or unpaid, although most students volunteer their time at a relevant work site.
  • You must meet eligibility criteria (including prior credit hours earned and acceptable GPA) to participate. Some work places require that you complete background screening and/or fingerprinting- which may be conducted at your expense.
  • Co-op courses are not routinely included in the college schedule each term. They are created as requested by students who inquire.
  • Most co-op courses are considered electives and will not meet major requirements for your field of study. Please explore transferability of these credits if you plan to later go to another college or university.

For more information, review the Participants Guide for Cooperative Education.

Service Learning

Service-learning is an educational experience that helps you learn and develop through active participation in thoughtfully organized experiences in nonprofit and community service agencies that provides time for reflection, fosters academic learning, and encourages a sense of caring and civic responsibility. 

Your participation in service-learning can earn you credit toward course and/or graduation requirements in two ways: 

  • Honors Program:  If you are a member of the Honors Program, approved service-learning hours satisfy your graduation requirement of a minimum of 25 documented hours of community service
  • Course-Specific Service-Learning “Extra Credit”:  In selected courses you can earn extra credit toward your course grade by completing a minimum of 5 hours of approved and documented community service.  You may do service-learning hours for several courses in a single term, but you may not count the same hours for more than one course!  Check your course syllabus, or talk to your instructor, to find out if they participate in Service Learning. 

All service-learning hours are completed as a volunteer.  No monetary compensation is provided at any community partner site for your participation.


An internship can provide you the opportunity 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. They are an excellent way for students to begin to build a professional network that may be beneficial when later seeking permanent employment. And, they are an excellent transition for students graduating from college and going on to work.

To participate in an internship you must:

  • Be a current SFSC student or graduate in good standing
  • Meet eligibility criteria (including prior credit hours earned and acceptable GPA). Some work places require that you complete background screening and/or fingerprinting- which may be conducted at your expense

To apply for any of these programs, return your completed Experiential Learning Programs Application to the director of the Career Development Center.

Contact the Career Development Center

Highlands Campus
Building B, Room 111



All services are free. Most services are available to students and the public.