Internship vs Coop

Written by Kira Grieve

Kira is a Senior Campaign Manager at The Selling Factory. Over the last year and a half, she has used her education (Double Gator from UF) and experiences from traveling to coach and encourage over 100 college/UF students on sales outreach, sales tactics and personal goals. 

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The majority of employers offer ongoing jobs to successful interns after their program has ended. Even if a full-time position is not offered, completing an internship increases your chances of employment later on. However, these types of temporary employment aren’t always the best option for everyone. 

An alternative to the traditional internship for students is a co-op. While they function similarly, there are some key differences that should be considered. 

Here’s everything you need to know about pursuing an internship vs coop position. 

What is an Internship?

An internship is a type of position with a company or business that involves them working to gain experience. However, they differ from normal jobs in that they aren’t salaried and are often exclusively for college students. They come in all kinds of forms, such as summer positions to year-long ones.

Many college students pursue some kind of internship over the summer between courses. In some cases, these may count as college credits toward their graduation. There are also some graduate programs that require an internship in order to graduate at all. 

Examples of Internship Opportunities

There are various types of internships that depend entirely on the company offering them.

Ideally, a student or graduate would land a paid internship. These are most common in professional fields such as medicine or engineering. They function much like normal positions designated for learners who want to grow in the field. 

Next, you’ll have a work research internship. These are most commonly taken on by students who need the experience to graduate. 

Unpaid internships don’t provide any kind of paycheck, though they may cover certain things like the cost of food and travel. Alternatively, a company may provide college credits for your time. 

There are also fellowships that focus on professional development and provide payment. 

What is a Coop?

A co-op, or cooperative education, is a type of educational work offered to college students. These are normally paid, full-time positions that provide an opportunity to learn on the job. The length of time they last is anywhere from a semester to a year. 

In most cases, a person participating in a co-op does so for an entire semester in place of classroom education. They’ll spend a semester taking courses and then work the next semester at a co-op of their choosing. 

Qualifications to enter a co-op position will depend on the school and the organization. For example, some require a higher class standing. Others don’t require full-time enrollment. 

Examples of Co-Op Opportunities

Like with internships, there are plenty of industries that make use of co-op positions. These include engineering, architecture, environmental studies, geography, and hospitality. 

It’s a great opportunity for businesses to both educate students and fish for qualified staff members after graduation. A company needs approval from a college to hire students, so it’s also a safe option for the person pursuing these positions. 

A couple of examples of high-paying co-op jobs include:

  • AWS solution architect
  • Data science co-op
  • Petroleum engineering co-op
  • Cyber security co-op
  • Plumbing co-op

Internship vs Coop

After all of that information, you may still wonder which educational opportunity is best for your needs and industry. Both provide a chance to learn on the job, and both have positions that pay at least a minimum wage. 

The differences come down to factors such as payment availability, when you can access them, the responsibilities granted, and whether it secures you a job when you’re done. 


The first major difference between an internship vs a coop is whether you’ll end up paid or not. 

A co-op job is almost always a paid position. It functions much like a learning job where you’re expected to fulfill many of the same duties as other full-time employees. While you may not receive as much as other employees, you should still expect a regular paycheck. 

In contrast, internships do not have to be paid. Some companies get away with hiring interns and offering college credits in exchange. Others utilize things like stipends for food and transportation. 

While a paid internship is often more difficult to acquire, it shows that you’re working with a more reputable company. It’ll also be easier on your bank account if you acquire one after graduation or land a full-time internship. 

Educational Credits

As mentioned, internships have the opportunity to provide educational credits that go towards your diploma. This is useful if you want to earn experience on the job without slowing down your path to graduation. It’s also much easier to acquire this type of position as opposed to a paid one. 

A co-op position may also help to fulfill elective credit requirements. This is best suited for someone who already has a job. 


Generally speaking, interns aren’t given the same kind of responsibilities as hired employees. An intern’s role is to shadow the other people in their department and assist them with things like clerical duties and taking minutes at meetings. 

If you’re hired for a co-op position, then you may be given similar jobs to a full-time employee. For example, an oral health coordinator position at a clinic may assist with oral health evaluations, schedule appointments, and participate in team meetings. 

Time It Takes to Complete

Both internships and co-ops range in how long they last and how many hours you’re expected to work. 

Internships are often part-time positions that last anywhere from a few months to half a year. Some last longer and offer full-time positions. 

Co-ops usually last at least a full semester or summer as a replacement for classroom education. As such, they’re also usually full-time, paid positions. 

Job Opportunities After Completion

When an internship finishes, there is no guarantee that you’ll continue with the company. Some places use these opportunities to find new hires, but there will often be students that still need to continue their education.

Since co-op positions run for longer with more responsibilities, they’re more likely to hire learners that complete them. It’s the better option for career advancement. 

Plan Your Career Growth Wisely

Ultimately, the debate of internship vs coop depends on your current status and desires. Internships are best suited for students that want to try out different positions and have more flexibility. Co-ops are better for professionals who wish to advance their experience in a specific field. 

If you’re a company that wants to hire new workers for your sales team, then consider The Selling Factory. We can connect you with college students that will do the research and generate leads for the rest of your team. Contact us to learn more and ask any questions. 

Victoria Zamitalo

Campaign Manager

Victoria received a BA in History and Economics from the University of Florida in May 2023. She is a driven sales professional with over 5 years combined experience in customer service, consumer relations and outbound sales, and is deeply passionate about fostering close relationships between consumers and sellers. She aims to train the next generation of sales professionals in not only the tricks of the trade, but also interpersonal skills that make sales the exciting and ever-changing industry that it is.

Mia Semel

Campaign Manager

Before graduating with a B.A. in Sustainability Studies, Mia took on multiple roles while interning at The Selling Factory, including sales development, recruiting, and leading campaigns. She is an active listener and effective communicator, specializing in fostering genuine connections and finding common ground among differing perspectives. She aims to find practical, creative solutions regarding sustainable development, biodiversity and the climate crisis.

Kira Grieve

Senior Campaign Manager

Kira graduated from the University of Florida and received her Master of Science in Entrepreneurship. She is passionate about helping businesses grow and connecting with new people. Some of her hobbies include traveling and hiking. She hopes to visit all of the National Parks one day!

Jared Glosser

Vice President

After graduating from UF in 2014 with a B.A. in history, Jared started his professional career Fundraising for a non-partisan political lobby in South Florida. In 2016, Jared moved back to Gainesville to work for a non-profit, recruit students for international travel opportunities, and pursue his MBA at UF. Jared has been with The Selling Factory since 2019 focusing on operations, client onboarding, and client success.

Ian Massenburg

Chief Operating Officer

A graduate of University of Florida (B.A. 2001), Ian Massenburg brings over 18 years of sales executive and sales management experience to The Selling Factory. Before coming on-board, Ian worked alongside Brad at Infinite Energy, and then spent his next 3 years as VP of Partnerships selling SaaS products B2B. Ian brings his vast knowledge and experience to the team and to our partner companies served.

Damien Paulk

Campaign Manager

Damien is a University of Florida graduate that recently joined the team full time after working as a Sales Development Intern for one year. As a Campaign Manager, Damien looks forward to contributing to the growth and success of The Selling Factory. When Damien is not at work he enjoys exploring Gainesville with his girlfriend and dog or watching the Gators dominate college football.

Brendan Viehman

Campaign Manager

Brendan graduated from Liberty University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Project Management. For the past 5 years, he has enjoyed working with blockchain technology and cryptocurrency development. In his free time, he surfs and makes personal finance videos for his YouTube channel.

Savannah Howard

Campaign Manager

A graduate from the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications, Savannah obtained her Bachelor of Science in public relations with a concentration in French. After almost two years as a sales development intern for The Selling Factory, she joined the leadership team in 2021 taking on the role of Campaign Manager. In her free time, Savannah enjoys going to concerts and festivals and cooking for her friends and family.

Zack Kampf

Campaign Manager

Zack is a creative technologist with experience in advertising, event planning, and game design. He started as an SDR in 2018 and has been with TSF ever since. Upon graduating UF in 2019 he became a campaign manager and is currently seeking a master's degree from NYU. In his spare time, you can find him at the intersection of Art & Technology!

Josiah Blakemore

Growth Manager

Josiah has over 10 years of sales experience, worked with Brad and Ian at Infinite Energy, and also spent time selling SaaS as Director of Partnerships at SharpSpring. He’s always been very competitive and has a love for sports and games. He enjoys solving problems and coaching team members to do the same!

Sue-Ming Frauenhofer

Marketing Manager

Sue-Ming received both her B.S. in Psychology and M.S. in Management from The University of Florida. As a student, she took on multiple roles while interning at The Selling Factory, including sales development, marketing, and recruiting, eventually leading to her current role as Marketing Manager. She enjoys refining her taste in music and visual art, engaging in mindfulness and meditative practices, and frolicking outside with her sidekick pup.

Adam Grossman

Chief Development Officer

Adam is an ordained rabbi, who has founded multiple ventures focused on workforce development. Hired as CEO by a failing non-profit, in over 5 years, his ingenuity saved the organization, which led to recognize it as one of North America’s most innovative Jewish non-profits. His expertise to identify, cultivate, and on-board talent ensures our student teams meet our partners’ needs.

Brad Gamble

Chief Executive Officer

After graduating from UF in 1999 with a B.S.B.A, Brad Gamble has dedicated himself to sales management, branding, coaching, and building companies. He served as the VP of Sales & Marketing for Infinite Energy until 2014, when he founded The Selling Factory. He has dedicated himself to teaching critical skills to tomorrow’s leaders, and helping companies achieve sales success and revenue growth.