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Work-Based Learning

Work-Based Learning (WBL)

WBL gives you the opportunity to apply class instruction in an actual workplace setting by working for an employer in a position directly related to your program of study.

WBL helps develop the employment skills you need to succeed in the workplace.

  • Communication: the ability to effectively exchange ideas and information with others through oral, written or visual means
  • Interpersonal skills and teamwork: the ability to work effectively with others, analyze situations, establish priorities and apply resources to solve problems and accomplish tasks
  • Problem solving: the ability to identify problems and their potential causes, then develop and implement practical solutions

Application Process

Apply Early

Complete COA’s WBL application (PDF) prior to the semester you plan to begin:

  • Apply during the spring semester for the summer semester
  • Apply during the summer semester for the fall semester
  • Apply during the fall semester for the spring semester

Some departments may have earlier application deadlines. Contact the WBL liaison if you can’t meet deadlines because of extenuating circumstances.

Meet with Your Advisor

If you’re eligible and approved to participate, your advisor will complete the Faculty Approval Worksheet (page two of the application) and forward it to the WBL Program Coordinator. If your advisor isn’t available, contact our WBL Program Coordinator at 252-335-0821 ext. 2365.

Prepare a Resume and Start Your Job Search

Are you looking for a good job? Visit COA’s Career Coach™ to build a resume and apply for regional jobs openings.

International students: U.S. law requires employers to verify the legal work eligibility of all new employees within three days of employment. Contact your advisor to obtain permission before you begin the application process.

Notify Us of Your WBL Arrangement

Once you’ve secured employment, contact your advisor or WBL Program Coordinator. They’ll guide you in finalizing the pre-registration paperwork and obtaining signatures from your site supervisor.

Your current employer may, in some cases, serve as a WBL work site. You’ll need to show that you’re learning new skills and duties for the WBL class.

Register and Pay

When your work site has been determined and your pre-registration paperwork finalized (submitted and approved), you’ll be allowed to register and pay for the WBL class. Visit Tuition and Fees for information on payment.

WBL is available during our spring, summer and fall semesters. Because the program offers curriculum credit, planning is required. The earlier you start the application process, the more likely you’ll be able to secure the position you want and start working in time to complete the required hours.

To accommodate you and your employer, the WBL program is flexible. You’ll typically work part time, from 10 to 20 hours per week (depending on credit hours), while attending school.

WBL experiences may or may not be paid, depending on the employer. COA encourages employers to pay students in the program whenever possible.

If you’re interested in the program, please complete the WBL application (PDF) and meet with your advisor to discuss program and department requirements.

To find out if your program of study offers WBL classes, review the list of approved programs with WBL requirements or options or review your program evaluation by logging in to WebAdvisor (using your student username and password) to find out if WBL is listed. Look for “WBL” or contact the WBL Program Coordinator or your advisor.

To be eligible, you’ll need to:

  • Be currently enrolled in an approved program of study offering WBL
  • Meet any additional requirements of the appropriate academic department(s)
  • Obtain approval from their advisor or WBL Program Coordinator
  • Have legal authorization to work in the U.S.

Meet possible special employer job requirements that could restrict or prevent their participation such as drug screening, use of tools or equipment, age, transportation, licensure, health or criminal record check requirements.

Participation in a WBL experience is ultimately at the employer’s discretion. Students may work at multiple job sites under multiple employers.

Students must meet age and employment requirements established by the North Carolina Department of Labor (NCDOL). Minimum age to participate in work-based learning is subject to the rules and regulations of the NCDOL Youth Employment Laws, the U.S. Department of Labor Fair Labor Standards Act, as well as State Board of Community Colleges Code (SBCCC) that apply to students participating in curriculum courses in general.

Students under the age of 18 must complete an online NCDOL Youth Employment Certificate. The responsibility for filing the certificate lies with the employer.

WBL classes typically offer 1 or 2 credit hours, depending on the program of study. Students work 160 hours in a semester (10 hours per week over the 16-week semester) for a 1 credit hour class, or 320 hours (20 hours per week over the 16-week semester) for a 2 credit hour class.
WBL classes are graded on a letter scale A-F contingent on evaluations, the meeting of learning objectives for the class, completion of required forms and required work hours. All documentation is submitted to the student’s assigned WBL faculty coordinator.

WBL requires you to maintain documentation during the semester. This documentation validates successful completion of the program requirements and is a percentage of the WBL course grade.

Please type your information into the form, then print and sign. You may also print and complete the forms by hand.

WBL Application (PDF)

WBL Agreement (PDF)

WBL Site Visit Form (PDF)

Employer’s Student Evaluation (PDF)

Student Self Evaluation (PDF)

Students under the age of 18 must complete an online NCDOL Youth Employment Certificate. The responsibility for filing the certificate lies with the employer.

WBL Approved Programs

WBL is a required class in the following programs:


Students under the age of 18 must complete an online NCDOL Youth Employment Certificate. The responsibility for filing the certificate lies with the employer.

Career Coach™

Are you looking for qualified employees? Post your regional job openings through COA’s Career Coach Work Opportunities.

  1. Visit Career Coach
  2. Select the “Employer Login/Signup” link
  3. Fill out the information and click “Request Approval”

Once approved you can login and post job openings. Each opening is reviewed and approved by COA before it goes live — you’ll be notified by email. As soon as the listing is approved, it’s automatically added to the Work Opportunity listings and included on the designated career pages.

Work-Based Learning Program Coordinator

  • Sawyer, Barbie

  • Work-Based Learning Program Coordinator; Associate Professor, Information Systems

  • COA – Elizabeth City: FC 213

  • 252-335-0821 ext. 2365