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Work-Based Learning

Work-Based Learning (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

1 Apply Early

Complete the WBL application 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.

2 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 liaison. If your advisor isn’t available, contact our WBL liaison at 252-335-0821 ext. 2232.

3 Prepare a Resume and Start Your Job Search

While we can’t guarantee employment to any student seeking a WBL experience, COA has partnerships with organizations interested in nonpaid interns. There is also a WBL jobs site offering resources and guidance for your job search.

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.

4 Notify Us of Your WBL Arrangement

Once you’ve secured employment, contact your advisor or WBL liaison. 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.

5 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 to secure the position you want and start working in time to complete the required hours.

To accommodate you and employer schedules, 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 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 “COE” or “WBL” or contact the WBL liaison or your advisor.

To be eligible, students 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 liaison
  • 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.

WBL classes typically offer one or two 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 one-credit-hour class, or 320 hours (20 hours per week over the 16-week semester) for a two-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

WBL Agreement

Employer’s Student Evaluation

Student Self Evaluation

WBL Approved Programs

WBL is a required class in the following program:


If you have questions or a possible WBL job opportunity for a COA student, contact our WBL liaison at 252-335-0821 ext. 2232.

Employer Position Request Form

COA and the participating employer agree to adhere to placement procedures and employment practices which conform to all state, federal, and local laws as well as the program requirements at COA.

WBL starts at the beginning of the spring semester (January), summer semester (May) and fall semester (August). Please call our office four to eight weeks prior to start the recruiting process.

Participating Programs

WBL is an option in the following programs:

  • Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration (HVAC) Technology
  • Aviation Systems Technology
  • Business Administration
  • Computer Integrated Machining
  • Culinary Arts
  • Electrical Systems Technology
  • Healthcare Business Informatics
  • Human Services Technology
  • Medical Office Administration
  • Professional Crafts: Jewelry
  • Welding Technology


Work assignments are scheduled to meet students’ academic needs as well as employers’ needs and requirements. The WBL program is designed to be flexible to accommodate student and employer schedules. Students will be given work assignments that relate to their field of study, interests, and abilities, enhance and reinforce their education and provide opportunities for career exploration.

Most students work and attend classes at the same time.

Selection of WBL Site

Students are screened by their faculty advisor prior to participating in the WBL program.

Students aren’t assigned to employers. Students will submit resumes to companies and agencies of interest. Employers are responsible for screening applicants, arranging interviews and offering their positions to the students who can best fulfill the job requirements. Students will then decide whether to accept positions.

Compensation and Benefits

We do encourage employers to pay WBL students. Employers determine the rate of pay according to their established policies, the nature of assignments, quality of work, and background and education level of students. Employers should be aware that paid positions typically elicit a greater response from students.

Employers aren’t required to provide students with health insurance or other employee benefits. Employers will be asked to sign an agreement outlining their obligations to student hires, including providing Workers’ Compensation coverage unless the student is a non-paid intern.


Students are assigned an employer supervisor at the workplace to assist them throughout the semester and to evaluate their job performance.

Required Time

Students complete either a one-credit-hour (160 hours — average 10 hours/week for 16 weeks) or a two-credit-hour (320 hours — average 20 hours/week for 16 weeks).

Placement/Termination of Student Placement

WBL arrangements occasionally don’t work out for employers. In this event, please contact the WBL Faculty Coordinator or the WBL Liaison at 252-335-0821 ext. 2232 or

WBL Liaison

  • Jennings, Lynn

  • Liaison, Work-Based Learning; Associate Professor/Program Coordinator, Medical Office Administration and Office Administration

  • Elizabeth City Campus: FC 214

  • 252-335-0821 ext. 2232