Portland Community College Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Landscape Technology

Cooperative Education for Students

student using binoculars in a field

If you are a community member interested in working with a Landscape Design student on your landscape visit our Student Landscape Design page to request services. Employers interested in hosting a cooperative education LAT student, visit our Cooperative Education for partners page.

What is cooperative education?

Cooperative Education is a nationally recognized program that allows you to earn college credit, while gaining valuable on the job experience in your major area of study. For an overview of the program here at PCC visit the Cooperative Education. The Landscape Technology Program works closely with industry companies and organizations to assist students to obtain practical field knowledge and experience, make informed career decisions, and gain an advantage in the job market.

Cooperative education planning

Cooperative education is required for all the Landscape Technology AAS degrees. Landscape Technology and Environmental Landscape Management Technology students are required to take 6 credits of LAT 280A. Landscape Design students are required to take 3 credits of LAT 280C or LAT 280A. Students pursuing the arboriculture certificate are required to take 3 credits of LAT 280A.

LAT 280A

How many credits of cooperative education am I required to take?

Students working towards their Associates Degree in Environmental Landscape Management Technology or Landscape Technology are required to take two terms for a total of 6 credit hours of Cooperative Education (co-op). Each credit hour requires 30 hours on the job. Typically students complete 3 credits (90 on the job hours) in their first year and finish the remaining 3 credits in their second year of the program.

Getting started: Setting up your cooperative education experience
  1. Read through the Cooperative Education Handbook and review the Learning Objectives and Training Agreement forms. You will have a chance to go through these documents in detail with your faculty advisor.
  2. Consider your options.
    1. Consider your timeline and availability. Ideally your co-op position will start at the beginning of the new term. Think about how you can accomplish 90 hours on the job.
    2. Think about what you would like to learn on a jobsite.
    3. Develop a list of 5-10 potential worksites/companies that meet your desired criteria.
    4. Review current job postings in Panther Works (add in email/job board) related to your areas of interest.
    5. Need help? Contact Career & Jobs Specialist DeAnne Hardy by email or in person.
  3. Email LAT faculty advisor to set up a meeting. During the meeting you will:
    1. Review your list of potential worksites/companies.
    2. Clarify any questions about Cooperative Education.
    3. Discuss potential Learning Objectives
    4. Identify next steps in your planning process.
  4. Reach out to potential worksites.
  5. Work with your new supervisor to draft your learning objectives and training agreement. Identify four learning objectives that are in coordination with your employer’s work and detail what activities you will be doing to accomplish that objective. (i.e. Objective: Improve my wood construction skills. Activity: Assist with building a wooden fence and pergola.) Your last objective (Objective 5) will be to write a 2 page reflection paper on your Co-op experience. Make sure that you and your supervisor sign both forms.
  6. Once you have secured an employer or learning opportunity, contact the faculty advisor for final approval of your Training Agreement and Learning Objectives.
  7. Submit your Learning Objectives and Training Agreement to Career & Jobs Specialist DeAnne Hardy to finalize registration. Cooperative Education paperwork is due at least one week prior to the start of the term in which you will participate in co-op. Remember that any hours worked before registration do not count toward your agreement and any unpaid opportunities cannot begin until you are registered and the term has started.

After your registration is complete, you’ll receive the course syllabus.

What to expect during your cooperative education experience

During your cooperative education experience you’ll be working alongside landscape professionals in the schedule you and your supervisor agreed upon. You are encouraged to communicate with your faculty advisor at any time throughout the term and a final reflection meeting will be scheduled with your instructor other cooperative education students towards end of term. A reflection paper will fulfill one of your objectives for the course. See syllabus for more details.

Completing your cooperative education experience

Your faculty advisor will organize a final meeting with your supervisor and send them the Employer Evaluation. You, your employer and faculty advisor will meet at a mutually agreeable time to discuss the experience and your performance.Upon completion of the meeting, fulfillment of the hour requirements, a satisfactory employer evaluation and the submission of the written assignment, a final grade will be entered by the faculty advisor.

LAT 280C (Landscape Design)

How many credits of cooperative education am I required to take?

Students working towards their Associates Degree in Landscape Design are required to take one term for a total of 3 credit hours of Cooperative Education (co-op). Designers pick one of the following two options:

LAT 280A – (3 credits) The student works for an industry employer. A landscape designer title is not required for these positions, but the work should further industry knowledge as a landscape designer. These 3 credit hours require a minimum of 90 hours on the job.

LAT280C – (3 credits) The student works as a freelance designer. These 3 credit hours equate to a minimum of 90 hours carrying out complete landscape design projects for two unique design clients over the course of the term.

Getting started: Setting up your cooperative education (LAT 280C) experience
  1. Read through the Landscape Design Cooperative Education Guidelines, and review the Landscape Design Learning Objectives and Training Agreement forms.
  2. Email yourLAT co-op ed faculty advisor a minimum of 1 term before you wish to register for 280C to set up a meeting to discuss eligibility and details of the process
  3. Reach out to potential clients
  4. Once you have secured a client, contact your faculty advisor for final approval of your Training Agreement and Learning Objectives.
  5. Submit your Learning Objectives and Training Agreement to Career & Jobs Specialist DeAnne Hardy by email or in person to finalize registration. Cooperative Education paperwork is due at least one week prior to the start of the term in which you will participate in co-op. Remember that any hours worked before registration do not count toward your agreement and any unpaid opportunities cannot begin until you are registered and the term has started.

After your registration is complete, you'll receive the course syllabus.

What to expect during your cooperative education experience

Design students work independently with their clients to create a landscape design. You are encouraged to communicate with your faculty advisor throughout the term. The following meetings are required:

  1. You will meet with the faculty advisor during the first week of the term for an orientation meeting.
  2. A progress meeting with the faculty advisor will be arranged during Week 6.
  3. A final meeting with the faculty advisor will be arranged for the end of the term to present your completed design(s) and other materials.
Completing your cooperative education experience

After the completion of all the learning objectives, the faculty advisor will fill out an Employer Evaluation. Upon completion of the meetings, the client design(s), fulfillment of the learning objectives and a satisfactory employer evaluation, a final grade will be entered by the faculty advisor.