What is an internship?
An internship is any carefully monitored work or service experience in which a student has intentional learning goals and reflects actively on what he/she is learning throughout the experience.
How does an internship benefit my organization?
- Provides a year round source of highly motivated pre-professionals
- Students bring new perspectives to old problems
- Visibility of your organization is increased on campus
- Successful recruiting provides quality candidates for temporary or seasonal positions and projects
- Allows freedom for professional staff to pursue more creative projects
- Students provide a flexible, cost-effective work force not requiring a long-term employer commitment
- Internships are proven, cost-effective way to recruit and evaluate potential employees
- Your image in the community is enhanced as you contribute your expertise to the educational enterprise
What does an internship look like?
You want to promote your ability to do the job. You are trying to sell yourself. Present your skills, values and interests in a manner that will make them want to know more about you and possibly offer you a position. You want to be able to select the best possible opportunity for yourself. You should try to get a sense of the workplace environment when you are interviewing. Try to decide if it would be a great place for you to work in the future.
How do I begin an internship program?
- The duration can be from a month to two years, but usually lasts from three to six months
- Generally a one-time experience
- May be part-time or full-time
- May be paid or non-paid (sometimes restricted by academic program)
- They may be part of an educational program and carefully monitored and evaluated for academic credit or may be part of a learning plan that someone develops individually
- There is an intentional “leaning agenda” built into the experience
- Learning activities common to most internships include learning objectives, observation, reflection, evaluation and assessment
- An effort is made to establish a reasonable balance between the intern’s learning goals and the specific work an organization needs done
- Internships promote academic, career and/or personal development
How can I prepare for my interview?
- Set goals—long-term and short-term for your organization
- Write a plan—part of this includes writing a job description, planning pay/benefits, determining academic background, supervision
- Recruit an intern—develop relationships with the colleges and programs
- Manage the intern—start with orientation, provide resources, monitor and provide feedback and evaluate performance
Do I have to pay interns?
Per US Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), you don’t have to pay interns who qualify as leaders/trainees. There are six criteria for determining trainee status:
- Interns cannot displace regular employees
- Interns are not guaranteed a job at the end of the internship
- Interns are not entitled to wages during the internship
- Interns must receive training from your organization, even if it somewhat impedes the work
- Interns must get hands-on experience with equipment and processes used in your industry
- Interns’ training must primarily benefit them, not the organization
Do I need to cover interns under workers’ and unemployment compensation?
Workers’ compensation boards have found that interns contribute enough to a company to make them employees. It’s wise to cover interns under your workers’ compensation policy even though you aren’t required to do so. Student interns are not generally eligible for unemployment compensation at the end of an internship.
What about international students as interns?
The most common visa types employers see on college campuses when recruiting international undergraduate or graduate students are the F-1 and J-1 visas. An F-1 visa is granted to a person coming to the US to study. The visa holder plans to return home after completing studies. Students are granted F-1 status until the completion of the academic program and 12 months of post-program practical training. Anything outside of study, including employment, is an exception to the visa. Authorization for employment is strictly limited to certain situations:
- The student holding F-1 status for a full academic year and in good academic standing may work off campus. Such work authorization is granted when the student has sustained unforeseen economic hardship. Also, the student may not work for more than 20 hours per week when school is in session, but may work full-time during holidays and vacations, including breaks between terms, provided the student intends to register for the next school term.
Curricular Practical Training: An F-1 student may perform curricular practical training prior to the completion of the educational program as part of his or her educational experience. The INS defines this type of training as “alternative work/study, internship, cooperative education , or any other type of required internship or practicum that is offered by sponsoring employers through agreements with the school.”
Post-Completion Practical Training: This is temporary employment directly related to the student’s major area of study that takes place after the student completes a full course of study. Authorization for this training may be granted for a maximum of 12 months of full-time or part-time work. Those on a student visa can only gain authorization once for this type of training.
Employer's support for Internationational student Internships
Employer support to process international students to work provided by:
Immigration Support Services
1300 Bent Creek Blvd.
Mechanicsburg, PA 17055
Where can I get more information about internships?
Career Services Center
University of Central MO
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Cooperative Education and Internship Association
National Association of Colleges and Employers
National Society for Experiential Education