An internship is a limited (usually 2-3 months), one-time work or service experience in a career field, under the supervision of a practicing professional, with a specific learning agenda designed to give a student exposure and experience to prepare the student to enter that field.
Benefits to employers:
- Interns provide a source of highly-motivated, quality students who have proven to have superior academic skills and personal character.
- Employers often hire interns for full time positions, having seen their work product and attitude.
- Students hired from internships tend to have higher performance evaluations and lower absenteeism than the typical new hire.
- Students who have proven themselves in internships and seek employment in that same field are reported to have greater motivation and a more mature attitude toward their work, with a greater likelihood of rapid career advancement.
- Employers who participate in internship programs become contributors to the educational process while building positive college relations.
Benefits to students:
- Students gain a unique inside perspective on their primary career field, and are able to see the relevance of their academic studies to the real world.
- Students get a head start in their career field and sometimes secure full-time employment upon graduation.
- Students may earn income to support their college expenses.
- Students learn job-seeking and job-holding skills, gaining maturity, professionalism and confidence.
Types of Internships:
Internships may be classified as:
- Paid or unpaid.
- For academic credit or not for academic credit.
Paid or Unpaid Internships:
While many companies offer paid internships, not all do. The matter of remuneration is at the discretion of the employer and the student (adhering to current minimum wage requirements). However, employers should recognize that oftentimes students must leave or decline part time work in order to participate in an internship. Also, a salary, even small, will likely generate greater interest among students. Furthermore, interns often contribute significantly to the company’s operations and are deserving of compensation.
According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), the average salary for non-technical, undergraduate internships in 2001 was $13.06. Under U. S. Dept of Labor standards, an intern may be considered to be a regular employee, and thereby entitled to compensation, unless certain conditions are met. Among those conditions are 1) the position is considered as a training experience, similar to that offered in a vocational school; 2) the training is for the benefit of the student; 3) the student does not displace regular employees, but works under the close supervision of a regular employee; 4) the employer gains no immediate advantage from the student’s work; 5) the student is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the training; and 6) the employer and student agree that the student is not entitled to wages for the time spent training.
Internships for Academic Credit:
Internships that do not involve academic credit may be arranged by the student and the employer. The work may involve as many hours as the student desires. In this case, the internship is identical to a part-time paid or unpaid work position. Internships for which a student is seeking academic credit must be arranged by the student in consultation with his academic advisor. The student completes an Internship Request Form and, with the academic advisor, determines learning objectives, supervision guidelines, numbers of hours and credit units, and reports/work product to be submitted to the academic advisor.
Best Practices for InternshipsThe National Association of Colleges and Employers has evaluated internship programs and has identified a number of practices for educational institutions, employers and students that should always be present for a successful internship program:
- The student’s experience with the company should emphasize unique job or career related activities that the student could not obtain outside the internship.
- The employer should inform internal managers and supervisors of the objectives of the internship program and the presence of the intern.
- The employer should provide for an orientation to the company and the work site, clarifying internal rules, operating procedures and expectations. Key managers should be introduced, and the intern should receive an overview of the company’s organizational structure.
- The employer should ensure the intern has regular contact with a designated supervisor, who will complete a performance review at the conclusion of the internship.
- The employer should identify selection criteria for students, who should compete for the internship as they would a full-time position. This should include a proper resume and a formal interview.
The Master's College recommends that no more than 40% of the work performed by students involved in internships for academic credit be consist of routine administrative duties.
How to Offer an Internship
Employers who wish to offer internship positions to students of The Master's College may do so by going directly onto the college website at www.masters.edu. From the main page, navigate to Campus Services, then to Student Career Center. On the Office of Student Employment and Professional Development webpage, select The Master's College Job Board. On the Job Board page, an employer first establishes an identification record, and obtains an Employer Identification Number. Using that ID Number, the employer may then enter current and future internship or job positions.
For questions regarding the internship program of The Master's College, contact the Office of Student Employment and Professional Development at (800) 568-6248 ext. 3716 or OSEPD@masters.edu.