An internship is a form of experiential education. In other words, an internship is a learning experience in a work setting. It is an opportunity for students to gain practical, hands-on experience and valuable workplace skills while exploring a particular career and developing professional connections.
Benefits of an Internship
When you participate in an internship experience, you can
Determine if a particular career is a right fit for you
Find out how to prepare for a career in a certain field
Build a strong resume
Develop a network of professional contacts for future opportunities and references
Learn which workplace skills you need to develop
Find out what to expect when you transition into a full-time job
Potentially turn your internship into a full-time job opportunity
Discover what career fields and jobs you DO NOT want to pursue.
*Internships are essential in today's college employment marketplace. Many employers that hire college graduates consider internship experience to be equally important as grades and organizational involvement. When it comes time to interview and hire, employers usually select graduates who have completed internships over those who have not.
Internships can be
Structured or Unstructured - This is usually determined by the employer. An employer may have a structured program in place (like a co-op program) or the employer may not have a structured internship program, but is willing to host an intern in their organization) .
Paid or Unpaid - There are employers who offer financial compensation (like in a co-op program) and other employers do not offer financial compensation, but may require that you earn credit for your experience.
For Academic Credit (please consult your advisor or department chair for information on earning academic credit)
Part time or Full Time - Generally, paid internships are full time (30 + hours/week) while unpaid internships are part time (12-16 hours/week). Co-ops (paid internships) are often completed during the summer because of the full time hours required.
Create your own! - Know someone who works in a profession of interest? Set up an internship!
Where Can I get an Internship?
Any setting where people work, such as private businesses, government offices, non-profit organizations, schools, medical facilities, or any desired place of business where you want to gain experience and build your skills/knowledge of a specific profession.
When Can I get an Internship?
That's your choice. Students can intern during the summer or school year. Usually, internships are for a full semester. Many structured internship programs prefer students in their JUNIOR or SENIOR year. But first-year students and sophomores may be able to create their own individualized internship experience as well.