A guide to creating a successful internship for you and your intern
What is an internship?
An internship is a form of experiential learning that integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application and skills development in a professional setting. Internships give students the opportunity to gain valuable applied experience and make connections in professional fields they are considering for career paths; and give employers the opportunity to guide and evaluate talent.
- The experience must be an extension of the classroom: a learning experience that provides for applying the knowledge gained in the classroom. It must not be simply to advance the operations of the employer or be the work that a regular employee would routinely perform.
- The skills or knowledge learned must be transferable to other employment settings.
- The experience has a defined beginning and end, and a job description with desired qualifications.
- There are clearly defined learning objectives/goals related to the professional goals of the student’s academic coursework.
- There is supervision by a professional with expertise and educational and/or professional background in the field of the experience.
- There is routine feedback by the experienced supervisor.
- There are resources, equipment, and facilities provided by the host employer that support learning objectives/goals.
HOW MANY HOURS SHOULD AN INTERN WORK?
The number of recommended hours varies based on the type of internship.
- Hourly Internships: We recommend 8-10 hours/week during the semester, up to 40 hours/week during College breaks.
This is the most common and most recommended type of internship. The number of hours should be based on the amount of work the employer is able to provide on a weekly basis throughout a semester. We see the most successful internships set at 8-10 hours per week during the semester, and up to 40 hours per week / full-time during College breaks. It is best to choose a number of hours that you are confident you can fill with meaningful work, so that an intern is not searching for work, and you are not spending time creating projects.
- Project-based Internships: Determined between intern and employer based on scope of project.
This is an internship where a specific project and deadline have been established between the employer and the intern. We encourage the employer and the intern to discuss the approximate number of hours that the project should take to complete.
- Credit-based internships: Determined by each institution. Generally 15-20 hours.
Some Colleges offer class credit for internships. In this case, students will be required to work a specific number of hours throughout a semester. The intern will provide the employer with his/her internship requirements.
- FTE and PTE guidelines for interns are consistent with those of traditional employees
HOW SHOULD INTERNS BE COMPENSATED?
- As a Paid Employee: Hourly compensation should be determined based on skill set and level of work
- With a Stipend: A pre-agreed upon sum in return for completion of a pre-determined project. The intern and the employer should have a clear understanding of expectations and compensation. We recommend consulting your individual HR procedures.
- Unpaid Internship: Although not recommended, unpaid internships must follow the Fair Labor Standards Act
- The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the employer’s facilities, is similar to training that would be given in a vocational school.
- The internship experience is for the benefit of the student.
- The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under the close observation of a regular employee.
- The employer provides the training and derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern. Occasionally, the operations may actually be impeded.
- The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship.
- The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time in the internship.
HOW SHOULD I SELECT AN INTERN?
- Complete an application and interview process.
- Consider if the intern has the skill set to do the job, appropriate time availability, and will be a good fit for your team.
- Follow any HR procedures you would for a standard employee, including equal opportunity guidelines.
WHEN SHOULD I LOOK FOR AN INTERN?
- For the best candidates, we recommend beginning your search a semester in advance.
- Interns working on a per-semester basis will be looking to work during:
- Fall Semester (September-December)
- Spring Semester (January-April)
- Summer (June-August)
WHAT IF IT ISN’T WORKING OUT?
- Your intern is your employee and you are responsible for supervising them. Follow the same HR procedures as you would with any other employee.
- If you choose to let an intern go, the College does not need to be in the decision-making process. However, it is helpful if you inform us afterwards so we can ensure future interns are better prepared.
- If the internship is being completed for credit, please contact the internship supervisor.