An internship is an opportunity that allows a qualified student to gain professional, supervised experience related to his or her field of interest. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), 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.
Who is eligible
All students are eligible to intern, although academic credit depends on the requirements set forth by the employing organization and the student's academic department. Compensation is not required, and varies by position and industry.
Internships vary by position and degree, typically between 60 and 240 hours total. If for credit, the duration of the internship is based on the number of credits sought.
Internships are usually completed during the summer and/or semester breaks; however, a local internship might be completed during the semester if the student's schedule allows a sufficient amount of time.
Credit is based on contact hours and school/college that the student is enrolled. Please visit the CDC to learn more about your program's requirements. The internship proposal must be reviewed with and approved by the employer and the academic advisor. Credit is granted once all requirements have been satisfactorily met. A meeting with the Assistant Director of Experiential Education or your faculty advisor will help you determine the following, and will assist you in completing the internship proposal:
- The fit between your internship and your career goals
- Individual learning objectives that will help guide the experience
- Academic assignments while you are interning
- The duration of the experience in relation to the number of credits for which you can register
Criteria Used in Approving Internships:
- The experience must be an extension of the classroom, meaning a learning experience that provides the ability to apply 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 student should not displace a regular employee.
- The training is for the benefit of the student. The skills or knowledge learned must be transferable to other employment settings.
- The experience has clearly defined learning objectives/goals, as well as a defined beginning and end date.
- Internships involving potential conflict of interests are not recommended, and will be reviewed on a case by case basis. Working in a family owned business would be an example of such a potential conflict.
- The internship will need to involve new learning opportunities beyond the student’s former roles in the family business.
- The internship supervisor should not be a parent or close relative, but an objective professional with expertise and educational and/or professional background in the field.
Compensation is not required, and varies by position and industry.
The employing organization, according to its own pay scales, establishes compensation for interns. Although it is not required that internships be paid, the Career Development Center recommends that students be paid for their contribution to the employer. It is not the obligation of the employer to locate or provide housing accommodations, although assistance in arranging suitable housing is sometimes offered.
United States Department of Labor Fact Sheet for Internships
NYS Workers' Compensation Board
You should begin the initial search at least six months before you plan to intern; a year in advance is ideal.
The first step in getting an internship is to meet with a counselor in the McComsey Career Development Center to help begin and refine your search, and develop a cover letter and resume if you do not already have one.
Things to consider:
- Geographic location
- Housing needs (including utilities, transportation, cost of living, etc.)
- Credit/no credit
- Pay/no pay
- Type of organization or company (large corporate vs. small private or not-for-profit)
- Relationship to your career objectives and goals
- Work environment (office work, outside work, combination, hands-on, etc.)
Internship resources and forms for students, faculty, and employers
Requirements for Employers
- Complete Work Agreement
- Notify Career Development Center of candidates hired
- Complete mid-point and final evaluations of student performance, review with student, and return to CDC
Requirements for Students
- Complete Internship Proposal for respective major or college
- Review proposal with faculty advisor
- Review proposal with the Assistant Director of Experiential Education at the CDC
- If approved for credit, register with the Student Services Center
- Turn in all documents, including assignments to the CDC
- Complete Internship Survey