What is an internship?
As defined by 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 the 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.
To obtain academic credit, students must contact their academic advisor to review desired internship opportunities, receive approval for credit and register for the appropriate course. Following the completion of the internship, the student must complete an evaluation of the internship.
Why should I do an internship?
- Increase your marketability to future employers
- Gain relevant skills and experience in a field of interest
- To meet an academic requirement — some academic programs require students to obtain an internship for academic credit*
- Explore whether you’ve chosen the best career field for your future
- Observe the organizational culture, management style and expectations of prospective organizations
- Network with people in your field of interest
What makes an internship legitimate?
NACE suggests the following criteria be met in order for an experience to qualify as an internship, particularly if it is unpaid:
- 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 do I locate an internship or field experience opportunity?
- Search Handshake for on-campus and off-campus internships
- Attend Career Development events/fairs to network with employers and graduate schools from across the region.
- Schedule an appointment to discuss internships – The Career Development staff can introduce you to various resources, facilitate alumni connections and assist you in effectively branding yourself.