Internship Information

Information for Students

What is an internship?
An internship should present students with the opportunity to apply what they have learned inside of the classroom to real work situations - the work assigned is directly related to the students’ course of study. Internships should provide practical "hands-on" training, enabling students to build on their skills and employers to train students in their operations and to recognize prospective hires.

Why do an internship?
  • Build your skills
  • Enhance your resume

Experience greatly increases your opportunity for employment. Employers look for entry-level candidates to have some relevant experience. Internships (for-credit or non-credit), summer jobs, or volunteer service opportunities allow you to acquire this critical experience. Employers often offer full-time entry-level positions to their past/current interns. Some companies hire 80-90% of their interns after they graduate! Your resume may be one of a pile you should prepare yourself to stand out from the crowd!

Explore a Career
Not only does relevant work experience augment your resume (and hence, your marketability), any opportunity that gives you an inside look into a particular profession also serves to give you necessary information about whether to follow it as a career. It’s one thing to read about a field, another to shadow someone else doing it, and yet another to do it yourself! Some fields are easier to explore than others. Obviously, you can’t perform surgery to "test it out" before studying to be a surgeon, but you may be allowed to observe a surgery and experience other aspects of a profession, working environment, or lifestyle.

Networking
Your experience working at the side of other professionals in your field of interest may be stepping stones to your future. Knowing the right people can help you get to the next step. This is especially true for some of the toughest career fields to enter, such as broadcasting.

Information for Employers

What is an internship?
An internship should present students with the opportunity to apply what they have learned inside of the classroom to real work situations - the work assigned is directly related to the students’ course of study. Internships should provide practical "hands-on" training, enabling students to build on their skills and employers to train students in their operations and to recognize prospective hires.


Who is eligible for an internship or Experiential Learning experience?
Internships are open to all full-time registered undergraduate students who are in good academic standing (GPA of 2.25/2.5 for Sports Administration) and have been at the University for at least two semesters; transfer students, one semester. International students must meet with Mrs. Adriana Menke for eligibility determination before participating in an internship experience. Eligibility requirements vary depending on degree program. Please see your Program Coordinator or Academic Advisor to verify your academic status and internship requirements.


When can I participate in an internship?
Most students accept an internship project during an academic year or term, working approximately 20 hours/week while attending classes, 8-15 weeks during an academic semester. Some employers also offer internships during the summer months, usually full-time. Typically, internships are a 3 or 6 month commitment. Some programs of study may have their own duration and prerequisite requirements. Please see your Faculty Advisor or Program Coordinator for more details.


Is an intern considered an employee?
Employment laws do not necessarily use the term "intern," nor do they offer a detailed definition of the term "employee." The courts consider several factors when determining if an intern is, in fact, an employee. The greatest emphasis is placed upon the extent to which the employer reins the manner and means by which interns complete their assigned tasks. It is highly unlikely that most interns would not be considered to be employees; therefore, the employer is responsible for paying payroll taxes on the intern’s salary as well as providing the intern with the same legal protections as other employees, such as eligibility for workers’ compensation.


Must I pay an intern?
This depends on whether the intern is considered a "learner/trainee" under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has developed criteria to aid employers in differentiating between an intern entitled to minimum wage and a learner/trainee who, although an employee, may be unpaid. Some key points:

  • Learner/trainees cannot displace regular employees
  • Learner/trainees are not guaranteed employment at the end of their assignment
  • Learner/trainees are aware that they are not entitled to regular wages during the internship*
  • Learner/trainees must obtain hands-on training that primarily benefits the student - not the company
    Note:  stipends and tuition assistance are not considered payment of wages for the purpose of determining whether a student is an employee.

For more information, please review the fact sheet by the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division at: http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs71.pdf.


When is the intern considered an unpaid volunteer?
The DOL regulations define "volunteer" as someone providing services to a public agency for civic, humanitarian or charitable reasons without the anticipation of being paid for services rendered. An intern at a for-profit company does not fit this definition.


Is an intern entitled to workers’ compensation?
Some state statues exclude interns from coverage, while others do not necessarily specify whether an intern is entitled to coverage or not. For those states, typically, an intern’s donation to a company is sufficient to establish employee status with the participating company for workers’ compensation purposes, regardless of whether the intern is unpaid, paid or receives a stipend.