Establish Your Internship
Characteristics of an Internship
- The internship, first and foremost, is experiential learning. Internships help apply academic preparation in a major to specific work experience.
- Duration is anywhere from a month to two years, but typically three to six months.
- Can be part-time or full-time and could be paid or non-paid.
- Learning activities common to most internships include learning objectives and goals, observation, reflection, evaluation and assessment.
- Promotes academic, career and personal development.
- Internships can be part of an educational program that is carefully monitored for academic credit or internships can be part of a learning plan that is developed individually.
Creating Your Internship
Create a Job Description
An internship job description helps to develop guidelines, provide basic company and job information, sets expectations, avoid incorrect assumptions, and attract qualified candidates. The posting process in Frog Jobs will walk you through the necessary information including job description, qualifications, application instructions, pay and employment dates. Please take some time to develop your job description. Students read these carefully! Be sure to provide adequate information about your organization and what projects/activities the intern will be responsible for.
Typically, students work 10-15 hours/week during the Fall and Spring semesters. Summer internships can be anywhere from 15 hours/week to full-time.
Paid vs. Unpaid Internships
In order to comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act, it is required that all employers that are for-profit pay their interns. In a competitive job and internship market, student applicants will expect payment for their work. The average pay (nationally) for bachelor’s level interns and co-op experiences was $20.82/hr in 2020-21. National Association of Colleges and Employers Internship Wage Data
There are some circumstances under which individuals who participate in government agency, non-profit organization, or “for-profit” private sector internships or training programs may do so without compensation. The determination of whether the internship or training program meets this exclusion depends upon the facts and circumstances of each program. Refer to the Department of Labor for guidance (Fact Sheet #71: Internship Programs Under FLSA).
Academic Credit for Internships
While TCU does award academic credit for internships, the procedures and requirements vary among the colleges. Some departments will award up to three credit hours for internships, while others do not award any credit at all. In most majors, internship credits are an elective rather than a requirement and many courses are reserved for upper-level students who have completed their pre-requisite coursework. Please note that requiring academic credit for your internship may decrease the potential pool of candidates due to student eligibility or timing constraints of the hiring process.
The TCU Career Center does not award or arrange academic credit for internships. Employers should not make guarantees or offers of academic credit, as academic credit may only be granted by the institution and academic department. It is completely the student’s choice and responsibility to pursue academic credit and seek approval through the appropriate department within their college. As an alternative, the TCU Career Center offers an Internship Certification Program. Students do not receive credit or transcript notification, however, the internship experience is pre-authorized and validated upon completion by an employer performance appraisal. Confirmation of the internship is provided to the employer through a letter of certification issued by the Career Center.
Determine the Right Supervisor
Selecting the right supervisor is essential to a successful internship experience for both the student and the organization. An intern should receive guidance and feedback from their work supervisor at regular intervals. With regular feedback, interns will be better equipped to meet employer expectations and learn from the experience.
National Member Organizations
National member organizations can offer excellent assistance and resources when establishing or refining your program:
National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE)
62 Highland Avenue
Bethlehem, PA 18017-9085
National Society for Experiential Education (NSEE)
19 Mantua Road
Mt. Royal, NJ 08096