So You Want to Start an Internship Program...
Internships are a great opportunity to provide practical, real-world experience to a University of Utah student, while gaining some additional help and insight. By definition, internships are temporary positions. But to create a great experience for both you and the student, they deserve intentional planning and execution. To help you design your internship program, we’ve created the following resources and questions to guide you through the process.
What is an internship?
Internships are defined by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) as:
“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, while simultaneously giving employers the opportunity to guide and evaluate talent.”
Internships range in duration, pay, and description from one organization to the next.
Still have some lingering questions about creating an internship program? Check out the answers to some of our most frequently asked questions.
Although pay is not an official requirement to post an internship with our office, we expect that for-profit corporations will pay University of Utah interns and strongly encourage them to do so. Paid internships encourage application, provide financial support for students while they are attending school and create a stronger feeling of loyalty, investment and accountability for an intern. Additionally, unpaid opportunities often exclude students from low-income and underserved backgrounds. In fact, 3 out of 4 unpaid interns are white, according to a study by NACE. Paying your interns increases the diversity of your hiring pool while also closing the income gap for underserved students.
While there are not any current legal requirement that interns be paid, if you are offering an unpaid internship you need to ensure that your unpaid internship is in compliance with the US Department of Labor’s “Test for Unpaid Interns”: Internship Programs Under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
While academic credit can be seen by some companies as an alternate form of compensation, many students do not value academic credit as a compensatory option, since they have to pay and register for academic credits. Additionally, organizations also cannot offer credit as compensation – decisions regarding the awarding of academic credit are solely within the purview of University of Utah faculty.
An hourly wage for an intern will vary widely, depending on the industry in which you work, the major or skillset of the student you are recruiting and his or her level of experience. Internships can range from minimum wage for some roles and up to $22 or more an hour for more technical skillsets. An hourly wage cannot be less than minimum wage for the state in which the student will be working.
As much as possible, an internship should be flexible in nature, as it is generally something a student pursues while also taking classes. During the academic year, internships are typically part-time, between 10-20 hours a week; not to exceed 20 hours a week (August-May). Summer internships, or those during a semester in which the student is not enrolled in courses, can require up to 40 hours a week. Please note that we strongly encourage internships that require more than 20 hours/week of students to be paid on an hourly or stipend basis, regardless of industry. Offering an unpaid full-time summer internship will likely result in no applicants, as most students cannot commit that amount of time to an unpaid opportunity.
Handshake is the primary place for employers to find applicants for internships and jobs. Additional recruiting options are available here.
If you need support creating or refining your internship program, please feel free to reach out to our Assistant Director of Student Engagement and Internships, Crystal Cory, at email@example.com.
If you need support with recruiting interns, please reach out to Denise DeCoite or Leslie Bolton. Contact information available here.