FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
- What is an internship?
- How can I benefit from hiring an intern?
- How does the program work?
- How do I get started?
- I have an intern starting soon. What do I need to know?
- What is expected of supervisors?
- Must an intern be paid?
An internship is a work experience that allows a student to apply classroom concepts in a professional, real-world environment. Internships are different from a part-time job in that there is an intentional effort to bridge classroom concepts with the world of work. Typically, employers use goal-setting and end-of-semester evaluations to accomplish this.
Many employers simply enjoy sharing their expertise and investing in the lives of college students. However, there are many other benefits of hiring an intern.
- Internships are an effective long-term recruiting tool. They give a test period before you make a full-time employment commitment..
- Studies show that businesses who hire interns into full-time positions realize higher productivity, higher retention rates, and lower recruiting costs.
- Interns can perform well on some professional-level assignments, freeing up your staff for more advanced responsibilities.
- Internships foster on-going, productive relations between the campus and the employer.
- Internship programs are excellent tools to find new, energetic, diverse and skilled employees.
- As an employer, you can offer a substantive work experience that supports a student's academic and career goals. If you need help designing or improving your internship program, check out the following resource-Starting & Maintaining a Quality Internship Program.
- Complete an Internship Job Description. Effective job descriptions not only list responsibilities and qualifications, but also how the student will benefit from the experience-skills they will develop, opportunity to develop portfolio material, networking opportunities, etc.
- Our staff makes every effort to find students for your opportunity. We make students and faculty aware of approved positions through calling, emailing, & texting. We also post the position in the Career Services database, BuffJobs.
Since internships are elective for most majors, we can't guarantee students; however, we'll do our best to find good candidates.
- Submit an Internship Job Description through our BuffJobs database. If you have questions about this process, don't hesitate to contact us.
- If you are a new or first-time employer, we may request a consultation at your work site with one of our staff.
- Here are some resources to help develop or improve your internship program
First, let our office know you hired an intern by completing this form. We try and keep records of all WT students who intern.
Check with your student to see if they are receiving credit for the internship. Not all internships are for-credit experiences. If your intern is receiving credit, make sure they contact our office to ensure they meet all the academic requirements.
Supervision is the most important factor in any employer's program.
Quality intern supervisors:
- Work with interns each semester to develop learning goals that tie into the intern's field of study.
- Orient interns to their new workplace.
- Ensure interns have resources to do their jobs - desk, telephone, computer, etc.
- Provide on-going direction, feedback and encouragement based upon discerning observation.
- Complete, review and submit a formal evaluation over each intern. The WT Experiential Education program sends electronic evaluations to employers at the end of each semester.
If your organization is a for-profit business, we strongly encourage you to offer compensation. Many WT students work their way through college and must have a paying job to make ends meet, so receiving some form of compensation is appreciated. If your organization (for-profit or non-profit) is unable to offer a regular wage, consider helping the student with a stipend or internship-related expenses such as parking fees, mileage, meals, etc.
Unpaid student employment will not violate the U.S. Department of Labor's Fair Labor Standards Act if it is a training program which meets the following criteria:
- The training should be similar to that given in a vocational setting
- The experience is for the benefit of the student
- Students do not displace regular employees
- The site sponsor provides the training and receives no immediate advantage from the activities of students
- Students are not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the training period
- The site sponsor and student understand that the student is not entitled to wages for the time spent in training.
Many employers ask how much they should pay students. The median hourly wage for a West Texas A&M student in paid internships in 2009-2010 was $12.84.