Benefits of Internships
According to the National Association for Colleges and Employers (www.naceweb.org), internships are typically one-time work or service experiences related to a student’s major or career goal. Internships generally involve students working in professional settings under the supervision and monitoring of practicing professionals. Internships can be paid or unpaid, and the students may or may not receive academic credit for performing the internship.
Internships are an excellent way to for students to engage in relevant work experience before landing a full-time job. In fact, research shows that nearly 70% of interns actually receive full-time job offers as a result of their internships (NACE, Job Outlook, 2008). Along with a possible full-time job and the chance to gain knowledge about an industry or particular company, internships also provide students with the opportunity to:
- Conduct “reality testing” by employing their studies in a practical environment to learn if this field is a good fit for them.
- Gain hands-on experience beyond the classroom in their field of study.
- Positively contribute the knowledge they are gaining in the classroom related to the most current approaches, trends, and developments to an organization’s goals and objectives.
- Develop and/or sharpen professional skills and work habits that employers within their field seek out, while also gaining transferable skills for use in other fields.
- Get exposure to professional work settings, including different professional cultures, values, and environments.
- View the life of a professional career without a long-term commitment.
- Demonstrate to future employers their commitment to and knowledge of the field.
- Gain contacts through networking and access contacts in your field that could serve as teachers and mentors.
- Get the inside edge on competition for full-time jobs. Surveyed employers extend full-time offers to over half of their interns.
Additionally, if eligible, students may earn up to 6 credits in their major for completing an internship. To pursue this option, there are certain eligibility requirements (hyperlink to eligibility requirements) at both the undergraduate and graduate level that must be met before being able to pursue an internship for credit. Students who express interest in learning about the different credit options available through the academic internship program can review the information listed at: http://www.philau.edu/career/students/creditoptions.html or contact Career Services to meet with a counselor.
There are also benefits to students who earn academic credit for their internship which include:
- Students earn credit towards the completion of your degree and simultaneously gain practical work experience relevant to their career objectives and major.
- Students are required to complete clearly defined Learning Objectives for the internship which involves input and participation from the employer in identifying tasks and responsibilities that will be carried out to develop the students’ key professional skills.
- Students are assigned a Faculty Internship Advisor within their major and are supported and guided throughout their internship experience.
- Students engage in more deliberate integration of coursework and hands-on learning than they might by completing an internship outside the academic internship program.
- Student complete comprehensive, reflective assignments, a key component of the experiential learning process.
- It is required that employers evaluate students on their performance and progress during their internship, so students conclude the internship clearly understanding their strengths and opportunities for improvement.