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Arrange Internships

What are internships?

An internship is 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; and give employers the opportunity to guide and evaluate talent. (National Association of Colleges and Employers)

While the primary benefit of internships is for students, your organization can thrive on the fresh perspective, inquisitiveness, and sheer energy that College of Charleston interns bring to the workplace. In very practical terms, you can create a candidate pool for potential full-time hires, using your internship program as a recruiting tool. You can also feel good about helping college students find their career path and make decisions about their future.

Developing Internships

For an experience to be considered an internship, the following criteria must be met:

1. The experience must be an extension of the classroom: a learning experience that provides for applying the knowledge gained in the classroom. It must not be simply to advance the operations of the employer or be the work that a regular employee would routinely perform.

2. The skills or knowledge learned must be transferable to other employment settings.

3. The experience has a defined beginning and end, and a job description with desired qualifications.

 4. There are clearly defined learning objectives/goals related to the professional goals of the student’s academic coursework.

5. There is supervision by a professional with expertise and educational and/or professional background in the field of the experience.

6. There is routine feedback by the experienced supervisor. 

7. There are resources, equipment, and facilities provided by the host employer that support learning objectives/goals.

(National Association of Colleges and Employers)

Helpful Resources:

Site Supervisor Internship Handbook 

Policies and Guidelines for Posting Jobs and Internships 

Academic Programs

Internship Best Practices for Employers 

Legal Considerations Regarding Intern Compensation

Generally, the College of Charleston does not require that you offer paid internships, though some academic departments have specific policies about compensation. Paid internships can be more attractive to students, but they will choose unpaid internships that provide the opportunity to gain substantial real-world work experience. If you opt to offer unpaid internships, consider the following legal ramifications:

According to The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the US Department of Labor specifies that an internship can legally be unpaid in the “for-profit” sector ONLY if the primary beneficiary of the arrangement is the student. The following seven factors are to be considered as to whether the employer or student is considered the primary beneficiary:

  1. The extent to which the intern and the employer clearly understand that there is no expectation of compensation. Any promise of compensation, express or implied, suggests that the intern is an employee—and vice versa.
  2. The extent to which the internship provides training that would be similar to that which would be given in an educational environment, including the clinical and other hands-on training provided by educational institutions.
  3. The extent to which the internship is tied to the intern’s formal education program by integrated coursework or the receipt of academic credit.
  4. The extent to which the internship accommodates the intern’s academic commitments by corresponding to the academic calendar.
  5. The extent to which the internship’s duration is limited to the period in which the internship provides the intern with beneficial learning.
  6. The extent to which the intern’s work complements, rather than displaces, the work of paid employees while providing significant educational benefits to the intern.
  7. The extent to which the intern and the employer understand that the internship is conducted without entitlement to a paid job at the conclusion of the internship.

Additional Resources:

FLSA Fact Sheet #71 from the U.S. Department of Labor 

The Case for Paying Interns 

If your organization 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.

Internships typically last for one semester (14-15 weeks) or one summer in accordance with the College of Charleston's academic calendar: Fall semester internships take place from August to December, Spring internships span January to April, and Summer internships run from May to August. Internships are part-time positions (10-20 hours per week) during the fall or spring or full-time during the summer only.

Academic Credit

At the College of Charleston, internship credit is awarded solely at the discretion of academic departments. Students must meet the eligibility requirements of their major to earn credit (if available), and arrangements for credit must be made at least one semester in advance.

Students who are unable to earn academic credit may participate in the Career Centers' non-credit Certificate Internship Program.  Because the program provides campus oversight of non-credit internships, you may encourage or require your students to participate if they won't be supervised by a faculty member in a credit-bearing program. Contact Kristin Wichmann, the Career center Experiential Learning Coordinator, at 843-953-5692, for details.

Advertising Internships

For campus-wide distribution, post your internship listings on Handshake, the Career Center’s web-based job posting system. Once we have accepted your request to connect, you are welcome to post and share your jobs and internships with CofC and/or other institutions in Handshake.

Contact Information

Kristin Wichmann
Experiential Learning Coordinator
Career Center
843-953-5692