Unpaid internships are solely for the benefit of the student and have to meet criteria set forth by the Fair Labor Standards Act. This is to avoid exploitation of free labor. If the employer is not paying for the work, then the work has to be similar to a formal education program. The student’s employment will not displace permanent employees and the training will teach transferrable skills. The work cannot be low level clerical work and cannot provide an advantage the employer. The employer should offer orientation, supervision and a review of the student’s performance.
Because there are strict legal restrictions regarding unpaid internships, many employers offer paid summer and graduate training positions. Undergraduates usually earn less than graduates. Sectors that have a lot of internship positions open are investment banking, law firms, real estate offices, the federal government, social media marketing, engineering, accounting, and computer technology. The worker may be paid by their school, with a stipend, by the project or in installments. Pay can be up to $20 per hour! According to some studies, a paid internship is much more likely to lead to a job offer than an unpaid one.
Where to Find an Intern Job
People interested in finding intern jobs can look at their college’s online job board and they can attend career fairs hosted by their school. Most schools have local relationships with the local business community and have a list of jobs available in the career center or in the school newspaper. One can find paid internships posted alongside regular jobs on job board sites such as Indeed. He or she can also go directly to corporation websites to view their specific offerings.
Employers have to fill out an application with the college before they can be approved as an employer of the school's students. Some employers can offer academic credit in conjunction with the student’s university; however, the student may be required to pay tuition for that credit. The applicant also may be required to have a minimum GPA and a certain amount of credits already completed.
Besides working locally, some schools such as Boston University offer study abroad programs which have the student work and take courses in countries all over the world. Young travelers choose a destination, a field of work, and how long they wish to stay. There are also excellent intern opportunities with the federal and state governments.
Choosing your Internship
Your college might actually require you to take an internship. Be aware of the points set forth above. If you are going to be unpaid, make sure that you are gaining valuable experience and skills that will lead to good employment later. Ask for a job description, length and hours of work and what the pay is. Find out if you will have expenses related to the job. Keep in mind that there are other options. You can simply work part-time or look at international work study programs.