What is an internship?
An internship integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application and skill development in a professional setting. This work/learning arrangement is typically overseen by a faculty or staff member of the university and is usually the length of an academic term. It may be part-time or full-time, paid or unpaid. An integral component of the internship experience that distinguishes it from other types of work is structured and deliberate reflection related to learning objectives. Students often enroll in a related class for academic credit.
How do I get started?
To get started, simply register and post your internship on Handshake. This is allows you to specify the skills and experience you are looking for, work responsibilities, and the times of the year the internship is available. UVM students access these postings and contact you directly, allowing you to interview and select the student(s) who are the best fit for your position. If students have questions about obtaining credit, you can refer them to the UVM Career Center.
How do students earn academic credit for internships?
Academic credit is awarded by the university, and students must enroll in an academic course to earn credit. Students have several course options in which they can enroll, and the Career Center serves as a resource to help students decide which option may work best for their particular circumstances. Most commonly, students work about 10 hours/week and complete associated class assignments for a three-credit internship class. Academic assignments must be completed concurrently with the work experience; students will work with faculty on this part of their internship.
Can interns be paid? Must they be paid?
Compensation for an internship is not required or regulated by UVM; however, knowing that the financial realities many students face makes them unable to work for free, we strongly recommend that employers compensate interns for their work.
Compared to unpaid internship opportunities, paid internships generate:
- 2.5 times the number of applicants
- A more diverse applicant pool
- Happier and more engaged interns
- A steadier flow of talented interns who may become your future employees
If you are considering hosting unpaid interns, note that the standards for unpaid internships are dictated by the US Department of Labor, and are outlined in the document entitled Fact Sheet #71. Interns must be paid minimum wage unless the intern is determined to be the “primary beneficiary” of the intern-employer relationship. If you have questions about the Department of Labor’s guidance, we recommend that you consult with your attorney.
If you have an unpaid internship program, you might consider offering other incentives to increase your applicant pool and provide support, such as a stipend (a fixed sum of money paid periodically to defray costs of housing, food, and transportation), specific skill training, networking or mentorship opportunities, or other vouchers/benefits (e.g. meals in the company cafeteria, bus passes, company gym memberships, etc.).