Career Center

Internships Resources

Internships provide students with experiences in which they apply classroom learning to the duties of the workplace. Internships offer opportunities for professional skill development and relationship building, reinforce students' learning and increase community awareness.

Unpaid Internship Alert

If you are posting an unpaid internship, be aware the federal Fair Labor Standards Act considers interns employees entitled to a minimum wage and overtime compensation. Exceptions are made if six criteria are met. Offering credit does not rule out an employer having to meet the criteria.  

What Is An Internship?

An internship is experiential learning that integrates classroom knowledge and theories with practical application and skill development in a professional setting.

Students have a chance to develop their competencies as professionals in their areas of study, while still being identified as learners, rather than solely as employees.

During an internship:

  • Students earn academic credit and are evaluated according to a job description that is incorporated into a course.
  • The arrangement is overseen by a faculty member of the student's educational institution and by a designated employee of the host organization.
  • Work may be part-time, full-time, paid or unpaid, and typically lasts one semester.
  • Academic learning objectives distinguish internships from volunteer positions or jobs.
  • Some form of reflection is required in which students apply theories and concepts to their on-the-job experience to improve their performances as professionals.

What Makes A Quality Internship?

  • Support for the internship throughout the company or organization.
  • Physical resources:
    • Safe, compliant and adequate workspace.
    • Computer and internet access, as necessary.
    • Telephone, fax and other communication resources as necessary.
    • Parking and easy access to the facility.
  • Meaningful assignments that resemble entry-level work.
  • Well-defined job descriptions and clear work directions.
  • Orientation to company or organization.
  • Opportunity to learn and build new skills.
  • Qualified supervision for the intern.
  • Regular meetings between intern and supervisor for communication and feedback.
  • Pay or other remuneration/benefits/training opportunities.

What to Include in an Internship Listing

  • Internship title.
  • Brief overview of internship's purpose.
  • Internship description.
  • Duties and responsibilities.
  • Compensation or benefits.
  • Location of internship.
    • Is the site accessible?
  • Time commitment.
    • How long does it last?
    • How many days per week and hours per day?
  • Skills and qualifications required or preferred.
  • Credits. Are you are willing to work with university faculty if students want to earn credit?
  • Application procedure.
    • To whom and how does the student apply?
    • What materials do you require — resume, cover letter, portfolio?

Compensation

Some university programs require that internships be paid. Some do not.

Paid internships tend to encourage a larger pool of qualified applicants. Pay rate is negotiated between the employer and the intern and is typically between minimum wage and $25 per hour.

Pay requirements and rates may be impacted by the career area of the internship and/or internship requirements determined by the academic department.

Stipends are an option though you should check with your human resources department to explore any legal issues regarding alternative payment.

For-profit business and/or organizations that provide internships should review the guidance provided by the Department of Labor on distinguishing between internships and employment.

Unpaid student employment will not violate the U.S. Department of Labor's Fair Labor Standards Act if it is a training program that meets these criteria:

  1. The training should be similar to that given in a vocational setting.
  2. The experience is for the benefit of the student.
  3. Students do not displace regular employees.
  4. The site sponsor provides the training and receives no immediate advantage from the activities of students.
  5. Students are not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the training period.
  6. The site sponsor and student understand that the student is not entitled to wages for the time spent in training.

Employer Terms and Conditions

  1. The St. Cloud State University Career Center subscribes to and endorses the Principles of Professional Conduct for Career Services and Employment Professionals as published by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. As such, all employers who wish to use the center's job posting and campus recruiting site must agree to abide by these principles.
  2. In addition to abiding by NACE standards, all employers/individuals must also conform to the Minnesota State policies regarding nondiscrimination and all applicable Equal Opportunity Laws.
  3. All employers requesting access to the center's services and/or events must be registered users of Handshake. New employers may request an employer account at Handshake.
  4. By logging on to Handshake, the employer agrees to the terms and conditions set forth by St. Cloud State University for the use of this online recruiting system.
  5. Employers must provide complete contact information when registering for the site. Employers are responsible for the accuracy and completeness of employer information, full contact name and address, as well as all information in job descriptions. A valid e-mail address and phone number are mandatory to communicate directly with the employer contact(s). All job postings must include a complete description of the type of work involved.
  6. The employer contact person is responsible for the distribution and use of their username and password for the site, as well as its use and misuse. Any user found to be using the site inappropriately or inconsistent with the university and Career Center guidelines will have access revoked.
  7. Employers who require candidates to purchase products as condition of employment or those who charge a fee of any kind to candidates for their employment services will not be granted access to the system.
  8. Private households/individuals: Effective June 15, 2014, postings from private households/individuals will no longer be accepted. This includes, but is not limited to: personal care attendants, house cleaning, yard work, nannies, tutors, pet care, etc. This is a precaution for the safety of all involved. An alternative site that private households/individuals may want to consider to promote their hiring needs is www.care.com, as their site includes a variety of in home job postings.
  9. Candidate information accessed by employers is to be used solely by that employer and must not be sold or otherwise distributed to any entity other than the specific employer who has access to the site.
  10. The Career Center staff will review complaints by students, alumni, faculty, and staff about employers or jobs posted on the system. If the staff determines that a complaint is justified, the center may choose to deny employer services to the employer involved. The Career Center executive director or the appropriate designee's interpretation and implementation of these policies is final.
  11. The center will regularly update and enhance the site and may, from time to time, revise the Employer Terms and Conditions. Use of the site is governed by the Employer Terms and Conditions posted at the time of use.
  12. Failure to abide by these terms and conditions may result in discontinuation of access. Other reasons for discontinuation of access include, but are not limited to, invalid employer e-mail addresses, inappropriate messaging, evidence of fraudulent activity, or other items deemed inappropriate by the center's executive director or the appropriate designee. The director or the appropriate designee's interpretation and implementation of the "Employer Terms and Conditions" is final. Any exception to these terms and conditions must be negotiated between the executive director or the appropriate designee and the employer representative.

 

Field Experience and Internship Site Accommodations for Students With Disabilities

Responsibilities of:

Student

  • Inform St. Cloud State University's Student Accessibility Services that you are going into the field for field experience/internship.
  • Inform department/field coordinator if accommodations are needed due to a disability.
  • Make sure personal support system is in place for internship if accommodations are needed.
  • When start in placement, discuss accommodation needs with onsite supervisor and others as appropriate.
  • Medical needs: For safety of the student, inform placement site so they are aware and prepared.

Department

  • Advisors and course instructors: Refer students to Student Accessibility Services for consultation.
  • Be up-front about competency expectations in the field.
  • Discuss with students how they will accomplish these competencies.

Student Accessibility Services

  • Ask students to inform department/course/field coordinator about accommodations needed.
  • Assist in self advocacy/disclosure.
  • Create form for students: Define field component and state what accommodations are needed.
  • Send above information to:
    • Course Instructor/faculty supervisor and/or
    • Field/Course Coordinator
  • Current form sent to Instructor/faculty supervisor: Add to “additional information” section: ‘Accommodations needed in field: …, etc.’

Field/Course Coordinator or Employer

  • Inform Student Accessibility Services that student is requesting accommodations.
  • Inform placement site of requested accommodations (after receiving written permission from student).
  • Inform faculty supervisor as the faculty of record.
  • Keep Student Accessibility Services up to date on all field/internship course numbers.

Web resources

Modeled after document developed in collaboration with Student Accessibility Services staff, COE Office of Clinical Experiences staff (OCE) & OCE Liaisons from TDEV, SPED, CFS; Presented to COE DAC and to Departments of Teacher Development, Child & Family Studies and Special Education for discussion, Judith Siminoe, Special Advisor to the President (approved Spring 2009).

Memorandum of Agreement

We use this agreement (PDF) between St. Cloud State and the internship site to ensure the student and the employer benefit from the internship experience. See faculty adviser for more information.