Everything You Need to Know About Internships

Navigating the process to find and secure an internship can be a complicated process. See below for some frequently asked questions, answered to help you as you move forward in your internship search.

What is an Internship?

An internship is a short-term, hands-on, supervised work experience with a professional organization that increases your knowledge in a professional career field. An internship can help you explore career options, hone your skills, increase your network, and increase your likelihood of gaining employment.

Internships take many forms–– they could be part-time or full-time, during the summer or semester, a one-off experience, or something that does not have an end-date, paid or unpaid. While this may seem confusing, the multiple set-ups allow for variance across professions. For instance, a summer internship in a biology lab will require different components than a semester-long internship in theatre arts. No matter the industry, internships are valuable experiences to showcase when applying to full time jobs. 

Internships, Part-Time Jobs, and Volunteering. What’s the Difference?

 An internship has clear learning objectives and goals serving as the primary focus. Additionally, an internship should include regular meetings with a dedicated supervisor about your progress. As a result of an internship, you will gain skills and knowledge within a particular industry setting, and expand your network of support.

The Difference between For-Credit & Non-Credit Internships?

For-Credit Internships allow you to earn university course credit upon completion of your internship. Guidelines for earning credit vary by academic department and institution. Your department might have specific criteria for their internships and will determine if your internship meets the necessary requirements to earn credit. This internship experience will be listed on your academic transcript. The benefit of taking an internship for credit is the professional support system built into the credits. You will have dedicated faculty member and support from the Office of Career & Professional Development to ensure you’re learning relevant information within your internship experience, and how to apply it in your next steps.

Non-Credit internships are arranged and completed independently of a university. We encourage you to seek a position that includes a learning agreement outlining the skills and knowledge you’ll gain, projects to be completed, the duration of the internship, identification of a supervisor and/or mentor, and clear expectation around compensation and hours. If you need support having these conversations and/or seeking these opportunities, the Office of Career & Professional Development is here to support you. Book a session in the Career Studio to discuss.

Can I receive credit and be paid for an internship?

Yes, you can be paid and receive credit for your internship. Credit and compensation are not synonymous or interchangeable. For example, you might have a paid internship where you are receiving credit or have an unpaid internship and not receive credit. One is not reliant on the other.

Any internship must do the following:

All internships must provide mentoring, professional supervision, learning about the career field, planned learning goals regardless of whether or not the student earns credit or not for the experience. Only the University and the department granting the credit can determine if an internship meets the educational criteria necessary for academic credit.

How do I earn credit for my internship?

Most CAS departments can offer For-Credit Internships. Reach out to your academic advisor as internship course numbers and requirements vary by department.

What if I am an International Student?

International students interested in finding an internship or employment need to first speak with the International Students and Scholars Office. Visit this website for information about Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and current guidelines. The University of Redlands shares additional information here.

Are unpaid internships legal?

Yes.  However, here are some things to be aware of. If you have an unpaid internship, we encourage you to review the guidelines outlined by the Department of Labor in the Fair Labor Standards Act and to ask the employer if they are aware of the guidelines. Most importantly, prior to starting, you should obtain a written learning agreement with your potential employer outlining what they will provide in terms of compensation. If there are questions, seek clarification from the employer and/or guidance from the Office of Career & Professional Development.

Where can I find an internship?

There are multiple places to find an internship. Two exclusive resources you have access to as a University of Redlands students are:

Handshake : Log into your Handshake account to access internship positions available at the over 5000+ employers seeking University of Redlands talent.

Careershift: Search, select, and store internship listings from all online job boards and company job postings across the nation.

How Do I Prepare for an Internship?

Most internships will require a resume and cover letter. Check out these resume and cover letter resources and schedule an appointment with OCPD for help creating/updating these documents.