Employer’s Frequently Asked Questions About Offering Internships
What level of compensation is typical for an internship?
In planning to allocate resources for your internship program, compensation may be a consideration. An hourly wage can vary depending upon experience; typically the hourly wage for an intern ranges from $8.00 to $20.00 per hour. If you are unable to budget an hourly wage, consider offering a monthly or semester based stipend to the student. (Note: The issue of pay is dictated by the Fair Labor Standards Act. To provide guidance regarding whether interns should be paid the minimum wage.)
Is my organization responsible for providing insurance or benefits to the intern?
No, normally only full-time employees are eligible for benefits provided by the employer. Interns are short-term employees and are therefore ineligible.
Do interns work 40 hour work weeks? Do they typically work five days a week?
Internships are flexible; students often plan their internship schedules around their class schedules on campus. A part-time internship can involve anywhere between 10 and 30 hours per week. Once you identify an intern candidate you will need to discuss his/her availability and agree on a schedule that will work for both parties. Students enrolled in a school with a co-op program may be able to work 40 hours a week for a semester.
When do internships typically begin? How long do they last?
Internships usually follow the starting and ending dates of the academic semester. They can take place during summer breaks (typically May-August), during the fall (September-December) or the spring (January-April). An internship is generally between three to nine months and can begin in summer, fall or spring.
When should I start looking for an intern if I want them to start work in the summer?
Typically internship descriptions are posted at least two months prior to the proposed start date to allow for a one month window for candidates to submit applications.
How does a student obtain academic credit for internship experience?
Credit requirements for internships vary by school. It is the student’s responsibility to manage this.
What if my intern does not work out? Are there rules for terminating interns the same way as there are for full or part time positions?
In most cases, interns are treated as employees and therefore the same laws apply. It is advised that you consult with your Human Resources department and/or seek legal counsel for further information and specific Department of Labor requirements.
Can full-time employment be offered after the internship program has been completed?
Yes, if your organization and the intern can come to an agreement about full-time employment that is the ultimate win/win for the student and the employer.