How Many Hours Are Interns Supposed to Work?

How Many Hours Are Interns Supposed to Work?

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Internships are one of the essential prerequisites many students have to hurdle through to graduate. How long these last may depend on many things, such as academic credit, season, and company guidelines. 

Most full-time internships require interns to work 40 hours per week. Part-time internships can go from 10 hours to 25 hours per week. These numbers may vary according to the company guidelines, academic credits needed, season, and project needs. Some interns also opt to render overtime. 

Follow through this article to know about the factors that affect internship hours, types of internships, creditable internship hours, and how to apply for them.

How Many Hours Does It Take To Finish an Internship? 

There is no standard duration for internships. Some can last for 45 days, or others end once the required 120 or 240 hours are completed. The number of hours interns spend per week is also variable.

This section will discuss some factors that affect the duration of internships and the number of hours set per week. 

Academic Requirements 

Often, interns are students trying to comply with their university’s or college’s requirements. The number of hours these institutions set often determines the length or duration of the internship itself.

Most educational institutions require students to accomplish 120 to 240 internship hours, depending on the number of credits they want. The longer durations are typically reserved for summer internships. A certain number of academic units may be needed before the internship. 

Those internship hours can be completed during the summer or part-time during the semester. For semester internships, college students are usually restricted to working less than 20 hours per week as they also need to complete their academic duties.

For Cedar Crest College, students may earn three credits after interning for at least 120 hours within 10 to 12 weeks. If they wish to get six credits, twice the number of hours are needed (240 hours) within the same weeks. Only sophomore students with at least 60 credits may apply for internships. 

At least 120 hours of intern work is needed for students from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. They may fulfill this part-time or full-time. The experience aims to immerse students in a professional setup while being supervised. 

Meanwhile, for students from the Department of Health and Kinesiology of Texas A & M University, interns must accomplish at least 120 hours. However, if the company or organization they are interning for needs them for more than the required hours, they must deliver. 

College of the Canyons distinguishes the working hours of paid and unpaid interns. Paid interns work for 300 hours to earn four units. Meanwhile, unpaid interns only have to deliver 240 hours to get the same number of units. 

Company Guidelines

Many universities have their suggested number of work hours per week. For example, Cedar Crest College recommends students work 20 hours per week to earn six credits. However, interns may find themselves exceeding this since the final schedule is primarily up to the company and its guidelines. 

Different companies have different internship schedules and setups. Some may require onsite attendance, while others allow work-from-home arrangements. The latter is usually applicable for part-time interns. 

Most companies require full-time, paid interns to report for 40 hours per week. If they exceed this limit, interns may be entitled to overtime pay. This is often the case for project-based internships where the project tasks must be completed at a particular time; hence interns have to stay. 

On the other hand, for part-time interns, required hours may vary from 10 to 25 hours per week. There is even an “8 Hour Internship” setup wherein interns report for only eight hours per week. It is a format gaining traction among employers as it cuts costs, increases options for potential hires, and ensures productivity. 


Seasons can also affect the duration and schedule of interns. Summer interns are expected to commit more hours than those who work during the school year. Thus, most full-time internships are usually around this season, as students have less academic workload and more time to allocate for work. 

How Many Hours Are Interns Allowed to Work per Week?

Many interns worry about a heavy workload. Full-time interns are usually expected to work 40 hours per week. Whereas part-time internships might span for 1-20 hours per week.

However, the FLSA does not establish a maximum number of hours per week for interns over the age of 18. The FLSA only dictates standards for the payment of overtime hours. The employer has to pay a bonus one and a half times the salary of the intern for the hours worked in excess of 40 unless the intern qualifies for an overtime exemption.

Types of Internships 

Now that you know how long interns are supposed to work, it is also crucial to differentiate among the different types of internships available.

Part-Time vs. Full-Time 

Besides the apparent number of working hours difference, a common distinction between part-time and full-time internships is the working arrangement. Part-time internships are typically conducted at a work-from-home setup. Meanwhile, full-time interns often need to report face-to-face. 

However, some noted that part-time hours might mean limited opportunities to learn or immerse in the setup. 

Paid vs. Unpaid

Aside from compensation, one of the main differences between paid and unpaid interns is the legalities that protect them. For instance, if you can prove that the company primarily benefited from your work more than them, you should be compensated. However, if the primary beneficiary of the internship is the intern or student, then they may not be paid. 

A survey also found that paid interns get better future job offers compared to unpaid interns or students who did not intern at all. However, paid internships are tricky to find and secure. Thus, it is encouraged to consider micro-internships, which are short-term projects which grant both experience and compensation, albeit in a short period. 

Location vs. Virtual 

Location internships have specific office interns report to. Often, this is feasible only for individuals from that area or those who are willing to commute or relocate. 

Meanwhile, virtual internships are done online, and there is no need to report physically. It is great for students from far away areas or for those who want flexible options. However, it may not be a choice for all as laboratory or medical internships are best-done face-to-face. 


Internships may also be classified based on their industry or specialization. There are internships for marketing, technology, finance, and research. These types may also be further specialized. 

For example, business administration majors may consider focusing on any of these internships: sales and marketing, corporate, finance, business management, business consulting, business development, product marketing, and event planning. These fields sharpen unique skill sets, allowing interns to specialize their knowledge. 

Can All Internship Hours Be Credited? 

Internships are not exclusive to students. Hence, not all interns aim to get academic credits. But, for those who are, getting hours credited is important. 

For internship hours to be credited, the student’s work must be relevant to their program. It must not consist mainly of clerical or administrative tasks. Journals, reports, and time logs may be required to prove accomplishment. 

For the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, it is specified that clerical or administrative tasks must not exceed 25% of an intern’s schedule. Other colleges may also make similar specifications. 

Final Thoughts 

Depending on your academic requirements, company guidelines, and seasons, internships can last a few hours per week to a full summer schedule. Full-time interns usually spend 40 hours per week at the office, while part-time interns spend less than 25 hours working either from home or onsite. 

But, no matter how long these opportunities may last and whichever way these were delivered, make sure to maximize your experience and learn the most from them. They help you integrate into the professional world easier, giving you room to learn instead of being blindly thrust into it. Do not just do it for compliance by absorbing as much knowledge as possible.