Internships allow inexperienced workers to gain on-the-job experience. Consider internships unpaid training that provides the same tasks as the actual position.
Internship goals are:
- To gain first-hand, real-life work experience
- To boost one’s resume
- To start a professional network before graduating from college
- To get a job out of the internship program
Nonetheless, the intern will benefit due to the experience the internship provides. The company, on the other hand, will also profit due to the intern’s overall contribution.
The 5 Different Types of Internships
Not all internships are created equal. For example, some internships are required for university credits, while an internship abroad is the key to learning another language.
1. Internship for Credits
The first and most sought-after type of internship is the one driven by acquiring course credits. Most college programs today require students to get an internship with a certain number of hours — averaging 240 hours.
However, one should note that not every internship is driven purely by acquiring credits. Some are in an internship program as part of their application.
Credit-driven internships usually entail interns taking note of their hours along with specific objectives relevant to their field of study. Thus, the intern may have to take two or more jobs to accomplish them throughout the program.
2. Summer Internships
From the name itself, this internship takes place during summer, when there are usually no principal semesters available (depending on the program).
These internships are usually driven by credits too. However, some college students purely take internships during this time plainly because they’re free from formal academic studies.
It’s also advantageous to take summer internships to lighten the load during the fall and spring semesters. The only thing that’s not so good about summer internships is that several universities will still ask for a tuition fee to get credit.
3. Co-operative Education
Co-operative education or “co-op” is an extended form of an internship with more complexity. Only some college programs will have a co-op, but when it does, it usually is a long-term integrated internship with set hours per day for a longer duration.
A typical internship will only last for a few weeks to a couple of months, while co-ops will span for a year or two. Furthermore, co-ops will usually come with low salaries.
Again, only a few students are privileged enough to participate in co-ops. However, they do exist and will consume more than just the summer semester to complete.
4. Service-Learning Internship
Another rare internship is service learning. These internships are for employers that only need the intern’s presence during projects.
The credit reward for this type of internship depends on the university. Most universities only credit this type of internship when the student finishes the goals required by the institution or their program.
5. Paid Internship
Last but not least are paid internships. These are like any other internship. The only difference is that it comes with a small salary.
This internship is, of course, the best choice out there.
However, only large corporations provide this opportunity with more rigorous requirements. Most paid internships will end up with the employer asking the intern to work for the company. Therefore, it is quite beneficial for the organization to have paid interns as they become more dedicated and eager to learn the trades.
Are All Internships Paid?
Not all internships are paid; around 43% of internships are unpaid internships (source). However, for summer internships, the likelihood of not being paid is even higher. This is because co-op education, where payment is very likely, was included in the survey.
Many interns are not paid — not to the extent that you might define as a salary. The primary purpose of an unpaid internship is to gain experience and practical skills. However, there has been a lot of movement toward regulating internships in the job market. Many politicians argue that full-time employment should not be unpaid.
The average salary for interns is just about $13. But it can go as high as $19 or drop to as low as $7. The latter is more common for most industries, while the former is what bigger companies in the tech space offer — Google, Facebook, Amazon, etc.
Final Thoughts on Internships
Some students hold more than one internship throughout their studies. Internships can open future opportunities; they can even influence their career path.
Many employers hire interns to scout future employees. However, some unpaid interns are getting scammed by their employers: they fulfill clerical duties without learning any relevant skills. To avoid these kinds of traps, it is crucial to make sure that the internship either provides valuable experience or some compensation (salary, network, knowledge, etc.).