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Center for Career Development


"An internship is a form of experiential learning that integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application and skills development in a professional setting. Internships give students the opportunity to gain valuable applied experience and make connections in professional fields they are considering for career paths; and give employers the opportunity to guide and evaluate talent." Read full position statement from National Association of Colleges and Employers. 

Academic Credit
Please do not list academic credit as compensation; only faculty/academic departments can determine if an internship experience meets the requirements for academic credit (based on learning objectives, # of hours, supervision, etc...). It is the student's responsibility to consult with their academic department and to submit a detailed copy of their position description for academic approval.  Students are required to pay tuition and fees for any credits they earn for an internship. Students can not receive retroactive credit for an internship experience.

The Test for Unpaid Interns and Students Courts have used the "primary beneficiary test" to determine whether an intern or student is, in fact, an employee under the FLSA.2 In short, this test allows courts to examine the "economic reality" of the intern-employer relationship to determine which party is the "primary beneficiary" of the relationship. Courts have identified the following seven factors as part of the test:

  1. The extent to which the intern and the employer clearly understand that there is no expectation of compensation. Any promise of compensation, express or implied, suggests that the intern is an employee-and vice versa.
  2. The extent to which the internship provides training that would be similar to that which would be given in an educational environment, including the clinical and other hands-on training provided by educational institutions.
  3. The extent to which the internship is tied to the intern's formal education program by integrated coursework or the receipt of academic credit.
  4. The extent to which the internship accommodates the intern's academic commitments by corresponding to the academic calendar.
  5. The extent to which the internship's duration is limited to the period in which the internship provides the intern with beneficial learning.
  6. The extent to which the intern's work complements, rather than displaces, the work of paid employees while providing significant educational benefits to the intern.
  7. The extent to which the intern and the employer understand that the internship is conducted without entitlement to a paid job at the conclusion of the internship.

Courts have described the "primary beneficiary test" as a flexible test, and no single factor is determinative. Accordingly, whether an intern or student is an employee under the FLSA necessarily depends on the unique circumstances of each case.

If analysis of these circumstances reveals that an intern or student is actually an employee, then he or she is entitled to both minimum wage and overtime pay under the FLSA. On the other hand, if the analysis confirms that the intern or student is not an employee, then he or she is not entitled to either minimum wage or overtime pay under the FLSA.

For additional information, please refer to the Department of Labor's Guidelines »  

(used by the Center for Career Development) to determine if an experience can be defined as an Internship). To ensure that an experience, whether it is a traditional internship or one conducted remotely or virtually, is educational, and thus eligible to be considered a legitimate internship by the NACE definition, all the following criteria must be met:

  1. The experience must be an extension of the classroom: a learning experience that provides for applying the knowledge gained in the classroom. It must not be simply to advance the operations of the employer or be the work that a regular employee would routinely perform.
  2. The skills or knowledge learned must be transferable to other employment settings.
  3. The experience has a defined beginning and end, and a job description with desired qualifications.
  4. There are clearly defined learning objectives/goals related to the professional goals of the student's academic coursework. 
  5. There is supervision by a professional with expertise and educational and/or professional background in the field of the experience.
  6. There is routine feedback by the experienced supervisor. 
  7. There are resources, equipment, and facilities provided by the host employer that support learning objectives/goals. 

Hourly Wage
According to NACE's 2020 Internship and Co-op Survey, the average hourly wage for interns was $19.54 (pursuing a Bachelor's degree).  Please note, salary may be higher due to geographic location and industry.  

Internship Posting Guidelines
Are you creating an internship for the first time?  Take a look at our guidelines to help you draft your position.  It can also be extremely helpful to follow when students are seeking academic credit.  The more details you can provide, the better. 

Post Your Position on Handshake 
Log in HERE to create an account. After you create your account you will then be placed in our "Holding Bin" which is an electronic holding place that gives us the opportunity to research the employer. You will then receive an email that you have been accepted or rejected. If accepted you can then go into the system and finish your profile, post full-time and part-time jobs, co-op opportunities, internships and review the calendar of all our upcoming events.