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Internships

Internships

Information for Employers

Internships that meet the criteria listed below can be advertised to students in two ways. Employers may post internships for McNeese students in Cowboy Job Link at www.mcneese.edu/career and by submitting an online Intern Request Form.

What is an Internship?

An internship is a short-term, hands-on, supervised work experience with a professional organization designed to increase a student's knowledge of a professional career field. More than a part-time job or volunteer experience, an internship includes intentional learning objectives related to increasing student knowledge, training to develop additional skills, and quality supervision to guide and mentor the intern. 

In order to qualify as a professional internship experience, the following criteria should be met (note that some academic departments may have additional criteria):
  • The intern will receive quality training by a supervisor who possesses expertise directly related to the intern's responsibilities.
  • The experience will provide exposure to multiple aspects of a professional career field, internship organization, or industry.
  • A job description will be provided that includes a detailed explanation of duties and/or projects, required skills or qualifications, minimum number of hours per week (flexibility in days/hours is encouraged to accommodate class schedules), and approximate start and end dates for the experience.
  • Clerical or other nonprofessional tasks will comprise no more than 20% of the intern's responsibilities.
  • The intern will be provided with an appropriate work space and resources required to complete assignments, as well as with introductions to employees and an overview of the organization (similar to an orientation that would be provided to any new employee).

Academic Credit

Not every academic program at McNeese State University requires students to complete an internship; it is up to each student to decide whether or not to pursue the option of earning credit for an internship. Some academic programs do not grant credit for internships, and most will grant credit only when an internship is directly related to a student's major. Students pay tuition to receive internship credit at the same rate charged for courses, and, beyond the hours they work as an intern, they are also required to complete additional academic assignments, and the employer may be required to complete a performance evaluation as part of the grading process.
Since internship credit requirements and approval processes vary greatly by major and department, it is the responsibility of the student seeking credit to contact their academic department directly to learn about eligibility. To receive credit for an internship, a detailed job description and learning objectives must be approved by an academic representative in the major curriculum and the student seeking credit must meet the criteria and follow the registration procedures determined by the academic department granting credit.

Are Interns Paid?

For-profit employers interested in employing an intern are required to comply with the U.S. Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which governs minimum wage requirements in for-profit organizations.
The U.S. Department of Labor has developed six criteria for unpaid internships. These criteria are as follows:
  1. The training, even though it includes actual operation of the employer's facilities, is similar to training that would be given in a vocational school.
  2. The training is for the benefit of the student.
  3. The student does not displace regular employees, but works under the close observation of a regular employee.
  4. The employer provides the training and derives no immediate benefits from the activities of the student. Occasionally, employer operations may actually be impeded by the training.
  5. The student is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the training period.
  6. The employer and the student understand that the student is not entitled to wages for the time spent training. All six requirements must be satisfied in order for an intern to be deemed a non-employee trainee (exempt from FLSA minimum wage requirements).

IMPORTANT NOTE: Fact Sheet #71, issued by the U.S. Department of Labor in 2010, specifically states: if the interns are engaged in the operations of the employer or are performing productive work (for example, filing, other clerical work, or assisting customers), then the fact that they may be receiving some benefits in the form of a new skill or improved work habits will NOT exclude them from the FLSA's minimum wage and overtime requirements because the employer benefits from the interns' work.
 
If you are a non-profit employer or government agency, consider providing compensation to:
  • Attract skilled interns.
  • Increase intern commitment and reward for contributions.
  • Reduce financial burdens that may require a student to work a second job during their internship (or limit internship opportunities to only those students who can afford them).
  • Offset the cost of paying for tuition when a student chooses (or is required) to earn credit for an internship.
  • Additional ways to compensate interns:
  • Offer a stipend.
  • Provide networking opportunities (through professional association memberships, sponsoring attendance at networking events, opportunities to sit in on meetings, participation in workplace or vendor-provided training, and get to know personnel from other departments to increase organizational knowledge).
  • Cover out-of-pocket transportation, tuition for internship credit, or housing costs.

Ready to Hire?

Employers may request an intern by completing our online Internship Announcement Form. The information provided on this form is used to develop an accurate and complete email announcement inviting students in relevant majors to submit a resume to the employer for review. The employer then interviews and selects the successful candidate.


Resources


15 Best Practices for Internship Programs
12 Steps to Setting Up an Internship Program