5 Types of Internships and Things to Consider When Choosing

Whether required for your graduation or you just want to get a bit of relevant work experience under your belt, internships can give you the boost your education and career need. But with plenty of different “types” of internships out there, what exactly should you be looking for in a position? Let’s start with the basics of interning, the benefits, and then cover the different considerations you should be making before applying for or accepting an internship offer.

What is an Internship?

An internship is a position within a company or organization that helps a current student or recent graduate earn real job experience. They can help students earn money or college credits. For programs through a school, students may be asked to complete an educational project in order to receive credits.

5 Types of Internships

There are several different types of internships available out there! They can vary from the time of year they’re available, the length of the program, credits vs no credits, paid vs unpaid, and industry. Here are just some of the types of internships you should be aware of.

1. Paid Internships

Paid internships are positions that pay the intern an hourly wage. These hourly wages tend to be lower than full-time or part-time employees’ rates. The positions could also offer college credit.

2. Unpaid Internships

Unpaid internships should always offer college credit in lieu of money. You may have to complete a project on the job, however, to earn those credits. If the internship is offering neither credit nor wages, the program could be illegal. Always check with your state’s laws and school’s requirements before applying to an unpaid internship.

3. Work Research

For some undergraduate and graduate programs, internships are required for graduation. Always work with your advisor to be sure you’re selecting an internship that fits in the perimeters of your requirements.

4. Virtual Internships

Some internships have gone fully digital. Students can work from their dorm room or home, and not have to head to the location.

5. Externships

Externships are similar to job shadowing and they’re much shorter than other internships. The student may only be at the location for a day or a few weeks. Some students opt for these before agreeing to an internship to get a lay of the land and an idea of what their day-to-day will consist of.

What Are the Benefits of Completing an Internship?

Whether you choose a virtual internship, a paid internship, or another type, there are plenty of benefits to completing an internship! You:

  • Can complete any undergraduate or graduate internships that are required for graduation
  • Gain work experience in your industry
  • May be offered a full-time job after completion
  • Can earn money and/or credits
  • Improve your professional network
  • Learn outside of the classroom

5 Things to Consider in Choosing an Internship

In most cases, what you look for in an internship will be unique to you. A position that works for a friend may not be the best option for you. Here are a few considerations to keep in mind and questions to ask yourself going forward.

1. Try to Stay Within Your Niche or Industry

If you’re majoring in biology and intend on working in a zoo, a journalism internship may not be the best option for you. To gain full benefits from an internship, you should look into ones that match your major, intended niche, or industry.

2. Think About Your Goals

What goals do you have for your remaining time at college? After graduation? In your future career? The answer to these questions could very well dictate the best internships for you. Keep your goals in mind while searching for positions, and pass up on those who don’t meet your needs.

3. Money vs Credit

Do you want to earn money, college credits, or both? This answer could be dictated by where you are in life. If you’ve recently graduated, for example, you have no need for college credits – only money. As stated before, however, always look into your state’s laws and any college requirements before applying to unpaid internships. You don’t want to be taken advantage of.

4. Will it Lead to a Full Time Position?

If you’re close to graduating college or have recently graduated, you may also be on the lookout for a full-time position! Many internships actually offer long-term employment to those who have completed their programs. If you’re curious if the position will lead to a full-time offer, ask before applying.

5. What is the Expected Workload and Environment?

No two workplaces are the same. One could have a low workload but a very toxic environment. The next could have an amazing culture but an almost impossible workload to be completed in 8 hours. It’s important to scope out places regarding employment. Looking at employee reviews, for example, can help you see how companies and organizations treat their workers and interns.

Understanding the different types of internships and what you should be looking for in a position can help you weed out bad eggs – or internships that simply don’t meet your career and education goals. Knowing what you want out of the program is a necessity to get the most out of it!

Are you considering entering an internship because you need the money to afford college? While you should definitely pursue this type of position to get work experience, you may also want to consider using some of your free time to apply for scholarships. Many awards don’t have a lot of people applying for them, and you could come out on top! To get started with your search, begin here with our Scholarship Search Tool.