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Washington State University
Academic Success and Career Center Cultivating Successful Scholars and Professionals

Faculty and Staff Guide to Internships

What is an internship?

A carefully monitored work or service experience in which an individual has intentional learning goals and reflects actively on what she or he is learning throughout the experience. Part of an educational program and carefully monitored and evaluated for academic credit, or part of a learning plan that the intern develops.

Internships vary in duration. They can be part-time or full-time, paid or unpaid. The important element that distinguishes an internship from a short-term job is the intentional learning agenda that the intern brings to the experience and the employer provides.

Internships help students:
  • Apply knowledge acquired in the classroom to real-world situations.
  • Develop analytical thinking skills and their discipline.
  • Clarify attitudes about careers in their field.
  • Improve time management, communication, and interpersonal skills.
  • Students who have completed internships are more likely to get a job at their internship site or with a competitor than students who have not completed an internship.
Internship Professional Organizations

The Cooperative Education and Internship Association

National Society for Experiential Education