Frequently Asked Questions (Internships – Employers)

1. What is an internship?
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 (National Association of Colleges and Employers – NACE).

2. What are the benefits to having an intern?

  • An internship program can serve as a year-round recruiting tool.
  • Interns can assist with special events and/or short-term projects.
  • Interns may offer fresh ideas and new perspectives.
  • Mentoring an intern provides your staff members the opportunity to develop supervisory skills.
  • An intern can be evaluated and trained for possible future employment.
  • Providing internships can be a cost-effective solution for short-term projects.
  • An employer’s visibility on campus is increased when promoting internships. It is a great way to brand your company on campus!

3. Why hire an FIU student for your internship?
As Miami’s first and only four-year public research university, FIU is Worlds Ahead in its service to the community and is a great place to recruit interns. With a student body of over 50,000, we are one of the 10 largest public universities in the nation. Our colleges and schools offer more than 200 bachelors, masters and doctoral programs in fields such as Engineering, International Relations and Law. As one of South Florida’s anchor institutions, FIU has been locally and globally engaged for more than four decades, finding solutions to some of the more challenging problems of our time. FIU’s student body reflects the diversity of South Florida with 61% of our student body being Hispanic, 15% White Non-Hispanic, 13% Black, 4% Asian or Pacific Islander and 7% other minority groups.

4. What types of internships are there?

  • Credit/Non-Credit – One option to explore is whether the student can receive academic credit for your internship experience. The student is responsible for contacting their academic department/advisor to determine whether the internship is eligible for credit. The requirements vary according to their department, so make sure they gather this information before they accept an opportunity.
  • Paid/Unpaid – Each internship experience is unique and many times the choice to pay or not to pay is determined by industry, company size and other factors. Some organizations will offer to pay a salary as well as airfare and/or housing while others will provide a “one-time” stipend at the end of the experience. Keep in mind that paid interns make ideal workers who are hungry to learn, eager to make a good impression and willing to perform a multitude of tasks. The relatively small amount of money employers spend on intern wages and benefits is a good investment because it often produces future, long-term employees.
  • Full-time/Part-time – There are a variety of internship options available to students, allowing them to cater their experience to their own schedule. Part-time internships typically require students to be present between 15-25 hours a week. Part-time internships tend to be advantageous for students who are already working a part-time job, or are enrolled as full-time students. Employers understand that student interns have busy and non-traditional schedules, so they are very flexible in terms of making adjustments to internship schedules during the week of mid-terms, finals or vacations/holidays.

5. What is the average length of an internship?
Typically, the length of an internship is one semester. However, the length of an internship can vary based on your needs, whether the internship is being offered on a for-credit or not-for credit basis, and/or the discipline. The important thing for you to remember when you begin thinking about recruiting an intern is that the search and application process for students should happen the semester before the semester they intend to start their internship.

6. How long does it take to create an internship program?
Creating an internship program at your organization can range from several weeks to several months. This is based on a number of factors, including:

  • The needs of the organization
  • The size of the organization
  • The number of interns needed
  • Whether the internship is for-credit or not-for credit
  • Whether the intern’s hours will count towards licensing requirements (for specific disciplines/degrees)

With a bit of pre-planning, the internship will be more successful for you and the intern. Make the internship count for your agency and the intern by finding meaningful projects the intern can do.

7. How do I create a successful internship program?
Ideally, a successful internship program should meet the organization’s needs while providing students with relevant career experiences. An internship is a supervised work experience in which a student has intentional learning goals and reflects actively on what is being learned throughout the experience. Learning activities common to internships include learning objectives, observation, reflection, evaluation, and assessment.

8. How do I recruit FIU students?
Contact the Career Services Office at Florida International University to recruit. Begin recruitment early (3 to 4 months before you need the intern) to insure you get plenty of good, qualified applicants. It is important to have a fully developed internship program prior to posting the position and commencing the recruitment process in order to optimize your efforts. If you have any questions on best practices or would like to schedule a meeting to discuss the recruiting process in greater detail, please contact a staff member at the Career Services Office. The CSO office at FIU can create an individualized recruitment plan to meet your specific needs.

9. Should I report student internship information to FIU?
Absolutely! As part of our initiative to educate our students about the importance of internships, we are consistently collecting data on the internships in which our students are participating. Whether it is right after you extended an offer, during or after the internship, help FIU by filling out this quick survey: