Frequently Asked Questions (Students)

1. When should I do an internship?
Most internships are done before you graduate. Many internships (particularly federal ones) require that students be enrolled in a degree-seeking program at their college or university. The junior/senior years are the most desirable for gaining practical, hands-on experience. At this level of your education you have most likely completed some upper-division courses and have more skills to offer the employer. Some employers, however, are willing to start as early as your freshman year. These early internships will be more exploratory in nature but will offer you the added advantage of doing multiple internships before you graduate. Some nationally recognized programs have opportunities specifically for graduates. As a Master’s level candidate, you will often enjoy a competitive advantage in the internship job market, as you will have some advanced skills in your major.

2. Where should I do an internship?
Many factors should be considered when it comes to deciding where you should do an internship. Learning how to research employers will help you locate companies that you may be interested in interning for. Register with your Career Services department and research employers in your field of interest. If you are going to do an internship for academic credit, you should check with your academic advisor to determine whether or not there are any restrictions or guidelines concerning employers. If you are doing an internship for experience only, you may need to assess your personal attributes in order to best determine what kind of learning situation will work for you. You also should be looking for internship opportunities that will begin to develop the skills that you need in order to achieve your career goals after graduation. Remember, you can always contact a career consultant at any of our Career Services offices to further discuss your options.

3. What are the benefits of an internship?

  • Develop the skills that employers seek
  • Gain the real-world experience that all employers seek
  • Great opportunity to network
  •  Apply theory to practice and vice versa
  • Get college credit
  • Test the waters in chosen field
  • Open door to a possible job offer
  • Great resume boost
  • Enhance application to graduate school

4. Are internships paid?
Each internship situation is unique and many times the choice to pay or not 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. Some industries do not typically pay their interns. This is an important factor to consider when applying to internship opportunities and another reason to conduct research on the opportunities before you apply.

5. Will I get academic credit for my experience?
The answer to this question varies depending on your major. Only your academic advisor/department can answer questions about whether you can obtain credit for your program by participating in an internship. Requirements vary according to discipline so make sure to gather that information before you accept an opportunity. Academic Programs at FIU will link you to each major/department at FIU where you can find out about credit options and requirements

6. Where can I find an internship?

7. What is the difference between a co-op and an internship?
Co-op positions are usually paid and highly structured in nature. Internships, on the other hand, may be more exploratory. They are often short-term or one-time opportunities and may be unpaid. Today, these differences are becoming fuzzier as campuses and employers across the country are developing and refining their own unique brands of experiential education/internship programs. Now the terms “internship” and “co-op” are used almost interchangeably to refer to a real-world work or service experience where students gain practical and/or professional work experience. Other terms used to describe such general learning experiences include: Externship and Shadowing Programs These programs provide experiences that allow you to spend between a day and several weeks observing a professional on the job. You gain an overview of various career fields and get a taste of the specifics in the day of a particular professional. Field Experience/Service Learning/Volunteer Work. These are generally unpaid work or service experiences in the human services or nonprofit sector that run parallel to your regular class schedule. Some programs offer academic credit for such experiences.

8. How long does an internship last?

Typically the length of an internship is one semester and can depend on the employer. 4 and 5 week internships are not uncommon, particularly during the summer, but there are also a growing number of 6 month and 12 month internships, regardless of industry.

9. Should I participate in more than one internship?
You may certainly consider completing more than one internship during your time in school, particularly if you have a double major or are considering two possible career paths. Early planning will be necessary as employers might have specific criteria in mind when they post their internship opportunities. The number of recent college graduates who have completed more than one internship is continuously growing in the U.S., but remember to continue to keep your focus on quality over quantity.

10. Should I report my internship to FIU?
Absolutely! We want to hear about the opportunities that you are exploring, so that we can help provide you with the support and resources that you need in order to maximize your experience at your internship. Whether it is right after you receive an offer, during or after your internship, help FIU by filling out this quick survey:

Stop by your Career Services Office after your internship so you can learn how to translate your accomplishments and experiences onto your resume and into your approach for job searching and networking. We hope to see you soon!