Create an Internship
Career Services supports internships by connecting students with employers, facilitating academic credit and serving as a resource for both employers and students. U of I strongly endorses internships and other experiential learning activities to help students progress in their personal and professional career development.
We Can Help
Career Services can help in the internship creation process. Email the Employer Relations team or call 208-885-6121.
- Special Projects - Many employers have long lists of projects, but don't have the staff to complete them. Interns are the ideal solution. Because of the nature of academic schedules, students often look for internship opportunities that are temporary in nature. Interns can organize research projects, plan events, develop promotional campaigns or design web pages. When developing an internship around a special project, identify goals, timelines, and outcomes so everyone understands the purpose and expectations of the project.
- On-Going Operations - Some organizations routinely experience peak periods where additional staff is needed. Others may operate under very limited budgets and need more help throughout the year. Again, interns may solve these problems. Interns may serve as facilitators for youth groups, HR support staff, PR or marketing associates, or website developers. Remember, students are looking for internships that provide them with professional experience and the opportunity to learn.
The duration of your internship can be as flexible to accommodate the needs of both the student and the employer.
How long will the internship last? How much time will it take to accomplish goals? Students are seeking internships that last one semester (15 weeks), a summer (mid-May through mid-August), or longer.
- Summer Internships - This is the most popular time for students to participate in an internship. Students begin looking for full-time summer internships as early as October.
- Continuing Full-Time Internships - Full-time internships extending beyond a semester can be created if a student chooses to temporarily “stop out” from school. In a continuing full-time internship, students assume full responsibility for stopping out.
- Continuing Part-Time Internships - For students who are currently enrolled in classes, internships can be part-time (10-20 hours per week) for one or more semesters. Transportation may be a concern. Part-time internship generally should be within commuting distance from U of I.
Academic credit for internships is available if pre-arranged by the student and his or her academic department or Career Services. Students seeking longer internships prefer a summer/fall or spring/summer internship. Longer internships work best if they coincide with the U of I's semester system.
- Designate a mentor/supervisor. This should be someone who is interested in teaching others, understands the organization and can develop quality work assignments for the intern. Good supervisors not only help interns learn, they help the organization learn about the intern as a potential full-time hire.
- Decide whether the intern will work in one department or several.
- Determine the type of orientation and training the intern will need.
Employers are required to provide a safe working environment and equipment, supplies and work space necessary for interns to perform their duties. There are some additional needs to keep in mind:
- Medical Insurance - Students must have medical insurance to register for classes at U of I. They must report personal insurance information or enroll in the Student Health Insurance Program offered by the university.
- Workers' Compensation - If a student is paid in an employment capacity, the student should be covered by the employer's workers' compensation policy. If a student is unpaid or receives a stipend, it is highly advisable for an employer to obtain a rider to its existing workers’ compensation policy to cover the intern.
While some interns are willing to work with an employer on an unpaid basis to gain valuable career-building experience, the candidate pool for an internship will likely be much larger and of higher quality if financial compensation is provided.
To calculate a fair hourly wage, first identify the entry-level starting salary for a similar position at the organization, then multiply it by a percentage. This percentage varies depending on the intern’s education and experience. Follow these guidelines:
- Seniors: 80-85 percent of entry-level salary
- Juniors: 70-75 percent of entry-level salary
- Sophomores: 60-75 percent of entry-level salary
Unpaid or Stipend Internships
According to the Fair Labor Standards Act and U.S. Department of Labor’s trainee/learner guidelines in the DOL's Field Operations Handbook, employers may have an unpaid or stipend intern if the following factors are met:
- The training is similar to that which would be given in a vocational school.
- The training is for the benefit of the intern.
- The interns do not displace regular employees.
- The employer derives little immediate advantage from the activities of students.
- The interns are not entitled to a job at the end of the training period.
- The employer and the intern understand the intern is not entitled to wages.
Additional resources are available from the Career Center including learning agreement and performance evaluation forms, internship coordinators in various academic departments and more.
For more information, email Jamie Garlinghouse or call 208-885-6122.
Position descriptions should include:
- Brief organization description and website address
- Position title
- Skills and qualifications required/preferred
- Duties and responsibilities
- Pay rate (indicate hourly, stipend-based or unpaid/for class credit)
- Hours per week and the start/end dates of the internship
- Location (city, state)
- Application instructions and deadline
Career Services can help you recruit the right students for your internship.
- Post your internship on Handshake, U of I's free online job and internship database. Browse other promotion resources.
- Set up an on-campus interview - Career Services' qualified staff will coordinate on-campus interview schedules to maximize company visits and allow employers to meet as many candidates as possible. To arrange on-campus interviews, email Jamie Garlinghouse or call 208-885-6122. Employers should contact Career Services 6-8 weeks prior to their visit to allow adequate time for promotion.
- Report the hire - Employers who hire a U of I student or alumnus are asked to notify Career Services. At the end of the recruiting season, employers will receive a hiring questionnaire. Employers can also send email Career Services at any time with hiring information.