Create an Internship

Internship Guidelines for Employers Recruiting at the University of Washington

What is an internship?

An internship is a pre-professional learning experience that offers meaningful, practical work experience related to a student’s field of study or career interest.  An internship offers a student the opportunity for career exploration and development, and the learning of new skills; but also offers the employer the opportunity to bring new ideas and energy into their workplace, develop talent and potentially build a pipeline for future full-time employees.

  

How do I design an internship?

Being thoughtful and intentional as you design your internship opportunity can mean a more successful and satisfying experience for all involved.

We encourage you to consult the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ resource on internship best practices as you are building and conceptualizing your opportunity: http://naceweb.org/internships/15-best-practices.aspx .

 

Should I pay an intern?

Although not currently an official requirement to post an internship with our office, we expect that for-profit corporations will pay University of Washington interns and strongly encourage them to do so.  Paid internships encourage application, provide financial support for students while they are attending school, and can create a stronger feeling of loyalty and investment for an intern.

While academic credit can be seen as some companies as an alternate form of compensation, many students do not value academic credit as a compensatory option, as they have to pay and register for academic credits.

While there are not any current legal requirement that interns be paid, if you are offering an unpaid internship you need to ensure that your unpaid internship is in compliance with the US Department of Labor’s ‘Test for Unpaid Interns’: http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs71.htm .  

Specific questions around legality related to internship payment should be directed to your legal counsel.

 

If I am paying an intern, what is an average hourly wage?

An hourly wage for an intern will vary widely, depending on the industry in which you work, the major or skillset of the student you are recruiting, and his or her level of experience. Internships can range from minimum wage for some roles up to $22 or more an hour for more technical skillsets.

An hourly wage cannot be less than minimum wage for the state in which the student will be working.

Need help setting an appropriate and competitive hourly wage? Email econeill@uw.edu

 

How does an intern receive academic credit from the University of Washington?

A student registers (and pays for) internship credits just as they would any academic courses that provide credit.

It is the student’s responsibility to initiate this process, whether through their academic department (for credits in their major) or through the Center for Experiential Learning (general studies credits). If a student has questions about how to initiate this process, they can contact the Career Center for support: 206.543.0535.

 

What is my role in the process if I am sponsoring a student for academic credit?

This can vary based on the department through which the student is earning the credit, but a good general explanation of the credit-earning process can be found at http://www.washington.edu/carlson/gen-st-350-internships-for-credit/ and http://www.washington.edu/carlson/gen-st-350-forms-and-registration/ .

The student will be responsible for communicating to you the role you play as it relates to their specific department/credit-earning process.

 

How many hours a week should an intern work?

As much as possible, an internship should be flexible in nature as it is generally something a student pursues while also taking classes.

Internships are part-time, between 10-20 hours a week; not to exceed 20 hours a week during the academic year (September-June). Summer internships, or those during a quarter in which the student is not enrolled in courses, can require up to 40 hours a week. Please do note that we strongly encourage internships that require more than 20 hours/week of students to be paid on an hourly or stipend basis, regardless of industry; offering an unpaid full-time summer internship will likely result in a small applicant pool as most students cannot commit that amount of time to an unpaid opportunity.

 

How many weeks or months is a typical internship?

An average internship is 3-4 months coinciding with a student’s typical quarter or summer.  A key factor in determining proper internship length is that an internship should be long enough so that an intern can get into the rhythm of the position and complete deliverables that are valuable to you and them.  If your position is only for 5-10 hours a week consider a 6-8 month long internship.

Season

Beginning Date

End Date

Avg. # of Hours / Week

Fall

Late-Sept/early Oct

Mid-December

10-20

Winter

Mid-January

Mid-March/Early April

10-20

Spring

Early April

Early June

10-20

Summer

Mid-Late June

Early-mid September

20-40+

 

How can I find the best possible intern?

Look beyond a student's major or class level. Consider how a student's overall profile and experience match the qualities, skills and other requirements of the position.

Consult the Career Center for ways to get your internship announcement in front of students, and increase your candidate pool.

 

How do I advertise my internship to University of Washington students?

A key way to advertise your internship is through the University of Washington’s online job and internship board, HuskyJobs, which is used by students and alumni from a wide variety of degrees and programs from all three UW campuses.

You may also wish to participate in an upcoming Career Fair or recruitment event, a full list of which can be found at http://careers.uw.edu/employers/calendar .

There are also some additional Career Contacts at the University of Washington that may prove beneficial to your recruitment efforts: http://careers.uw.edu/employers/OtherCampusContacts

 

How do I get my internship approved by the University of Washington?

There is no centralized approval process or internship office at the University of Washington. There is no mechanism through which you must be approved before being able to advertise an opportunity to the University of Washington community.

 

What are some guidelines for evaluating interns' work?

To begin, there should be a clear and concise yet thorough internship description available to the student that outlines duties, responsibilities and expectations.

Please see included document for Five Tips for Effective Intern Performance Reviews, as provided by the National Association of Colleges and Employers

 

What are some strategies for supporting interns' professional development?

These strategies assume that you are paying an intern so they are functioning as a key member of your organization.  If you are sponsoring an unpaid intern, you need to have paid careful attention to the Department of Labor criteria and ideally have consulted with internal legal counsel, to ensure that projects are not violating those expectations and criteria.

 

  • Offer advice, insights and share information about your own career path and interests

 

  • Provide students with opportunities for meaningful hands-on experiences in your workplace – working on a project, being part of a team, contributing to larger goals, etc.  Again, if you are sponsoring an unpaid intern you need to have paid careful attention to the Department of Labor criteria and ideally have consulted with internal legal counsel.

 

  • As appropriate and possible, include the intern in meetings with other staff and team members – provide exposure to multiple facets of your organization, and team members within it.

 

  • Conduct exit interviews with interns so, as they leave your employ it is clear to them what went well, what you see as strengths, and what areas you would suggest additional growth in.  Feedback received through this process can also assist you in enhancing your internship program and future student interns.

 

  • Offer to keep in touch with your intern after the internship experience to support him/her as a reference.  If you have time/interest, offer support as a mentor.

 

  • Suggest relevant professional organizations a student should consider becoming part of, or affiliations and certifications they should seek in order to be successful in your field

 

What if my question isn’t covered here?

Please contact the Career Center Assistant Director for Employer Relations, Emma O’Neill-Myers, at econeill@uw.edu