Internships are great opportunities for students to gain career-related work experience. If a student is interested in receiving academic credit for an internship with your organization (only about half are), they must contact their academic department to learn about eligibility and requirements. If you are seeking a student or recent graduate with the expertise to complete a project for you with little or no training provided, you are welcome to advertise the opportunity as a paid Project Work (Temporary or Freelance) position rather than as an internship. Internships that meet the criteria listed below can be advertised to students through Sun Devil CareerLink.

If you have any questions, or if you would like assistance with payroll or hiring international students for your internship(s) please
contact us about our Internship Contract Program at 480-965-2355

What Constitutes An Internship?

An internship is a short-term, hands-on, supervised work experience with a professional organization that's designed to increase a student's knowledge of a professional career field. More than a part-time job or volunteer experience, an internship includes intentional learning objectives related to increasing student knowledge, training to develop additional skills, and quality supervision to guide and mentor the intern.

In order to qualify as a professional internship experience, the following criteria should be met (note that some academic departments may have additional criteria):

  • The intern will receive quality training by a supervisor who possesses expertise directly related to the intern's responsibilities.
  • The experience will provide exposure to multiple aspects of a professional career field, internship organization, or industry.
  • A job description will be provided that includes a detailed explanation of duties and/or projects, required skills or qualifications, minimum number of hours per week (flexibility in days/hours is encouraged to accommodate class schedules), and approximate start and end dates for the experience.
  • Clerical or other nonprofessional tasks will comprise no more than 20% of the intern's responsibilities.
  • The intern will be provided with an appropriate work space and resources required to complete assignments, as well as with introductions to employees and an overview of the organization (similar to an orientation that would be provided to any new employee).
  • Since only a few of ASU's 200+ academic programs require students to complete an internship, it is up to each student to decide whether or not to pursue the option of earning credit for an internship. Some academic programs do not grant credit for internships, and most will only grant credit when an internship is directly related to a student’s major (making credit difficult for many students to obtain when their career interests are unrelated to their major). Students pay to receive internship credit at the same rate charged for courses, and, beyond the hours they work for you as an intern, they are also required to complete additional academic assignments.
  • Since internship credit requirements and approval processes vary greatly by major and department, it is the responsibility of the student seeking credit to contact their academic department directly to learn about eligibility. To receive credit for an internship, a detailed job description and learning objectives must be approved by a university internship coordinator and the student seeking credit must meet the criteria and follow the registration procedures determined by the academic department granting the credit


Hiring An Intern?

If you are a for-profit employer interested in employing an intern, you are required to comply with the U.S. Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which governs minimum wage requirements in for-profit organizations. The U.S. Department of Labor has developed six criteria for identifying a learner/trainee who may be unpaid. These criteria are as follows: (1) The training, even though it includes actual operation of the employer’s facilities, is similar to training that would be given in a vocational school. (2) The training is for the benefit of the student. (3) The student does not displace regular employees, but works under the close observation of a regular employee. (4) The employer provides the training and derives no immediate benefits from the activities of the student. Occasionally, the operations may actually be impeded by the training. (5) The student is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the training period. (6) The employer and the student understand that the student is not entitled to wages for the time spent training. All six requirements must be satisfied in order for an intern to be deemed a non-employee trainee (exempt from FLSA minimum wage requirements).

IMPORTANT NOTE: Fact Sheet #71, issued by the U.S. Department of Labor in 2010, specifically states: if the interns are engaged in the operations of the employer or are performing productive work (for example, filing, other clerical work, or assisting customers), then the fact that they may be receiving some benefits in the form of a new skill or improved work habits will NOT exclude them from the FLSA's minimum wage and overtime requirements because the employer benefits from the interns' work. Based on this clarification, it is the policy of ASU Career Services to reject postings for unpaid internships with for-profit organizations that clearly provide employer benefits, including those involving campus or social media activities related to marketing goods or services to university students.

If you are a nonprofit employer or government agency, consider providing compensation to:

  • Attract skilled interns.
  • Increase intern commitment and reward for contributions.
  • Reduce financial burdens that may require a student to work a second job during their internship (or limit internship opportunities to only those students who can afford them).
  • Offset the cost of paying for tuition when a student chooses (or is required) to earn credit for an internship.

Additional ways to compensate interns:

  • Offer a stipend.
  • Provide networking opportunities (through professional association memberships, sponsoring attendance at networking events, opportunities to sit in on meetings, participation in workplace or vendor-provided training, and get to know personnel from other departments to increase organizational knowledge).
  • Cover out-of-pocket transportation, tuition for internship credit, or housing costs.

If you need general information regarding your internship posting or require assistance with developing an internship opportunity, please contact Career Services.