An internship is a period of
Internships for professional careers are similar in some ways, but not as rigorous as
Typically, an internship consists of an exchange of services for experience between the intern and the organization. Internships are used to determine if the intern still has an interest in that field after the real-life experience. In addition, an internship can be used to create a professional network that can assist with letters of recommendation or lead to future employment opportunities. The benefit of bringing an intern into full-time employment is that they are already familiar with the company, their position, and they typically need little to no training. Internships provide current college students the ability to participate in a field of their choice to receive hands on learning about a particular future career, preparing them for full-time work following graduation.
Internships exist in a wide variety of industries and settings. An internship can be paid, unpaid, or partially paid (in the form of a
Another type of internship growing in popularity is the
Companies in search of interns often find and place students in mostly unpaid internships, for a fee. These companies charge students to assist with research, promising to refund the fee if no internship is found. The programs vary and aim to provide internship placements at reputable companies. Some companies may also provide controlled housing in a new city,
Some companies specifically fund scholarships and grants for low-income applicants. Critics of internships criticize the practice of requiring certain college credits to be obtained only through unpaid internships. Depending on the cost of the school, this is often seen as an unethical practice, as it requires students to exchange paid-for and often limited tuition credits to work an uncompensated job. Paying for academic credits is a way to ensure students complete the duration of the internship, since they can be held accountable by their academic institution. For example, a student may be awarded academic credit only after their university receives a positive review from the intern's supervisor at the sponsoring organization.