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Career Services

Internship FAQs

What is an internship?
An internship is a formal opportunity for students to integrate classroom learning with practical experience in the workplace. Interns generally enjoy real-work projects, close supervision and mentoring, and the opportunity to learn more about a particular industry and organization. Internship experience is highly recommended in this competitive marketplace. Internships usually last a semester with students generally working part time for spring and fall, and either part time or full time for summer. Academic credit may be earned.

What is the value of participating in an internship?
Students who gain experience through an internship receive:

  • An opportunity to “test drive” a career field.
  • Training in a professional setting.
  • Implementation of classroom knowledge.
  • New skills.
  • Work experience sought by employers.
  • Potential networking contacts for future employment.

Can I earn credit? Do I have to earn credit?
You may earn academic credit if you wish, but remember that this means registering and paying tuition for those credits. If you would like to earn credit, stop by Career Services for instructions. Submit your credit internship proposal as early as possible.

Will I need to pay for the internship credit?
Yes, you will be billed for these credits just like you would any other class.

Will I get paid?
This depends on the company. Typically, nonprofit organizations may not be able to pay much (or at all) for interns, although Carthage’s Great Lakes Internship Program may be able to provide payment when a nonprofit organization cannot. Larger companies are usually in a better position to offer competitive wages for interns. Check with each company individually to be sure.

Why would I work at an internship that is not paid?
Some career fields simply do not offer paid internships. Keep in mind that employers value students who have both a degree AND practical experience, so an unpaid internship may be an investment in your future. Some students have balanced an unpaid part-time internship with a paid part-time job. Also, some unpaid internship may offer other fringe benefits such as reimbursement for transportation, free memberships, or complimentary lunches.

When do I apply for an internship?
Start your internship search process at least one semester before you would like to work. Larger companies may have deadlines in early spring for competitive summer internships. Some employers even have fall deadlines for summer positions. Career Services recommends that you start as early as possible.

What is the difference between an internship and a part-time or summer job?
Typically, an internship refers to any paraprofessional experience allowing a student to learn in a hands-on environment while applying previous coursework. A job usually refers to any work in exchange for money. While this distinction is clear to Career Services and faculty, many employers use these terms interchangeably.

Who is eligible for an internship?
Each employer has its own requirements such as major, GPA, or work eligibility status. If students wish to earn credit, they must be currently enrolled at Carthage, have completed their sophomore year, be in good standing with the College, and have declared a major.

Where do I begin?
Pick up a copy of the Resume Writing handout from Career Services, draft a copy of your resume, and make an appointment with Career Services staff. At this appointment, Career Services staff will review your resume, explain the internship process, and ask you to determine what type of internship you would like and in which geographical location. Together, you will form a “game plan” for securing an internship site.

What about J-Term Field Placements?
For students who wish to earn J-Term credit for field placements, the process is similar to approving an internship, but many majors are handled through the department, not Career Services. Each fall, Career Services makes available a handout on J-Term Field Experiences. See Career Services early in the fall semester if you have specific questions or concerns about J-Term.

My dad owns a business and would like me to intern for him. Is this possible?
Ideally, you want a supervisor who can evaluate your work objectively. As much as they try, family members are not able to provide that type of supervision. We recommend that your work be supervised by someone who can serve as a reference for you later on; family members are usually not able to provide references. Supervision by a family member for a credit-bearing internship is strongly discouraged.

I interned last summer at ABC Company. Can I earn credit for that experience?
Internship credit cannot be granted for work already completed.

I have already completed an internship at XYZ Organization. Can I earn credit for working there again for the next semester?
You can work at the same company, but your responsibilities should be vastly different. Some students have completed two internships at the same company but in different departments. Talk with Career Services to discuss special issues like this.

In which department will my internship credits be listed?
Internship credit will be assigned in the department in which your faculty sponsor teaches. Examples: If your faculty sponsor teaches management and marketing courses, your internship will be listed as a management or marketing course. If your faculty sponsor teaches Exercise Sport Science classes, your internship will be listed as an EXS course.