All internships must have a clear and specified relationship to an academic program. They should allow for the application of ideas and theories learned in the classroom, and offer opportunities for the development of skills specific to the discipline.
The basis of internships is the learning, growth, and professional development of the student. Will the work you offer promote the student's intellectual and professional growth? Will there be opportunities for problem solving, analysis, and oral and written communication? Will the work require the student to make decisions and learn about the field through challenging experiences? Will the student be exposed to complex and multi-faceted functions related to the profession? Will the experience help the student to become competitive in the job market following graduation? Is there enough work available to keep the student occupied in an entry level professional or pre-professional capacity for 10-40 hours per week?
Hiring a student to perform busy work (data entry, filing, answering phones, faxing, "gophering," etc.) is inappropriate for internship experiences. Please contact the Career Center to post your part-time student hourly jobs). No more than 25% of the intern duties should be strictly clerical.
To gain an understanding of the type of work the occupation involves, it is important that students observe professionals in their particular career field. Encourage students to participate in relevant staff meetings, attend presentations, and sit in on meetings with clients.
Students participating in internships must have one primary supervisor who has expertise in the content area. The supervisor must have regular meetings with the student to discuss projects and assignments, provide feedback, and clarify expectations and goals. Regular communication ensures that both the employer’s and the student’s needs and expectations are being met.
Interns require an adequate work environment to perform useful and necessary tasks. Will the student have an appropriate work station to complete the agreed upon duties including a computer, a phone, etc?
Hiring an Intern
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The position should have specific relevancy to a particular major and the posting should indicate the learning value of the experience. Please see Steps to Hiring an Intern .
The purpose of the Learning Agreement is to define the responsibilities of all parties involved. The agreement clearly outlines the intern’s work duties, learning goals, and academic assignments. It also provides contact information for each party, details pay rates, the duration of the internships, and the expected work hours. A learning agreement must be on file at the Experiential Learning Center prior to the student’s first day on the job.
Students are primarily looking for experiences and opportunities that will prove practical work experience. However, students that work part-time to assist with their financial needs may focus their internship searches on the paid positions first. A percentage of students are willing and able to accept non-paid positions when the experience is perceived as very beneficial to the students’ career goals. At CU Denver, students can be approved to receive academic credit, compensation (or both) for an internship experience.
Many employers ask if they are legally required to pay students enrolled in an internship. The answer to that question depends on whether or not the student is considered an employee subject to the requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The FLSA requires employers to pay all employees at the rate of not less than current minimum wage. The Department of Labor (DOL) has developed criteria to assist employers in identifying when a student is not considered an employee within the meaning of the FLSA:
The training, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to that which would be given in a vocation school.
The training is for the benefit of the trainees or students.
The trainees or students do not displace regular employees, but work under their close observation.
The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the trainees or students, and on occasion the employer's operations may actually be impeded.
The trainees or students are not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the training period.
The employer and the trainees or students understand that the trainees or students are not entitled to wages for the time spent in training.
A student who does not meet all of the above criteria will be considered an employee covered by the FLSA and therefore the employer is legally obligated to provide compensation for his or her services. As with all matters requiring legal interpretation, it is always wise for employers to work closely with their own legal department to ensure compliance with federal and applicable state laws.
No. Student interns may not be classified as independent contractors because interns require on-going supervision and regular interaction with an employer. Interns should not have the degree of independence in performing their work that is essential when working under an independent contractor status.
Students who have a declared major, completed a minimum of 15 CU Denver credit hours, and have a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 are eligible to apply. However, most academic departments require a GPA of at least 2.75. The majority of students seek internships in their junior or senior year. You may specify a preferred GPA and class standing (junior, senior, graduate student, etc) in your job description.
You will have an opportunity to interview all candidates and make the final hiring decision that is best for your company.
The company determines the rate of pay. Best practices suggest you offer 60% - 90% of the standard wage depending on the student’s class standing, skills, and experience.
NACE Compensation Matrix
There are several ways in which an intern can be compensated for their work. The most common method is to offer an hourly wage. For acceptable compensation guidelines, refer to the following NACE (National Association of Colleges and Employers) matrix:
Level in School
60% of new graduate rate
67% of new graduate rate
75% of new graduate rate
80% of new graduate rate
75% of new graduate rate (advanced positions)
80-90% of new graduate rate (advanced positions)
No. Students may not be required to pay the employer in any form for any part of the internship experience. Generally, employers understand that this is a learning experience and expect no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern. Internships that require the student to pay any fee or fees in order to work at the organization will not be posted on our database.