Internship resources for employers
What is an internship?
An internship is a form of experiential learning that integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application and skills development in a professional setting. Internships give students the opportunity to gain valuable applied experience and make connections in professional fields they are considering for career paths; and give employers the opportunity to guide and evaluate talent.
Criteria for internships
In order to mitigate risk to host sites, students, and the university, NAU complies with the criteria set forth by the Department of Labor Fair Labor Standards Act (Fact Sheet #71) and the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) position statement on U.S. Internships when evaluating internship postings.
Internships can be paid or unpaid but must be a learning experience for the primary benefit of the intern. To ensure that an experience is educational, and thus eligible to be considered a legitimate internship, all the following criteria must be met:
- The experience must be an extension of the classroom: a learning experience that provides for applying the knowledge gained in the classroom. It must not be simply to advance the operations of the employer or be the work that a regular employee would routinely perform.
- The skills or knowledge learned must be transferable to other employment settings.
- The experience has a defined beginning and end, and a job description with desired qualifications.
- There are clearly defined learning objectives/goals related to the professional goals of the student’s academic coursework.
- There is supervision by a professional with expertise and educational and/or professional background in the field of the experience.
- There is routine feedback from the supervisor.
- There are resources, equipment, and facilities provided by the host employer that support learning objectives/goals.
When determining an intern’s compensation, explore NACE’s Key Factors to Consider When Setting Intern Salaries, keep in mind recent court decisions and lawsuits, and review the U.S. Department of Labor Fact Sheet #71: Internship Programs Under the Fair Labor Standards Act. It is important to note that academic credit does not replace compensation.
International students can bring a wealth of knowledge and cultural capitol to your internship program, but it helps to be aware of the issues with unpaid internships for international students.
In the case of credit-bearing internships, NAU requires an Affiliation Agreement between the internship host and NAU/Arizona Board of Regents to aid in defining the relationship between parties. The agreement must be signed and on file prior to the intern’s first day at the internship site.
Affiliation Agreements are valid for five (5) years unless otherwise stipulated. In some cases, non-standard or multiple agreements may be needed if the duties of different internships require specific language or exceptions to the universal Affiliation Agreement. This agreement will be provided to you by the student’s departmental internship contact.
Credit-bearing vs. non-credit-bearing internships
Students at NAU complete both credit-bearing and non-credit-bearing internships, and both are equally valuable. Some degree programs require students to earn credit for fieldwork or internships but others offer credit for these experiences as an option.
Credit-bearing Accordion Open
Credit-bearing internships at NAU are a partnership between the internship host site, student intern, and NAU departmental internship coordinator or faculty member. This tri-lateral partnership supports a successful internship experience for all by articulating clear expectations, supporting process compliance, and focusing on the intern’s roles as student and learner.
If a student wishes to gain credit for the internship with your organization, the student will need to contact the departmental internship coordinator or faculty member in the appropriate academic program to see if it meets the requirements. Criteria for credit varies by department. In addition to the required affiliation agreement, there may be department-specific paperwork required of the supervisor.
Advertising your internship
Follow these steps to advertise your internship to NAU students.
Craft an internship description Tab Open
Create a Handshake account Tab Closed
Post your internship Tab Closed
Craft an internship description Accordion Open
The first step is to develop a job description for the internship(s) that is clear about the intern’s duties and what they will be learning from their experience. Be sure to include specific projects and responsibilities. When evaluating an internship description (as opposed to a job or volunteer position), we are looking to meet specific criteria in order to mitigate risk to internship providers, students, and NAU. Download the Internship Description Template.
Create a Handshake account Accordion Closed
All NAU students have access to Handshake, and it is the first place we direct students when they inquire about internships. The platform will allow you to promote your internship(s), collect applications, and select candidates.
- Visit Handshake and select ‘Employer’
- Fill out the information requested and verify your email
- Join your company (if it already exists) or create a new company profile
- Connect with Northern Arizona University
Post your internship Accordion Closed
- Login to your Handshake account and select ‘Post a Job’ from the main dashboard
- Complete the required fields in Job Basics, Job Details, Job Preferences, and Schools. Pay special attention to the following:
- Select ‘Temporary/Seasonal’ for duration as to not imply a full-time position is guaranteed at the conclusion of the internship.
- Specify preferences for applicants to target your position based on qualifications such as graduation year, major, etc.
- Configure who at the internship site should receive complete applicant packages and when.
- Review this internship description template to give you an idea of what we’re looking for in the description.
Below are recommended templates that can be used as is or adjusted as needed. Just remember that evaluations need to offer questions or prompts that allow for thoughtful and critical evaluation of the student’s perceptions and work, and provide information that can be built upon to strengthen the learning experience.