An internship is an off-campus activity that provides real-world exposure in a business, non-profit or government setting. This opportunity allows you to use and refine the skillsets that you are developing in the classroom while gaining entry-level exposure to a particular industry or job.
Some employers offer internships for students in their first or second years of study. These opportunities allow you to learn how to complete general tasks and projects in a professional setting. They do not require the advanced knowledge or skills developed in the later years of your degree program.
Employers typically provide internships to students in their advanced years of study. These opportunities allow you to learn complex duties on the job or specialize in the field. They require the advanced knowledge and skills developed in your academic subject.
To obtain an internship, you will most likely need to apply for the opportunity. Internships are posted year-round and employers typically post internship opportunities an average of six months before the internship begins. This means that if you are seeking a summer internship, you should typically plan to apply at the end of the fall semester.
Types of Internships
Internships are available across different industry groups in business, non-profit or governmental settings. They typically vary depending upon the duration and expectations. Here are a few common internship types.
Internships at businesses often pay an hourly wage. Interns are typically considered employees whose work benefits the company. Interns work an average of 20 to 35 hours per week over a 10 to 12-week period. Paid internship opportunities are usually offered in the summer and can also be offered during the fall and spring semesters.
Internships can be unpaid or offer a fixed amount paid at the end of the experience. Unpaid interns are not considered employees and are typically in non-profit and government settings. Interns do an average of 20 to 35 hours per week over a 10 to 12 week period. Paid internship opportunities are usually offered in the summer and can also be offered during the fall and spring semesters.
Academic internships require enrollment in an elective internship course. They can be paid or unpaid. The duration of the internship is the academic term.
If you have found an internship and would like to enroll in an academic internship course, view this road map on how to request an academic internship.
If you are seeking an internship for an academic internship course that is not required for your degree completion, search for approved partners on Cal State LA Handshake. Approved employers and internship postings are tagged with the approved course number.
Micro-internships are short-term, paid, professional projects that are similar to those given to interns or new employees at companies or emerging start-ups. Students apply for projects that companies post across their departments including technology, marketing and finance to name a few. Projects can include research and strategy, operations and support, IT and cyber, marketing and others.
Unlike traditional internships, micro-internships can be done year-round. Projects typically take 5 to 40 hours to complete and are due between one week and one month after you are offered the project.
We connect you with micro-internships using Parker Dewey. Parker Dewey provides short-term, paid, professional projects for college students and recent graduates. You will not have to negotiate pay, send invoices or create a contract as Parker Dewey manages these for you.
Externships provide an opportunity to observe a workplace, sit in on meetings and have career conversations with employees.
Short-term externships can be one day or up to a few weeks and are usually unpaid. They are similar to a job-shadowing experience where you follow an employee to observe their day-to-day work.
Graduate externships are offered to graduate students by the academic program such as law school or medical school. These opportunities are usually longer-term and require enrollment in a course.
Schedule an appointment with experiential learning coordinators to find an externship or job shadowing opportunity.
Fellowships are typically merit-based scholarships for advanced research of an academic subject. They are funded by universities and colleges, corporations, non-profits, foundations, media groups and governmental entities.
Fellows are selected based on their potential to make a positive and long-lasting contribution to the academic field. Fellowships are demanding and require a significant commitment from students.
Fellowships can last at least a year and some can be renewed depending upon the rules of the granting institution.
We connect you with internships and employers using Handshake. Handshake is a free job site for college students. You can find current internships shared by employers who are interested in hiring Cal State LA students.
We connect you with micro-internships using Parker Dewey. Parker Dewey provides short-term, paid, professional projects for college students and recent graduates.
We provide a free online internship application tracking tool called Huntr. This tool helps you organize your internship search.
Experiential learning coordinators are available by individual appointment. We can answer your questions about searching for an internship and help you connect with opportunities.
Part of choosing an internship includes knowing about the opportunities available for your major. Employers host events where you can meet company representative and learn more about what’s possible.