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Internships


Reach out to the Center for Career and Professional Development to learn more about internships for class credit and internships to build your resume! 

What is an internship?

Internships are short-term work experiences that can be paid or unpaid. These work experiences are tailored to students and individuals looking to grow in their feild of study. The difference between a job and an internship is there has to be some sort of learning component to an internship. This means, some training or job shadowing opportunties. The different between volunteering and doing an internship is that when you volunteer your time you may be doing something related to your major, but not getting any training or learning opportunities. Internships are a great way to build your resume and they can be done for class credit or just to gain experience and build your resume. 

How do I find an internship?

If you are interested in doing an internship for class credit you should reach out to your faculty advisor for information on how your department runs the internship program. If you want to find an internship to build your resume then check out the bar on the right for some helpful resources. 

Just like applying for a job, you'll need a resume for your internship application and sometimes a cover letter. Use the Career Guide to help you create your resume or make an appointment at the career center. You can search for internships using the links listed under resources, or you can reach out to people in the town you would like to intern in to see if anyone is hiring for internships. Emailing and calling employers to proactively find out internship information can be helpful, especially if it's not listed on the company website.

Make sure to let your friends, family and professors know early on if you are looking for internships so they can potentially help you get in contact with someone. Check out this video on searching for internships. If you need help finding an internship, you can make an appointment at the CCPD. 

How do I complete an internship for class credit?

There are a few majors that have internships as a required part of the cirriculum to graduate and other majors give you the option to take an internship for class credit. If you are considering completing an internship class, you should start looking for internships six months to a year in advance. You can check with your faculty advisor to see if your program offers internships for credit. 

If your major is listed below, our office coordinates the entire process for credit. If your major is not listed, please contact your program advisor to learn more about the process. All of the majors listed below are required to complete an internship orientation (see below).

  • Art
  • Graphic Design
  • Biology
  • Business Administration & Law
  • Computer Information Systems
  • Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • English
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Finance
  • Engineering Technology
  • Hospitality & Tourism
  • Interior Design
  • International Studies
  • Management
  • Parks & Recreation
  • Political Science
  • Sales & Marketing
  • Spanish

Attend an Internship Orientation

If your major is on the above list, the first step in the process on our end is to attend an Internship Orientation. You can view and RSVP for one of these sessions by visiting jobcat.wcu.edu, clicking on Events, then Workshops. Select the time that works best for you.

A screenshot showing the process within JobCat of how to register for an Internship Orientation by clicking on events and then workshops.

 

 

More Information About Internships

You may be asking yourself why an Internship is so important.  What can it do for you and why should you take time out of your busy schedule to do it?

  • More and more, employers are looking for experience, even in entry-level jobs.  But, how can you get experience before you graduate?  The answer is through an Internship! 
  • Employers are more willing and interested in hiring students who completed an internship.  “Not only does participation in an internship make the student a more attractive candidate,” says NACE Executive Director Marilyn Macke, “but it can also be an avenue to a job.”  According to NACE's 2013 Internship and Co-Op Survey Report, employers make full-time offers to 56.5 percent of their interns. 
  • Networking.  Interning with an organization is an excellent way to get your foot in the door and also to make some valuable contacts.  Networking is the number one way to find a job in today's market, and developing those connections are a vital part of the job search and career-building process.  Make sure to utilize networking sites such as LinkedIn in order to stay in touch with your contacts. 
  • You may be paid more starting out if you have an Internship on your resume. In 2005, NACE reported that surveyed employers paid their entry-level hires up to 6.5 times MORE if they had an Internship experience.
  • Skill-building. You can gain valuable skills during an internship experience, such as: teamwork, communication, cooperation, customer service, technical skills, technology, and hands-on experience. This gives you valuable experience that you can market on your resume and in the process of searching for a full time job one day.
  • You can confirm your career goals, or even change them completely! Sometimes, even with the best of intentions, we do not discover that our career goals and aspirations aren't quite what we were hoping for until we're already in the workforce.  A career may sound like a great fit on paper, but in reality, perhaps it isn't as satisfying and beneficial for you.  Internships are an excellent way to make sure that we are headed in the right direction, and can provide us with the information we need to tweak our goals to be more in line with our interests.

 

At WCU, we offer Internships for class credit in most majors for Juniors and Seniors. The Center for Career & Professional Development helps coordinate the process for various academic departments across campus, and is available to answer questions and help you with every step of the process, no matter your major or year.

NC-State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (SARA)

Western Carolina University has been approved by the North Carolina State Portal Agency to participate in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements. NC-SARA is a voluntary, regional approach to state oversight of post-secondary distance education.

Students from SARA member states may take online courses and programs from WCU. Students (on-campus or online) may conduct internships, clinicals and other field experiences in SARA states.

SARA states are indicated in blue on the map.

A map of the United States labling SARA States & Institutions

 

Authorization in Non SARA States/Territories:

California and CNMI (Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands .   WCU’s online programs are authorized or exempt from authorization in these states. Internships and field experiences are permitted in these states/territories. 

Special note concerning internships and field experiences in regulated professions in all states: Some state licensing boards may require specific licensure or approvals to conduct a clinical or field experience. It is up to the student or the student’s program to make this determination.

Student Internship Insurance

Students whom are engaging in paid or unpaid internships can be covered by the Student Intern Professional Liability coverage.  There are two different policies available to student interns: 

HPSO (Healthcare Providers Service Organization) - This policy can be used for all medical student internships only.  The policy covers student nurses, EMTs, Nutritionists, Lab Technicians etc. who are participating in internships at off site medical facilities. The policy offers $1,000,000.00 worth of coverage per claim brought against the student.  The cost of this policy is $13.00 per year.  A COI (Certificate of Insurance) will be provided to the student to take to their internship site as proof of insurance.  Students or Faculty interested in enrolling their students in this policy should contact the Safety & Risk Management Office for an enrollment form.

Montgomery - This policy can be used for both medical and non-medical student interns.  The policy offers $1,000,000.00 worth of liability coverage and has a per semester policy term.  The cost of the policy is $15.75 per semester.  A COI (Certificate of Insurance) will be provided to the student to take to their internship site as proof of insurance.  Students or Faculty interested in enrolling their students in the policy should contact the Safety & Risk Management Office for an enrollment form. 

*Please contact the Safety & Risk Management Office at 828-227-7443 regarding current student internship policy rates.

  

Internship FAQs

JobCat 2.0 is the software program Career Services uses for students to register for all services provided by our office, including Internships. Pertinent information (name, current address, permanent address, etc.) is entered here as well as a resume. You can log into JobCat 2.0 anywhere you have access to the Internet.

Some majors offer internships for course credit. You can check the course catalog or talk to a faculty advisor if that's an option. If you would like to do an internship without course credit (just to build your resume) then you do not need to get class credit.

For most Internships, you will receive 3 credit hours.  Some academic departments offer 1-hour courses as well. You are awarded the credit if the work term and academic requirements are successfully completed. Some majors allow you to earn up to 15 hours of Internship (5 semesters) total credit. Internships usually serve as upper-level elective credit, but you should check with the academic department to be sure.

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