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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! These are the first three steps to get involved in internships. Check out our internship guide for more detailed information.

Step 1: Learn about internships.

Internships are short-term, supervised, workexperiences that can beeitherpaid or unpaid. These work experiences are tailored to students and individuals looking to grow in a particular field of interest. The difference between aninternship and a part-time job or volunteer experience is that internshipsmust includesome sort of learning component, such as training or job shadowing,whereas this is not necessary for the other two experiences.Internships are a great way to build your resume and they can be done for class credit or to gain knowledge of and experience in a new field.

Internship Q&A Sessions

We offer Internship Q&As sessions throughout the beginning of each semester. These are live webinars where you can learn about internships, how to search for internships and ask questions about internships. You can find these and register for one in Engage.

Step 2: Decide to complete an internship for class credit.

There are a few majors that have internshipcoursesas a required part of the curriculum to graduate and other majors give you the option to take an internship course for credit. If you are considering completing an internship course, you should check with your faculty advisor to see if your program offers internships for credit. If your program offers an internship course for credit, plan to start looking for internships six months to a year in advance to make sure that your internship will align with the semester you are taking the course.

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

How to Attend an Internship Orientation Session

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.

Step 3: 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 strengthen your resume, then check out the bar on the right for some helpful resources.

Like searching for jobs, you'll need a resume, and often a tailored cover letter, for your internship application. Use the Career Guide to help you create your application materials or make an appointment at the Center for Career and Professional Development(CCPD). You can search online for internships using the links listed under “Find and Internship Online” section of the right hand menu of this page, or you can reach out to employers of interest via phone or email to see if anyone is hiring for internships. We recommend contacting employers proactively to find out about their internships, considering some internships are not listed online. Oftentimes this outreach can result in the creation of an internship that didn’t exist before! Make a list of organizations that you are interested in, use tools like LinkedIn to see if you have any connections who work there, and start reaching out!

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


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.  Internships are a great way for university students to balance out their academics with valuable work experience.
  • 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 2021 Internship and Co-Op Survey Report, employers make full-time offers to 66.4 percent of their interns from the class of 2020. 
  • Networking.  Interning with an organization is an excellent way to get your foot in the door and make 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 interviews.
  • You can confirm your career goals, or even change them completely! Sometimes, even with the best of intentions, we discover that our career goals and aspirations aren't quite what we were hoping for. A career may sound like a great fit on paper, but in reality it might not be as satisfying and beneficial for you as you imagined. Internships are an excellent way to make sure that you are headed in the right direction, and can provide information necessary to tweak your goals.

 

At WCU, we offer Internships for class credit in most majors for Juniors and Seniors. The Center for Career and 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 to find out if that's an option. If you are not required to take an internship course, and you would like to just to build your resume/learn, then you do not need to take an internship course in order to complete an internship.

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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