Internships are career-building opportunities available to college students and others, and they can be paid or unpaid. Paid internships are usually the most desirable, but even unpaid internships offer resume building and networking opportunities. If you work in a technical field, you could make upwards of $18 per hour in your internship. If you are lucky and land a paid internship, you might be able to take advantage of company benefits. If benefits are not initially offered to you, you still can ask a boss or human resources representative if you can get any of the benefits available to all employees.
Most internships will give you the opportunity to take time off if you make the request. Companies typically have eight to 10 holidays each year and interns also get the benefit of taking these days off if the company closes operations. In some cases, the company may even pay you for those holidays. Interns often fall on the payroll system as standard hourly employees, so you may receive the same benefit if hourly employees get paid for holidays.
Many companies offer retirement benefit. Most companies offer participation in a 401(k) retirement savings account and allow employees to contribute money from each paycheck into the account. Many companies offer a match program where they’ll match the employee’s contribution up to a certain percent. It’s entirely possible that an intern could be eligible for a retirement account, so check with your human resources department. As an intern, you won’t be making a full-time salary, but even contributing a little each paycheck into a 401(k) program can pay off if you start your contributions early.
Many larger companies offer formal career development programs for their employees. While most of these programs are geared toward full-time workers, you might get the chance to participate if you simply ask permission. You may take free training courses or even create a career development plan. If your supervisor supports you, she might even assign you projects that allow you to work toward the goals in your development plan.
Obtaining school credit for your internship is an important benefit of your internship. Some schools allow students to get academic credit for their internships provided they relate to your program of study. For example, students at Arizona State University can receive school credit whether the internship is paid or not. Getting credits will depend on your degree program. For example, UC Davis will provide school credit if the student can apply the concepts and methods from their program of study to their internship job.
Auston Matta is an experienced engineer who has worked in the packaging industry since 2003. He holds a bachelor's degree in bio-engineering and a master's degree in engineering management. Auston has also contributed to "Pharmaceutical & Medical Packaging News."