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. (Source: NACE Position Statement: U.S. Internships)

Internships can last from 8 weeks up to a calendar year.  The important element that distinguishes an internship from a short-term job or community service is the intentional "learning agenda" that the intern brings to the experience and the employer provides.

An internship is not:

  • A source of free or inexpensive labor for an organization.
  • A temporary solution to short-term or peak-period workloads.
  • Menial work, such as running errands, data entry, clerical duties unrelated to a collegiate-level, academic program.

How the Nevada Career Studio can help

Develop an internship

Below are several things to consider when developing an internship. Please check them and email if our Employer Relations Team can help.

Ready to hire an intern?

We can help your organization recruit students from across the University to apply for current internship opportunities. Learn more about posting internships on Handshake.

Pack Internship Grant Program

This program provides funding for individual student internships with local non-profit organizations, start-up companies, and public/government agencies. The grant funds student interns' wages at $16/hour for 120 hours of work.

Wolf Pack STEM Internship Program

This program provides funding for individual student internships in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) with local start-up and technology-focused companies. The grant funds student interns' wages at $18/hour.

Developing an internship at your organization

Due to the nature of students’ academic schedules, they often look for internship opportunities of limited duration, so employers find interns to be an ideal solution to this problem.

Paid interns make ideal workers, eager to learn, and eager to make a good impression. The pay rate for most local undergraduate internships in the Reno-Sparks area starts at $15 an hour. Some specialized internships will pay up to $30 an hour. There are legal considerations applicable to for-profit businesses that wish to provide unpaid internship positions.

For an unpaid internship position with a for-profit employer, interns must be gaining experience directly correlated with their major or academic coursework and receive ongoing professional development and mentorship. Unpaid internships must also not result in any immediate gain for the organization providing the experience.

For more information, refer to the U.S. Department of Labor about internship programs under The Fair Labor Standards Act.

Establish the necessary organizational support

  • Designate a mentor/supervisor for the intern
  • Decide whether the intern will work in one department or several
  • Determine the kind of orientation and training the intern will need
  • Provide safe working facilities. Make available equipment, supplies, and space necessary for the student to perform their duties.
  • Assume liability for work-related injuries sustained by the intern, insofar as the agency may determine the same to be required by law in that state.

Write a position description

Include the following:

  • Brief organization description and organization website
  • Position title
  • Skills and qualifications required/preferred (not academic majors)
  • Duties and responsibilities
  • Start/end dates of the internship and approximate hours per week
  • Rate of pay, if applicable (please see below)
  • Location (city, state)
  • Any special considerations (such as specific working hours or days, transportation)
  • Application instructions (how should they apply, and with what materials)

Examples of internship opportunities

Special projects 

Interns can be assigned to organize research projects, plan special events, develop special promotional campaigns, or design web pages. When developing an internship involving special projects, you should identify goals, timelines, and outcomes so that everyone understands the purpose and expectations involved.

On-going operations

Certain businesses and organizations routinely experience peak periods where additional staff is needed. Others may operate under very limited budgets and need additional staff throughout the year. Interns may be able to alleviate some of these problems.

Interns may be assigned to serve as facilitators for youth groups, human resource management support staff, public relations assistants or marketing associates. Remember that students are looking for internships that provide them with professional experience and an opportunity to learn.