Internship Information

Structure of Internships

Students wishing to participate in an internship should meet with the Internship Coordinator at the Career Center (719.549.2553), or with an Academic Advisor within their college. The Student Internship Guide should be reviewed before scheduling a meeting.

Paid or unpaid status.  Internships may be paid or unpaid.
In paid situations, the organization is in complete control of the wage rate decision. The organization treats the paid intern as an employee and provides worker’s compensation.

In unpaid situations, it is imperative for legal reasons related to the Fair Labor Standards Act that the intern does not displace a regular employee.  In addition, the employer must also understand that while productive work generally results from the intern’s efforts, the internship is considered training and that occasionally the employer’s operational activities may actually be impeded by the intern’s presence.  Worker’s compensation for unpaid interns is taken care of by the University if (1) the student is enrolled under the appropriate internship course number at the time of the internship activity and (2) a placement agreement, signed by the student and the supervisor and approved by the Internship Coordinator, is on file in the Coordinator’s office.

Time Frame.  Although internships can range from a few hours a week to 40 hours a week, most are similar to part-time jobs and require 15-20 hours of the student’s time per week during a 15-week period to earn three credits.  Assignments for fewer than 15 hours can be arranged, with the student earning fewer academic credits.

Scheduling.  When possible, internships should be arranged to begin and end according the academic term calendar.

General dates are: Spring January through April (15 weeks)
  Summer May through August (12 weeks)
  Fall September through December (15 weeks)

Interning at Place of Current Employment.  In some cases, a student is already employed by the organization in which he or she wishes to have an internship placement.  If the student remains at the business beyond his or her normal work hours in order to receive additional training, the internship would be considered unpaid and would relate only to those hours above the student’s normal work load. Even if the student is to be paid for the internship activity, new tasks to be learned or undertaken must be well defined as students are not allowed to receive internship course credit for jobs currently or previously held.  To clearly delineate the difference between the student’s regular or past job assignment and the internship experience, the two work activities should be supervised by different people.

Supervisory Obligation.  It is important that the employee designated as the intern’s supervisor understand the time commitment that the intern’s training may require.  In addition, the supervisor must be capable of directing the intern’s efforts and judging the quality of the intern’s work.  If the student must seek considerable help or guidance from a faculty member, then the placement does not qualify as an internship.

Nature of the Work.  Some interns perform daily operational tasks.  Others work on special projects that will be of benefit to the organization or the work unit.  Still others are involved in both kinds of tasks.  Whatever the situation, the intern needs to understand how their efforts contribute to the organization’s or work unit’s goals.  Generally, this educational aim is served through (1) initial orientation [the organization’s mission and goals and its hierarchical structure, etc.] and (2) continued dialogue throughout the internship as to the purpose of the tasks performed so that the intern understands how the data/information he or she generates will be used at other levels of the organization.

Integration of the Intern into the Workforce.  Interns, especially those in unpaid placements, often do not view themselves as regular employees but rather as students.  Therefore, they sometimes expect time off or rearranged hours to accommodate studying for major exams, interviews for post-graduation jobs, field trips sponsored by student organizations, etc.  If you do not intend to allow such work schedule changes, tell the intern during your interview or during the first days of placement.

Not only does the intern need orientation into your organization, but also your own employees often need orientation to the intern.  This is especially true if you do not have an intern placed in your organization on a regular basis.  Both the intern and the employees need to know the intern’s responsibilities and authority, if any.

Rights and Responsibilities of the Organization*

As the sponsor of an intern, the organization has

  1. the right to interview candidate(s);
  2. the right to refuse acceptance of any or all candidates interviewed;
  3. the right to design, with the approval of the Faculty Adviser or Internship Coordinator, the training program the student is to undergo (the Coordinator can assist you in this task to the degree you desire);
  4. the right to terminate, after consultation with the Faculty Advisor or Coordinator, the Internship Agreement if the student’s performance is unsatisfactory;
  5. the right to expect the intern to conduct him/herself in a businesslike manner and to treat confidentially all information acquired about the organization while interning;
  6. the responsibility to appoint a Supervisor for the student who will be primarily in charge of:
    1. completing and upholding the Internship Learning Agreement;
    2. providing the necessary training/instruction/supervision;
    3. monitoring the intern’s performance;
    4. providing feedback to the intern throughout and at the end of the internship period; and
    5. providing information on the intern’s performance upon request to the Faculty Advisor or Internship Coordinator; 
    6. If the student is paid, understand the responsibility for providing Workers Compensation and liability insurance in accordance with Colorado State Law, and provide said coverage.  If an intern is considered an “employee” for purposes of the Department of Labor (DOL), then the employer must pay the intern at least the minimum wage. 
    7. If the internship is unpaid, comply with the DOL standards before classifying an intern as an unpaid “student learner/trainee.”   
    8. Comply with Federal Laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, and/or military status.
    9.  Notify the Faculty Advisor or the Internship Coordinator in a timely manner if any problems arise during the internship.
    10. Any re-disclosure of internship candidate/intern information is prohibited without the intern’s express written consent (FERPA and HIPPA).

Rights and Responsibilities of CSU-Pueblo*

The Faculty Advisor or Internship Coordinator, serving as the representative CSU-Pueblo, has

  1. the right to monitor the student’s activities to ensure that the internship experience is academically sound;
  2. the right to terminate the Internship Agreement if the student is not receiving training in those areas listed on the signed Agreement;
  3. the right to assign the grade given to the intern; and
  4. the responsibility to assist the organization in the establishment of the training program, if requested.

Rights and Responsibilities of the Student*

As a participant in an internship program, the student has

  1. the right to interview with several organizations;
  2. the right to refuse an internship offer from an organization;
  3. the responsibility to research the internship location and make a site visit prior to acceptance to ensue the location meets your safety and security standards; 
  4. the responsibility to fulfill those tasks and responsibilities assigned by your site supervisor and outline in the Learning Agreement;
  5. the responsibility to complete minimum work hours for each credit hour received over minimum required weeks;
  6. the responsibility to conduct him/herself in a businesslike and ethical manner;
  7. the responsibility to treat confidentially all information acquired about the organization while interning; and
  8. the responsibility to report to the Coordinator as required in the course syllabus.

    *These responsibilities and rights are subject to change dependent on law and program standards.  Please contact the CSU-Pueblo Internship Coordinator for updated information. 
    Federal and State Laws 8-40-302(7) and 8-40-202(1)(a): Available In this Document
    DOL Fact Sheet #71, Internship Programs Standards: Available at this Website​

According to C.R.S. 8-41-105 (7)(a) & (b)

The employer is responsible for providing Workers’ Compensation and liability insurance coverage for those students receiving remuneration for a student internship work experience.  In cases where the student is not receiving any remuneration for the work experience from the employer, the educational institution sponsoring the student is responsibility for providing Workers’ Compensation if the student is receiving academic credit for the internship.

Colorado State University-Pueblo encourages employers to extend Workers’ Compensation coverage to all students, whether paid or non-paid, since the employer can best control the safety of the work place and provide accordingly for the risks a student may incur.