An internship can help you decide whether your "dream job" is really the ideal job for you. By working in an internship you can see what your future career could really look like.
Also, you gain valuable experience. Employers are looking for people with quantifiable experience on their resumes and in their portfolios when they are hiring, and an internship can give you that advantage.
Through an internship, you can network with professionals in your field. These people can be valuable resources to you in the future as employers, references, and mentors.
Academic internships provide all of the all of the benefits of a regular internship as well as allow you to earn academic credit towards your degree and create a record of your experience on your academic transcript.
There are many resources on campus to help you find the ideal position. However, you must take some initiative to contact the company, apply for and interview for the position, and then ultimately to get the position. In addition to faculty members and your own contacts in the community, the Internship Coordinator for your major will be able to help point you to opportunities.
To earn credit for your internship, you will need to work with the internship coordinator in your academic department. It is important that you meet before you start your internship. Each department has different requirements that you need to complete in order to get credit for your work. You will also need to register for the internship course within your department to receive academic credit.
Your credits may be counted in a number of different ways, depending on your department. Some departments will count the internship credits towards major credits (including required research or practicum work), while others may count it as elective credit. Check with your department to see how your credits will be counted.
There is no college policy that prohibits you from receiving financial compensation in addition to receiving credit for your internship work. However, some departments do have policies that prohibit you from getting paid for the experience if you are earning academic credit. Check with your departmental contacts to be sure.
This will vary from department to department and will be dependent upon how many credit hours you are earning for your internship; but most internships require a minimum of 8-12 hours per week for 14-15 weeks (one semester) in order to earn 3 credit hours.