Types of Internships

By Laura LaPerriere, Resident Career Expert from GetTheJob.com, Special to StudentAdvisor.com

Internships are very important for college students to gain relevant work experience, to build a network for professional contacts, and to get a real sense of the industry they are interested in. There are four different types of internships in the United States:


Internships for credit vary by the college or university. Typically a student who acquired an internship will be sponsored by a professor. The professor will have guidelines that are similar to a course syllabus, outlining what the student is expected to gain and learn throughout the internship experience. The professor can also create expected deliverables such as a mid internship report detailing what the student has learned so far, a final paper describing the internship in detail, as well as a final presentation that gives an overview of the entire experience.


Typically, students get a work internship in their second or third year of college. These types of internships vary in length and can take place during the school year, or over winter/summer breaks. With a work experience internship, you will take the knowledge that you have gained in the classroom and apply it to your roles and responsibilities of the job. This is a great way to experience what it would be like to work in your field of study and to see if you would want to pursue a job of a similar nature after graduation.


Unpaid internship opportunities sometimes are hard to turn down because they offer great industry experience, but you won’t get compensated for your time and effort. However, employers don’t look to see if you got paid for an internship; they want to know what experience you gained and what you can offer their company. If you can manage working without making an income, and you value the experience the benefit of the internship experience, then you should not turn down an opportunity simply because you will not get paid.


Research internships are usually geared towards students who are in their last year of study. Depending on the company that is offering the internship, a student will conduct research for them to figure out ways to improve a process/procedure, or other things that the company is interested in. They let students have the freedom to research all aspects of the company and to come up with a research topic themselves. At the end of the internship, the student will put together a report of their findings and most likely present it to the company.

Want to learn more about internship opportunities? Check out StudentAdvisor’s Guide to Internships.