Frequently Asked Questions for employers on internships
What's in it for me and my business?
St. Petersburg College can connect your business to talented students who can become your strongest future employees. Students earn academic credit for their internships and you gain a sense of pride in developing skilled local employees tailored to your needs.
Our internships give you:
- A way to cultivate talented individuals
- An ongoing pipeline of future employees
- Savings on the costs of hiring and recruiting
- Assistance in finding ideal candidates that fit your organization
- Ability to evaluate an intern's potential for full-time employment
- A chance to help students connect classroom theory to the real world
What programs offer internships?
Each year, more than 1,000 St. Petersburg College interns work at Tampa Bay area businesses in dozens of different areas. We provide interns from the following academic areas:
- Arts, Humanities, and Design
- Digital Arts
- Music Industry Recording Arts
- Photographic Technology
- Hospitality and Tourism
- Insurance Services
- Industrial Management Technology
- Sustainability management
- Mass Media
- Sign Language Interpretation
- Engineering, Manufacturing, and Building Arts
- Architectural Design
- Drafting and Design
- Engineering Technology
- Computer and Information Technology
- IT security
- Programming and Analysis
- Technology Development and Management
- Web development
- Science and Mathematics
- Environmental Science
- Social, Behavioral Sciences, and Human Services
- Health and Human Services
- Public Safety, Public Policy, and Legal Studies
- Criminal Justice
- Paralegal Studies
- Political Science
- Public Policy
- Public Safety
- Arts, Humanities, and Design
When can interns work?
Academic semesters at SPC are as follows. Also, please keep in mind that students are taking other classes, which have their own requirements, so their schedules should be somewhat flexible.
Fall term: August - December
Spring term: January - May
Summer term: May - July
Do I have to pay my intern?
While most for-profit private sector internship positions are considered employment positions where interns are compensated, some internships in the private sector may be unpaid. Please contact an internship coordinator or review the Department of Labor regulations regarding internship pay.
Also, by working with CareerSource Pinellas to provide your internship, you can be reimbursed for up to 80% of your intern's wages.
Is an intern considered an employee?
Internships in the "for-profit" private sector will often be viewed as employment unless there are circumstances under which they may intern without compensation. To decide whether an intern is an employee, employers should refer to the six criteria of an internship as established by the Department of Labor (DOL).
What qualifies as an internship?
SPC follows guidelines set by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) for internships. The following guidelines define a legitimate internship:
- Be an extension of the classroom and apply knowledge gained in the classroom.
- Be transferable to other employment.
- Have a defined beginning and end, job description and desired qualifications.
- Have learning objectives/goals aligned with a student's academic coursework.
- Provide professional supervision in the field of the experience.
- Offer routine feedback by the experienced supervisor.
- Employ the use of resources, equipment and facilities that support learning objectives/goals.
What is required of me as an employer?
As your intern's supervisor, you mentor the individual and help them craft and monitor learning objectives that match your job description. Learning objectives give the internship academic integrity by providing documentation of learning outcomes. Students earn academic credit towards their academic degree for their internships. Each academic credit hour equals 60 hours of an internship. The number of credit hours required, from 1 to 4, depends on the student's program of study.
Those learning objectives will help the student:
- Demonstrate critical thinking skills
- Apply ethics and professionalism
- Apply and extend academic program or course theory and competencies
- Pursue a career that relates to their academic and professional interests
- Work with faculty and site supervisors to identify additional learning goals, objectives and outcomes
What else are employers responsible for?
- Adhering to the hiring practices of your business, such as appropriate paperwork and training
- Ensuring the intern is aware of all written and unwritten workplace protocol and procedures, rules, standards and practices
- Remembering that interns are students accountable for work in other courses, so their schedule should be reasonable and flexible
- Identifying a company mentor to supervise and develop the intern's work progress
- Being responsive to requests by the SPC faculty mentor or internship coordinator regarding feedback on student performance
- Notifying the SPC faculty mentor or internship coordinator promptly if a problem develops with the intern or if there is a resignation or termination
- Completing an Evaluation Form at the end of the internship
Do employers have to provide Workers' Compensation to interns?
Generally yes, especially if any form of manual labor is involved. This includes everything from delivering or carrying pamphlets to driving the boss to a meeting. Interns, both paid and unpaid, are usually required by law to be covered by worker's compensation insurance by the employer with very few exceptions.
Student interns - paid or unpaid - providing non-manual services to a religious, charitable or educational institution covered under Section 501 (c)(3) of the IRS tax code are exempt from mandatory coverage (but can also be covered voluntarily).
It is important to understand that many states have worker's compensation laws that automatically bar employees and interns from suing their employer for damages even if an employer broke a law, harmed someone on purpose, or was found negligent.
If workers' comp is offered as an option, carefully consider if it makes the best sense for you. If your injured at work, you will usually get some benefit payout from a predetermined worker's compensation benefits structure unique to your state for your injury, but no state offers benefits to match 100% of your income, and in many cases, will limit your medical expense coverage.
If you work in a dangerous environment, remember in many states, your forfeit your right to sue your employer when you have worker's compensation. Worker's compensation is a safety net to avoid litigation - it does not provide legal avenue to file a lawsuit for damages.