When you’re applying for an internship, you may have questions about how long internships usually are. That’s a common question on the minds of students who are trying to fit in as many internships as they can into a year or students who want to plan for full-time work after they graduate and aren’t sure if their final-semester internship could interfere with plans.
To begin with, there’s no law that stipulates how long an internship should last. But there is a cap on how long it can last: at most 12 months. You can, of course, carry out more than one internship with different companies during your study program.
And in general, an internship is shorter than a temporary job but longer than an externship. Internships tend to be a huge burden on the firm, so they like to keep them as short as possible.
Here’s a look at the typical five internship types based on how long they last. The length is usually measured based on the number of weeks you’ve agreed to work, and the number of hours per week you work.
Externship Length Internships
Externships are temporary training programs in a firm. Students often take on such programs in their preferred industry to find out if the chosen career field is right for them. Internships that long typically last between two days to about two weeks. In an externship, that’s a long enough time to enjoy some practical experience in your chosen field of study. In an internship, that may be the duration of a project, after which you get to go home.
Semester Length Internships
Semester-length internships may be anywhere between two to three months. But don’t expect all employers to have any hard and fast rule about the time frame. They usually want to get the work done, and are concerned more about how long you take to complete the task. You could complete the task in a month or two, and you’d get to go home at the end of it.
Summer Length Internships
Summer internships last the duration of the summer break, about three months or ten weeks. That’s a long enough time to focus on learning as much as you can. Depending on your performance, and according to company policy, the duration may be extended at the end of it. But note that university students can’t extend their internship beyond twelve months. If you’re a Master’s student or a postgrad, you can’t intern for longer than six months by law.
You can look for internships online at communities like biginternship.com based on how long you want to intern for.
Year Length Internships
Some internships can last a year. Again, it depends on the industry or field you’re in, the nature of the project or job, etc. That’s the duration of two semesters in college. You’ll find in many cases, the first semester is unpaid, and the second semester is paid. It’s important to note that most companies prefer to keep internships short, so the second semester isn’t always guaranteed.
Course Length Internship
In some cases, if you manage to get an internship on your campus, you’ll be able to pursue it throughout the length of your course. In most cases, such long internships are paid. But you won’t get credit for more than two semesters, no matter how long you intern for.
Some Advice on Picking Internships
It goes without saying that the longer you intern, often the more you learn. Having said that, when you’re choosing an internship with a big and prestigious firm, three months are usually enough. It’s the brand name that will matter in the end, in such cases.
Who you work for after you graduate will also matter. For instance, some companies may prefer candidates who have interned for longer. But if they see you’ve had a shorter experience under the umbrella of a reputable firm, they’ll more than likely give you a chance to interview.
The employers who offer internships also dictate the duration based on their goals. If they are aiming to equip you with a particular skill, the internship ends when you’ve learned that skill.
If you look at biginternships.com, you may also find part-time offers. These internships can last a year or more.
You may prefer a summer or winter internship because of the flexibility. But remember, most other students also prefer these time periods, so competition will be high.
When Should You Apply
You can intern at any time during your college course. But in order to get the most benefit from your experience, we recommend that you wait until the second or third year of your degree program. You’ll have a better idea of what you’re looking for from your internship, and you’ll make more informed choices. You’re also likely to perform better.
You can look online for internship opportunities or get in touch with the Internship Office of your college for opportunities. The office will usually promote projects that will correspond to the characteristics of your degree course. You’ll be able to gain valuable experience to enter the corporate world and help fill the gap between supply and demand.
Choose an internship based on your specific needs. Sometimes, if you can explain your needs to an employer, they can tailor an existing internship for you.
Don’t ignore externships either. A lot of freshers aren’t aware of how valuable externships can be in learning about the day to day responsibilities of a particular job.
Sometimes, your internship can turn into a full-time offer. Speak to your manager and based on your performance, the firm may be able to hire you on board. Don’t worry about a long internship looking bad on your resume. Long internships usually mean that the employers found you good enough to keep for a long time.
At an interview later, you can simply explain how you started as a temporary intern and your performance led to you being hired part-time. If you’re still listed as an intern after six months or so on minimum wages, the firm may be taking advantage of you. In that case, you should start sending out your CV to other companies.