Getting Started- What is an Internship?

An internship is a semester-long, work-learning arrangement. It can be major-specific or exploratory. When a student earns academic credit for an internship, oversight is provided by both a faculty instructor and a site supervisor. The experience takes place in an off-campus setting, is part-time, and may be paid or unpaid. It is combined with a reflective, academic study that helps one "learn by doing." At Westmont, important elements that distinguish an internship from a short-term job or volunteer work are:

  • An intentional self-directed learning strategy
  • Verbal and written reflection
  • An emphasis on professional development
  • Critical reflection on what it means to integrate faith and learning in the workplace

A well-designed internship gives you the opportunity to explore career possibilities, explore personal growth, develop career-related contacts, and apply theory you learned in the classroom in “real world” situations.

How do I Begin?

Make a choice about receiving credit. If you decide to receive credit, then you will need to register for the class or tutorial where you will have the opportunity to engage with other students taking internships, and where you can deepen your experience by integrating your academic work with your internship work.
You will most often accomplish this through selected reading and writing assignments.

At Westmont, internships for academic credit are available to students in good standing who are able to arrange for their own transportation. Internships-for-credit are available in both the fall and spring semesters. Hours vary to accommodate the specific requirements of the internship, the student's major and the student's course load.

For elective credit plan to register for APP 190 or APP-190SS. For practicum credit in your major, plan to register for (the name of your major) followed by 190, for example, BIO-190, etc.). You will need the approval for your practicum from the supervising faculty member in your major.Check with your academic adivsor about the current Faculty Internship Coordinator in your specific major. Departments will have varying requirements for receiving credit. Do not assume that any practicum you obtain will be approved for credit in your major.


How Many Credits will I receive and How Many Hours will I work?

The following chart will allow you to figure out the minimum hours that you will need to complete each week at your internship site. Note the biology and psychology departments have different hourly requirements. Please see your advisor with any questions.

Units Hours per Week Total Semester Hours (min. of 12 weeks)
2 6 72
3 9 108
4 12 144

You may not exceed 12 units of internship/practicum credit while at Westmont.

 

Will I be paid?

Some internships and practica pay an hourly wage, however most do not. A growing number of organizations will offer a stipend, which could be a sum of money for the semester’s work, or could come in the form of benefits such as free tickets, food or other “perks”. Some majors do not allow students to receive payment for practica so be sure to check in with your practicum adviser.

Finding an Internship site

Take some time to reflect upon the kind of internship that you wish to pursue. Make a list of the ideal work settings you would like to test out. Add to your list the skills you would like to develop or improve. Then, search the database and make a list of your top choices of available internships. You may also want to make an appointment with Celia Howen in Career Development & Calling to get help with narrowing down or expanding your options or get help with developing new sites not listed on the database.

Be prepared with an updated resume. Consult the Resume Help section of this webpage or visit the Career Development & Calling office- top floor of the library.