Frequently Asked Questions

What are internships?

Internships are educational professional work settings where you will learn about a business, and responsibilities of various positions.  Most internships are unpaid, however, some are paid.

Why should I do one?

An internship bridges the gap between your classroom studies and the professional workplace setting. You will learn a variety of skills relevant to your field of study and you might be able to earn college credits, by registering for a Cooperative Education class.  Your internship will give you firsthand knowledge and may even turn into a job!

What can an internship do for me?

An internship goes on your resume as professional experience.   You can earn college credit toward your degree by taking a Cooperative Education Class.  The internship offers the opportunity to network with other students interning and professionals who you may reach out to in the future for information or employment.  An internship will give you professional experience, can give you confidence, raise your self-esteem and goes on your resume as professional experience. 

Will I have to pay to get an internship?

The Office of Career Services here at Queensborough Community College does not charge students a search or finder’s fee for internships that we advertise and promote.  We don’t promote internship opportunities that companies charge a fee for either.

Who can do an internship?

Anyone can do an internship that is not done for credit. 

Internships that are done for credit are credits toward your Associate Degree and only cost you additional tuition fees if you are not a full-time student, less than 12 credits, or you take more than 18 credits.   If you are a full-time student earning 12-18 credits, taking an Internship/Cooperative Education Class will not cost any extra tuition.

Does my internship have to be related to my major?

The company offering the internship opportunity makes the determining factor:  They decide, for legal reasons, whether the internship has to be done for credit or not.

If the internship must be done  for credit you have to be able to register in the academic department related to the internship and fulfill the necessary academic requirements, usually a specific number of credits in that department, a certain number of credits over all that usually puts you in an upper grade, and a minimum GPA.  (Please see the Queensborough Community College catalog for information.)

Provided you have the requirements to do the internship, if your internship isn’t being done for college credit, then you can do an internship in whatever you’re interested in and for however long you want to do it.  BE AWARE: By law if you are a full time student you can only do an internship part-time, (not more than 20 hours in a given week for the required number of weeks ,) and if you’re a part-time student or not in school for the summer you can do an internship full-time.  The employer must follow the regulations set forth in the U.S. Government’s Fair Labor Standards Act.

How are internships graded?

This information is spelled out in the Queensborough Community College catalog for each department.  Most of the time internships are a Pass or Fail grade, because it is difficult to subjectively evaluate an experience academically in order to render a grade along the A-F scale.  Some internships or curricula allow for the A-F evaluation, like Chemistry or Biology, and then a letter grade is given. This is real class with real consequences. You must fulfill the requirements by both the Faculty Cooperative Education Coordinator and the on-site internship coordinator to get a final grade.  However, due to unforeseen circumstances, an internship, whether it’s Pass/Fail, or a letter grade, can be given an incomplete (Inc.) grade if the required hours to satisfy the necessary hour requirement for the class are not completed.  The same requirements for any incomplete grade at Queensborough Community College apply:  Fulfill the credit hours within 6 months; or apply for a six month extension in addition and then fulfill the hours, or the grade will then become an F. 

How will an internship appear on my transcript?

The class course code and name will appear on your transcript, the same way other classes do, as well as the grade at the time of completion. 

Can I do an internship during the summer?

Yes.  You can do an internship during any class semester.  If you are a full-time student then you can do a part-time internship, not more than 20 hours in a given week for the required number of weeks.  If you are not in class for the summer, intersession or are a part-time student, then you can do an internship full-time, not more than 40 hours per week for the required number of weeks.

Can I turn an existing job into an internship?

You must speak to the Faculty Cooperative Education Coordinator registering you for the Cooperative Education class.  The Cooperative Education coordinator, in the department, is the person who will evaluate the criteria for you getting credit for doing the class. Under certain circumstances you can, if the duties are directly related to your curriculum.

Do I have to work the same number of hours every day or week?

While there is probably some flexibility in the process for the most part it is strongly advised that you do the same hours repeatedly till the hours required are completed.  As you would in any job you have, you must call if you’re going to be late or not show up when you’re expected to.

How much time do I have to put into an internship?

If you are a full-time student you can do a part-time internship and the maximum number of hours is 20 hours per week for the required number of weeks.  If you are not a full-time student, (or for example during intercessions, you can do an internship full-time, maximum 40 hours per week for the required number of weeks.  The number of hours required to earn credit in a Cooperative Education class varies from department to department, depending on the number of credits, which will be earned.  An estimate of the hours is approximately 30-45 hours per credit.

Will I be paid, if so how much?

Most internships are unpaid monetarily.  The payoff in the long run is gaining valuable professional experience in an area or field related to your studies, which you might not ordinarily have access to and goes on your resume as professional experience.  You gain self-confidence and self-esteem and if you do an excellent job can expect to get an outstanding letter of recommendation.  Many companies require that you do the internship for credit at your college, which means you’re earning credits towards your Associate Degree just as if you were registered for a classroom class at the college.  Here at Queensborough Community College you can do a maximum of 6 credits towards your degree. (Please see Requirements section for getting credit in this manual.)  Some companies may offer a one time stipend at the end or a lunch stipend or perhaps travel expenses. 

Where will I be put?  What will I be doing?

Internships are related to the academic program you’re studying.  Interns want real work.  An intern can help get a job done.  When work is assigned to you the person assigning the work should offer a detailed explanation about the assignment and how to get it done.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions to make sure that you understand.  Even though you will be part of a team, patience and determination pays off later when you are able to produce good work independently.  You can always ask for assistance to clear up any doubts you may have.  You should not be doing the same thing all day long every day; it is not supposed to be your job.  You should be learning new things and helping out at the same time.

 What sort of academic background and experience do I have to have?

Your academic studies are what entitle and enable you to do an internship, so, the better your grades are in your classes the more confidence you will have, naturally, and the more you'll be able to offer.  However, an internship is an extension of the learning you are doing in your classes.  It will not be assumed that you already know how to do the jobs you are assigned.  Things should be explained to you in a clear and concise way.  You can always ask for help.  The Department of your major dictates what the  required minimum GPA, credit requirements and number of hours that have to be performed are.

What will the employer expect of me?

In the same way that your professors have set up realistic learning objectives which you can be expected to accomplish during a semester of classes, employers will also have realistic tasks that you can fulfill during your internship.  The employer will expect you to be able to incorporate your strengths and skills into outcomes and expected products.  You can do the job at the same time that you are learning!