According to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Six Criteria to Establish What an Internship is
- The training, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to what would be given in a vocational school or academic educational instruction;
- The training is for the benefit of the trainees;
- The trainees do not displace regular employees, but work under their close observation;
- The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the trainees, and on occasion the employer’s operations may actually be impeded;
- The trainees are not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the training period; and
- The employer and the trainees understand that the trainees are not entitled to wages for the time spent in training.
***If these factors are met then the worker is a ‘trainee,’ an employment relationship does not exist under the FLSA, and the FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime provisions do not apply to the worker.
Additionally, it is the opinion of National Association of Colleges and Employers that the experience, whether it is a traditional internship or one conducted remotely or virtually, can be considered a legitimate internship if the following seven (7) criteria are met:
- The experience must be an extension of the classroom: A learning experience that provides for applying the knowledge gained in the classroom. It must not be simply to advance the operations of the employer or be the work that a regular employee would routinely perform.
- The skills or knowledge learned must be transferable to other employment settings.
- The experience has a defined beginning and end and a job description with desired qualifications.
- There are clearly defined learning objectives/goals related to the professional goals of the student’s academic coursework.
- There is supervision by a professional with expertise and educational and/or professional background in the field of the experience.
- There is routine feedback by the experienced supervisor.
- There are resources, equipment, and facilities provided by the host employer that support learning objectives/goals.
A more detailed "Position Statement" from NACE