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Internship Information for Students

The Career Services and Recruiting Office encourages all students to participate in internships and assists in locating internship opportunities by posting available positions on BentleyLink. 

In addition, we offer career fairs, networking events, open information sessions, on-campus interviewing, mock interviews and resume reviews while helping to identify opportunities that align with a student’s career interests and objectives. Both for-credit and not-for-credit internships are available for students looking to gain valuable career-related work experience. Internships are the largest source of full-time employment for each graduating class, with over 30% of full-time positions obtained through this important experiential vehicle.

We also support the information provided below for organizations posting unpaid internships for students. Below, is a short summary of the Federal guidelines which govern internship programs under the Fair Labor Standards Act. These guidelines focus on for-profit private sector businesses to help determine whether an intern should be paid minimum wage and overtime. The six-part criteria helps employers distinguish between an employee, who must be paid, and a trainee, who can legally work as an intern. 

Background The FLSA requires “for-profit” employers to pay employees for their work. Interns and students, however, may not be “employees” under the FLSA—in which case the FLSA does not require compensation for their work.

The Test for Unpaid Interns and Students Courts have used the “primary beneficiary test” to determine whether an intern or student is, in fact, an employee under the FLSA. In short, this test allows courts to examine the “economic reality” of the intern employer relationship to determine which party is the “primary beneficiary” of the relationship. Courts have identified the following seven factors as part of the test: 

1. The extent to which the intern and the employer clearly understand that there is no expectation of compensation. Any promise of compensation, express or implied, suggests that the intern is an employee—and vice versa.

2. The extent to which the internship provides training that would be similar to that which would be given in an educational environment, including the clinical and other hands-on training provided by educational institutions.

3. The extent to which the internship is tied to the intern’s formal education program by integrated coursework or the receipt of academic credit.

4. The extent to which the internship accommodates the intern’s academic commitments by corresponding to the academic calendar.

5. The extent to which the internship’s duration is limited to the period in which the internship provides the intern with beneficial learning.

6. The extent to which the intern’s work complements, rather than displaces, the work of paid employees while providing significant educational benefits to the intern.

7. The extent to which the intern and the employer understand that the internship is conducted without entitlement to a paid job at the conclusion of the internship.

The FLSA exempts certain people who volunteer to perform services for a state or local government agency or who volunteer for
humanitarian purposes for non-profit food banks. WHD also recognizes an exception for individuals who volunteer their time, freely
and without anticipation of compensation, for religious, charitable, civic, or humanitarian purposes to non-profit organizations.
Unpaid internships for public sector and non-profit charitable organizations, where the intern volunteers without expectation of
compensation, are generally permissible.

 Courts have described the “primary beneficiary test” as a flexible test, and no single factor is determinative. Accordingly, whether an intern or student is an employee under the FLSA necessarily depends on the unique circumstances of each case. If analysis of these circumstances reveals that an intern or student is actually an employee, then he or she is entitled to both minimum wage and overtime pay under the FLSA. On the other hand, if the analysis confirms that the intern or student is not an employee, then he or she is not entitled to either minimum wage or overtime pay under the FLSA.

For more information please go toDepartment of Labor Guidelines