Internship guide

An internship is any carefully monitored work or service experience in which a student has intentional learning goals and reflects actively on what she or he is learning throughout the experience. Although internships vary widely from organization to organization, they generally have some common characteristics. The basic points below serve as an internship guide for employers looking to hire a College of Human Sciences student.

Benefits of hiring interns

Having interns gives employers the opportunity to:

  • Pre-screen potential employees while on-the-job in an on-the-job setting
  • Reduce the cost of training potential full-time employees
  • Access a year-round source of highly motivated pre-professionals
  • Reduce recruiting costs due to increased visibility at Iowa State
  • Add professional staff during critical projects/phases

Participation requirements

Student interns should be considered professional employees who are providing a service to your organization.  As an employer, you should:

  • Plan a meaningful, challenging, work experience
  • Provide necessary training and supervision
  • Complete a performance evaluation and share it with the student

Note: Students who receive academic credit for their internships may have additional requirements from their department.


Internships can be for academic credit or not for credit.  It is the goal of Iowa State University and our college that all internships be paid, although there may be some exceptions. For more information on internship compensation rules under Fair Labor Standards Act, refer to the FLSA guidelines.

Keys to successful internships

Organizational resources

Ensure that your organization has adequate resources available to support the intern, such as:

  • Time to support an intern
  • Resources available to support the internship, such as:
    • Senior leadership buy-in and availability
    • Mentors/supervisors
    • Physical resources such as adequate work space and equipment (telephone, computer, etc.)
    • Financial resources consideration: salary, stipends, travel/parking reimbursement

Internship position description

An ideal internship position description should include:

  • Position title
  • Essential skills and qualifications needed
  • Duties, responsibilities and expectations
  • A brief description of your organization
  • Hours/week
  • Pay rate
  • Start and end dates

Contact Career Services if you have questions about writing a job description. 

Get started

For more information and assistance with establishing internships, contact us at 515-294-0626 or

Check out the CHS majors/programs list for the wide range of careers our students are uniquely suited to.

Employers that already have an account for Iowa State University's Career Services Management System can access CyHire to add an internship job posting.

Career fair opportunities

The College of Human Sciences strongly encourages employers to attend career fairs. The College of Human Sciences hosts the Business, Industry, and Technology, People to People, and Teacher Education career fairs. These events allow employers and organizations the opportunity to meet with potential candidates for permanent employment, internships or information about professional schools.