Ready to hire an intern? 

Please review the following guidelines for internships at OSU as well as the optional evaluation guidelines below:


Site Supervisor & Employer Responsibilities

  • Verify that the position and duties meet the university criteria and accurately represent positions offered
  • Provide an orientation, and precautionary safety instructions, training, and ongoing supervision for assigned duties
  • Provide a safe working environment
  • If the student is paid, understand the responsibility for providing Worker's Compensation and liability insurance in accordance with Oregon State Law, and agree to provide said coverage
  • If you are offering an unpaid internship, make sure to comply with Oregon State and Federal Law regarding unpaid internships
  • Comply with Federal Laws prohibiting discrimination and afford all applicants equal consideration regardless of race, color, national origin, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion or veteran statues
  • Assign an experienced professional who has expertise in the content area of the internship to supervise the student throughout the internship
  • Provide the student with an orientation to organized policies, procedures, utilization of resources, and position-specific training
  • Provide a positive supervisory experience that encourages the professional, academic, and personal growth of the student
  • Assist the student in developing and achieving personal learning objectives
  • Provide consistent and appropriate feedback through informal and formal evaluations
  • Complete a final evaluation of the student's performance

Benefits to Employers

  • Hire personnel dedicated to a specific assignment, freeing you up to focus on the big picture with your business.
  • Utilize a cost-effective, high quality short-term workforce option.
  • Create a pipeline of future employees and cut recruitment costs.
  • Employ an excellent tool for recruiting and screening potential full-time hires.
  • Benefit from the academic expertise and enthusiasm of OSU students.
  • Promote a positive image for your organization.

Benefits to Students

  • Students interested in specific industries can "try it out" with an internship.
  • Opportunity to earn money for school while preparing for a career.
  • Develop skills, including the ability to work in a professional environment.
  • Become more marketable upon graduation with real-world experience.
  • Build a professional network.


All internships posted on Handshake must meet the following criteria:

  • Oregon State University will not approve any unpaid internships with for-profit companies unless they meet the six Fair Labor and Standards Act Guidelines, as listed at the bottom of this page. 
  • 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.
    • Interns must be given an orientation to the organization, training on safety procedures and job duties, ongoing supervision, and an evaluation at the end of the internship.
    • Interns should not be considered 'consultants'.
  • The employer must comply with Federal Laws prohibiting discrimination and afford all applicants equal consideration regardless of race, color, national origin, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, or veteran status.
  • 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 students' academic coursework. 
  • There is supervision by a professional with expertise and educational and/or professional background in the field of the experience.  This person will serve as the Site Supervisor to the intern.
  • There are resources, equipment, and facilities provided by the employer that support the stated learning objectives/goals of the internship
    • Interns must be provided with a face and appropriate workspace and tools with which to perform their duties (i.e., access to a computer, software, etc.).
  • The employer must cover the cost for all training, certificates, background checks, etc.  The intern must not be expected to pay for any part of the internship.
  • The employer must be a legitimate established business, located in a commercial space.  Home-based businesses and internships in which 100% of the work is done remotely or virtually will not be approved.
  • The employer expects no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern.

Experiences that do not qualify as internships:

  • Commission-based positions.
  • Internships located in home-based businesses.
  • Situations where 100% of the work is done remotely or virtually.
  • Positions in which the intern displaces a regular employee.
  • Positions that require door-to-door canvassing, cold-calling, or petition gathering.
  • "Independent contractor" relationships that require the intern to set up his/her own business for the purpose of selling products, services, and/or recruiting other individuals to set up their own business.
  • Positions in which the intern would be supervised by a family member.
  • Telemarketing positions.
  • Positions in which the student is required to pay the employer for any part of the experience (fees for training, etc.).
  • International Internships will not be approved unless the employer has successfully applied to and been approved by the OSU IE3 Global Internship Program.

Legal Considerations of Internships


Any disclosure of internship/intern information is prohibited without the intern’s express written consent. FERPA laws may be applicable.

Worker’s Compensation

All student interns must be covered by an Employer/Organization’s Workers’ Compensation insurance when the student intern is defined as a “subject worker” by Oregon Workers’ Compensation Law. A “subject worker” includes any worker for an Employer/Organization where an exchange of “remuneration for services” occurs.  Remuneration is not explicitly defined; however, it may include lodging, stipends, gifts, etc.  If student interns do not meet the definition of a “subject worker”, the Employer/Organization may be able to add the student intern to its Workers’ Compensation Insurance coverage by contacting their insurance agent or carrier.  Oregon State University (OSU) only provides Workers’ Compensation insurance coverage for student interns defined as OSU “subject workers” while performing duties for OSU.  OSU does not provide Workers’ Compensation insurance coverage for student interns performing duties to non-OSU Employers/Organizations.    

Equal Opportunity and Non-Discrimination

Internship Employers/Organizations must subscribe to EEOC guidelines established by Federal and Oregon state law. Employers/Organizations cannot unlawfully discriminate in the selection of student interns on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion or veteran status.

Other Employment Related Laws

Employers/Organizations must adhere to all other employment related laws for student interns who perform employment related tasks including, but not limited to, acts of sexual harassment.

Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA)

All Employers/Organizations shall maintain a safe working environment for student interns.  This includes complying with all OSHA rules and providing an initial safety orientation, any precautionary safety instructions, training, and ongoing supervision for assigned duties.  An experienced professional who has expertise in the content area of the internship shall be assigned to supervise the student intern throughout the internship and shall be available to the student intern in the event of any employment related accidents.

Hold Harmless or Indemnity Agreements

Because of the concern over liability during student internships, some Employers/Organizations may require Oregon State University and/or the student intern to sign a hold-harmless or indemnity agreement. Student interns are PROHIBITED from signing an Employer/Organization’s hold-harmless or indemnity agreement on behalf of Oregon State University.  If an Employer/Organization desires to enter into an on-going internship arrangement, all agreements between the Employer/Organization must be signed by one of the 16 authorized signators for Oregon State University through the Procurement and Contract Services Office. In some cases, Employers/Organizations have asked students to sign a release of liability as a condition to accepting an internship. Student interns are recommended to NOT sign personal hold-harmless or indemnity agreements that assume liability as a condition to accepting an internship.

Fair Labor Standards Act (Unpaid Internships)

Employers/Organizations must be aware of and ensure compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), before classifying a student intern as an unpaid "trainee." If a student intern is considered an "employee" for purposes of the FLSA, then the employer must pay its student interns at least the minimum wage. The Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division developed a six-factor test for determining whether workers are considered "trainees" under the FLSA: Under the Department of Labor’s Fair Labor Standards Act, six criteria have been instituted to define an unpaid intern. They are as follows:

  1. The training, even though it includes actual operations of the facilities of the employers, is similar to that which would be given in a vocational school.
  2. The training is for the benefit of the student.
  3. The student does not displace a regular employee, but works under the close observation of a regular employee or supervisor.
  4. The employer provides the training and derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the student; and on occasion, the operations may actually be impeded by the training.
  5. The student is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the training period.
  6. The employer and the student understand that the student is not entitled to wages for the time spent training.