Criteria for an Experience to Be Defined as an Internship (NACE)

To ensure that an experience—whether it is a traditional internship or one conducted remotely or virtually—is educational, and thus eligible to be considered a legitimate internship by the NACE definition, all the following criteria must be met: 

  1. 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.
  2. The skills or knowledge learned must be transferable to other employment settings.
  3. The experience has a defined beginning and end, and a job description with desired qualifications.
  4. There are clearly defined learning objectives/goals related to the professional goals of the student’s academic coursework. 
  5. There is supervision by a professional with expertise and educational and/or professional background in the field of the experience.
  6. There is routine feedback by the experienced supervisor.  
  7. There are resources, equipment, and facilities provided by the host employer that support learning objectives/goals.

All internship positions posted on Beaver Careers must meet the following criteria to be approved by OSU Career Development Center:

  • The position must be a learning experience for the student.
  • The company/organization must be a legitimate established business located in commercial space.
  • An experienced professional with expertise in the content area of the internship (i.e., the "Site Supervisor") must be assigned to supervise/mentor the intern/student.  The person trains the student as needed, monitors and evaluates student's work performance.
  • Interns must be given an orientation to the organization, safety procedures, training, ongoing supervision, and evaluation.
  • It is the responsibility of the employer to cover the costs for all training, certificates, background checks, etc.
  • There are no requirements for the student to pay the employer in any form for any part of the experience.  The employer expects no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern.
  • Interns should not be considered "consultants" or be expected to provide a function that your professional staff does not have the skills to perform (i.e., create a company website, write a grant, and develop a marketing campaign) -consider hiring a student for part-time or seasonal work to perform those tasks.
  • Interns must have an appropriate workspace and tools with which to perform their duties (i.e., access to a computer, software, etc.).

Experiences that typically 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.
  • Family-owned businesses or positions 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.