If you have any concerns or questions about your experiential education experience (Internship, Co-op, CPT, etc.), please contact James Novak, Assistant Director for Experiential Education, at 704-687-0787 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The University Career Center adheres to the National Association of College and Employers (NACE) and U.S. Bureau of Labor – Fair Labor Standards Act guidelines to review and approve internships on Hire-A-Niner. These guidelines, outlined for you below, will help you understand the professional principles, which define an internship, especially if the opportunity is unpaid. If you meet all of the measures above, NACE and the U.S. Department of Labor considers that the position is indeed a true internship experience.
“An internship is a form of experiential learning that integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application and skills development in a professional setting. Internships give students the opportunity to gain valuable applied experience and make connections in professional fields they are considering for career paths, and give employers the opportunity to guide and evaluate talent.” – NACE’s Position Statement: U.S. Internships.
U.S. Department of Labor – Fact Sheet #71: Internship Programs Under the Fair Labor Standards Act
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. 2 In short, this test allows courts to examine the “economic reality” of the internemployer relationship to determine which party is the “primary beneficiary” of the relationship. Courts have identified the following seven factors as part of the test:
- 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
- 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.
- The extent to which the internship is tied to the intern’s formal education program by integrated coursework or the receipt of academic credit.
- The extent to which the internship accommodates the intern’s academic commitments by corresponding to the academic calendar.
- The extent to which the internship’s duration is limited to the period in which the internship provides the intern with beneficial learning.
- 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.
- 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.