Internship FAQs for Employers

Below are the answers to the most commonly asked questions that employers have about internships and our online recruiting tool Handshake.

If you can't find the answer you're looking for, please contact us the Internship Center at 724-938-1578 or

You can also learn more about internships by reading our Employer Manual about Starting an Internship Program.

Internship FAQ

What is an Internship?

An internship is a formal arrangement designed to provide opportunities for students to study and experience professional career interests outside the University but under the supervision of PennWest California. 

How do I post an internship opportunity?

Follow these steps to post an internship opportunity:

  1. Sign up for Handshake.
  2. Request access to PennWest California in Handshake by following these instructions.
  3. Follow these step-by-step job-posting instructions to post your internship opportunity. Be sure to select "internship" under the job type designation in your listing.

*Further tutorials and help with Handshake can be found in the Employer Handshake Help Center. 

How can I recruit on campus? When are your job fairs?

All job fairs and on-campus recruiting opportunities are listed and managed through Handshake. Read more about on-campus recruiting here, and more about career fairs and events here

How does my company benefit from hiring an intern?

  • You will become a partner in education with PennWest California.
  • You will have an outstanding source of motivated pre-professionals.
  • Your organization will receive new perspectives from trained, enthusiastic students.
  • Your organization will have increased visibility and an enhanced image for your organization on campus and in the community.
  • You will have access to quality students for temporary positions and projects.
  • You will have a cost-effective method of recruitment of potential employees.

Do we need a formal document defining the relationship between our organization and PennWest California?

An internship agreement establishing the relationship between your organization and PennWest California will be completed before students intern with your company. You can print a copy of the internship agreement by downloading the Internship Agreement.

When do students do internships? How many hours of work are expected of an intern?

Internships generally run concurrently with PennWest California academic semesters:

  • Fall (September-December)
  • Spring (January-May)
  • Summer (May-August)

Internships generally are a minimum of 12-15 weeks in length and total anywhere from 10-40 hours per week. The student is expected to work 40 hours per one credit. Therefore, if a student will receive 3 credits for an internship, for example, he/she is expected to work 120 hours over the semester.

Are internships paid or do students receive academic credit or both?

Students earn academic credit for internship arrangements and are expected to complete academic assignments concurrent with the work experience. Internships can be paid or unpaid. Compensation is not regulated by PennWest California; however, with the financial demands placed on today's students, many are looking for some form of remuneration.

What if a problem arises?

At the beginning of each semester, students, faculty supervisors and employer supervisors should agree on the guidelines and expectations for all those involved.  Although every internship placement is unique, guidelines might include issues such as learning objectives, academic requirements, schedules, policies on absenteeism, attitude, appropriate dress and more. Clear expectations and open communication will ensure that the internship experience is a positive one.

Occasionally a problem may arise.  If this should happen, the individuals are encouraged to discuss the situation, negotiate on their own and work toward an agreement. Discussing these issues early in the semester can usually lead to a solution that is acceptable to all involved.

Employers should consult the faculty supervisor if problems arise.  If faculty intervention is needed, the faculty supervisor will gather information from the employer site supervisor and the student concerning the nature of the problem.  A site visit and/or a meeting among the three individuals may be advisable, with the faculty supervisor as convener and mediator.