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Have you decided what you want to do after college? Do your studies lead to a specific career? Whether you’re a traditional student or going back to school later in life you can benefit by doing an internship. It’s one of the best ways to test the waters: to try out a job before it becomes your career.
Internships provide practical experience for anyone who needs help in choosing a career. In addition to giving you the opportunity to see if you like a particular profession, they provide the chance to see if you’d like working for a particular company as well. Many of the students I went to school with fell in love not only with a profession but with the company they interned with as well. Several went on to full-time positions after graduation.
While internships generally are done the summer after your junior year in college some students are able to participate in internships during the school year, according to Elka Jones in the Occupational Outlook Quarterly. Generally internships are designed for college students; however some programs welcome high-school students and career changers as well. Many have found that completing an internship is one of the best ways to get an edge in a competitive job market.
Currently, the average pay for summer internships is $17 an hour according to an article on Time.com, although some instances internships are unpaid. To add to the bad news internships have been down over the last few years.
But, internships are still available. How do you find out about them? Public libraries, career centers, and offices of school counselors usually have resources that contain local and national listings, according to Jones. Job fairs and local colleges also are great sources for local companies who are hiring interns.
Before you decide talk to your school counselor. And try to speak to others who have participated in internship programs as well. The best way to make your decision is to do plenty of research before you decide.