Students often wonder if most degree fields require an internship. As important as internships can be for a student, the answer is that, while many degrees do require internships, most do not require internships.

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What is an Internship?

An internship is a professional work experience a student gets during or towards the end of the college degree program. Depending on the company, the internship may be paid or unpaid. Internships are usually required for a certain length of time, and the student must put in a designated number of hours in the internship. The internships are generally related to the degree the student is pursuing. For instance, a mechanical engineering technician would want to complete an internship working in an engineering firm, and a nursing student would complete an internship in a hospital or similar medical facility.

What Degree Fields Require an Internship?

Despite the important role internships play in teaching and providing the student with hands-on training, not all degree fields require an internship. It’s often not so much the degree program that dictates if an internship is included so much as it’s the college. Some colleges that typically require internships include:

• Technology education
• Education and human development
• Science and business
• Health and human services
• Architecture and applied engineering

Reasons Why Internships are Important

Employers and university officials both maintain that completing an internship is beneficial in finding employment in the field in which they’re hoping to pursue according to U.S. News & World Report. They also state that those who complete an internship stand out above those what have not. There are several reasons why internships are important.

• They provide real-life exposure and hands-on training. It allows the individual the opportunity to put the theoretical knowledge they’ve obtained into a real-life situation.
• They allow the student to learn more about him or herself and to determine strengths and weaknesses. If improvement is needed, internships can show the individual what changes need to be made.
• They allow the individual the chance to become connected with other employees in that field and develop a professional network.
• Employers like employees that are familiar with the company and the position and internships often turn into a full-time position when the student graduates.
• Internships help students gain confidence in their work and learn how to get the hang of the business and what it entails.

How to Find Internship-Required Degrees

In many cases, a student may not know if their degree program requires an internship or not since not all programs require an internship. Looking at the program’s curriculum prior to enrollment is an ideal way to see what the requirements might be and if an internship is part of the academic requirements. USNWR offers a list of schools offering coop education and/or internships. This list can be invaluable for students still trying to decide on a college especially if finding one with internships is important.

Earning a degree is a positive step towards achieving the career of one’s choice. The main career goal has always been to find employment in the area in which a student has studied. Completing an internship is a positive step in that direction. Even if most degrees don’t require an internship, internships still play an important role in learning and establishing what an individual has learned in school and how ready the candidate is to apply that learning into a real job situation.