Information for Prospective Internship Hosts

Thank you for thinking of PNCA for your internship! BridgeLab Career Services is pleased to help promote internship opportunities that meet federal and institutional criteria and we value the mentorship you offer our students and look forward to working with you.

Below you will find some information about the internship program at PNCA.

Sample Internship Posting Internship Factsheet



Q: I have an internship opportunity.  May I offer it to PNCA students?

A:  PNCA’s BridgeLab Career Services welcomes internship opportunities that provide students with high quality work experience to supplement and enhance their academic education.  

All internships run through PNCA must be in compliance with the guidelines published by the U.S. Department of Labor.   The full federal fact sheet is provided at the end of this packet.  To summarize, the following six criteria for unpaid internships must be met:

  1. The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training which would be given in an educational environment;
  2. The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern;
  3. The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff;
  4. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded;
  5. The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and
  6. The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.

 In concert with and in addition to the above criteria, PNCA’s BridgeLab Career Services requires that internships must provide the following to students:

  • Concrete educational benefit to the student
  • Mentorship and supervision in various aspects of real-world professional experience
  • A safe work environment that is appropriate for the profession
  • Meaningful tasks for the student to complete
  • Clear feedback for the student

Q: My opportunity does not meet the internship criteria, but it’s still a great thing for students.  May I offer it in a different way?

A:   It depends on the nature of your opportunity.  You are more than welcome to offer paid employment to our students according to Federal law and industry standards.  If you are not offering payment, the internship must meet the aforementioned criteria to qualify.

Q:  What kind of mentorship should I provide for an intern?

A:  Most PNCA internships provide the student with mentorship that is directly aligned with the internship tasks and the student’s creative field.  For example, a photography intern typically works with a more experienced photographer; a graphic design intern typically works under the supervision of other graphic designers.  In some instances, the mentoring in an internship spans various fields.  For example, a photography student might intern with a nonprofit organization to gain mentorship in the nonprofit sector while also exercising their photographic skills.  In situations where the most significant mentoring happens in an area not related to the intern’s tasks and/ or creative field, this must be clearly stated in the internship posting.

Q:  How much credit may a student earn for an internship?

A:  Students may earn 1 credit for every 45 hours of internship work, up to a maximum of 6 credits total.  The most common kind of internship is 3 credits and thus involves 135 hours of work.  It is rare for a student to earn more than 3 credits at a single internship site; details may be discussed with BridgeLab Career Services.

Q:  Could you send your best student to intern with me?

A:  The term “best” is subjective, and as such it is impossible for PNCA to select an intern on your behalf.  Moreover, the application process is an important way for our students to get acclimated to real world hiring practices.  PNCA only participates in a vetting process in extremely rare cases.  To get the best fit for your particular needs, the ideal tactic is to write a very clear position description with detailed requirements.

Q:  Should I pay an intern?

A:  All unpaid internships must meet the U.S. Department of Labor internship guidelines as per federal regulations.  If your internship does not meet those guidelines, it must be paid.  If your internship does meet those guidelines, you may offer an unpaid internship.  It should be noted that your internship will be much more sought-after (and your applicant pool much stronger) if you offer compensation.

Q:  What should I include in my internship posting?

A:  While there is no single correct way to write an internship posting, the best ones always give a clear sense of the experience an intern can expect.  An accurate internship posting helps set the stage for realistic expectations and good communication.  

It is helpful to include the following information in your internship posting:

  • Description of the organization/site of the internship
  • Description of tasks the student will undertake
  • Explanation of the benefit to a student
  • Name and position of the internship supervisor
  • Start and end date  (or a note about flexibility if there is any)
  • Hours per week (or a note about flexibility if there is any)
  • Number of credits and total number of hours that involves within PNCA guidelines (as described above, the most common scenario is 3 credits for 135 hours of work)
  • Description of skills and qualifications you would like your intern to possess
  • Description of the application process (it is most common to request a cover letter, résumé or CV, and sometimes portfolio samples)

Q:  How do I advertise my internship?

  1. Write an internship job description and register with PNCA|JobWorks.
  2. Once we approve your registration and job posting you will begin to receive applications and make a hire as you see fit.

Q:  How quickly can I get an intern?

A:  You may advertise any time, but you will receive the best response if your internship hire can happen in a way that correlates to PNCA’s semester system.  We suggest you start advertising for interns in March in order to find an intern for late May (the start of our summer vacation); start advertising in July in order to find an intern starting early September (our Fall semester); or start advertising in November to find an intern starting late January (our Spring semester).  Off-sequence internships are also possible so be sure to leave at least a 6 week window for hiring.

Q:  I found the perfect intern.  What now?

A:  There are various pieces of paperwork required by PNCA to ensure that the internship experience is good for both you and the intern.  One such piece of paperwork must be filled out at the very start of the internship; the others come later.  You can expect to fill out the following items over the course of the internship:

  • Learning Contract.  This is written by the intern, perhaps with guidance from you, and signed by both of you.  This is due before the internship begins.
  • Midterm Evaluation.  This is written by you (using a worksheet provided by BridgeLab Career Services) and submitted in the middle of the internship.
  • Midterm Log of Hours.  This will be written by the intern and signed by both of you.
  • Final Evaluation.  Similar to the midterm evaluation, this is written by you (using a worksheet provided by BridgeLab Career Services) and submitted at the end of the internship.
  • Final Log of Hours.  This will be written by the intern and signed by both of you.

Q:  What do I do if there is an issue with my intern?

A:  Good communication at the beginning of an internship typically sets the stage for a positive experience on both sides.  As the internship host, you can help facilitate this process by creating a clear internship posting, by carefully reviewing the Learning Contract, and by conducting a pre-hire interview with candidates to clarify expectations.  Of course the intern is expected to facilitate this process as well by candidly discussing goals and expectations for the internship, by quickly learning how to navigate student life and professional life simultaneously, and by following through with all academic and internship commitments.

In the rare instance that an issue arises, we recommend that you open a dialogue with your intern and also contact BridgeLab Career Services.  Our email address is

Thank you again for your interest in mentoring PNCA student interns!