Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Internships

How is an intern different than an employee?

This is the most commonly asked question. There are six criteria from the U.S. Department of Labor to help guide the analysis of whether the intern must be paid:

  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.

You can also read a fact sheet from the U.S. Department of Labor (Labor Department Intern Fact Sheet found at the bottom of this page). This is trickiest question to answer for some potential internship providers – feel free to contact AES if you need help.

How do I post an internship?

We will ask you to write a job description by downloading the AES Internship Posting Form found at the bottom of this page. This document will guide you through what information is necessary for your internship posting. Fill this out and follow the suggested guidelines for length and content. You can see find a sample AES post here.

Here are some tips for describing your internship:

  1. Lead with the learning: Remember, from the perspective of a university, an internship’s primary function is to serve as an educational experience for a student. So in your description, lead with what the intern will learn (i.e. helping to develop a marketing plan) before discussing the tasks an intern will do. (i.e. conducting online research, photocopying, etc.).
  2. Leave space for individualization: the best internship experiences are those where you work with an intern to shape the internship to fit not only what you or your organization or business needs, but what the intern wants to learn within these needs. This means you can identify areas where you need support (developing a social media plan, researching and writing grants) and help the right intern be inspired to work with you. You can then have a discussion with the intern to shape the exact projects/day-to-day work the intern will do.

When you have completed your post, send it as a WORD (preferred) or PDF attachment to Be sure to include two images of your work or your organization or business for our website. AES staff will make suggestions and edits to your internship post and send it back to you. Once you submit a final draft, we will post it on our website and begin actively promoting it to our students.

You will then need to submit the post separately to UMass Amherst Career Services via Handshake, a job and internship search platform for students and employers. This will allow your internship to be found by all UMass students. Create an account at Make sure to add University of Massachusetts Amherst as a School. 95% of the information required for posting to the Handshake database is the same required for the Arts Extension Service. Many fields (such as "graduation date range" or "GPA"), you can either leave blank or put "N/A" if the information is not relevant to your posting. Once you submit your post, Career Services will need to approve it, which takes about one business day. You won't receive notification of its approval so you will want to log back in and check its status.

Why should I have to list this twice? What will AES do to promote my internship?

If you post your internship only via Handshake you are relying on students to find it. Posting to AES means your internship is actively promoted to our arts and culture students. AES sends regular emails to students in our program about internship opportunities. We also forward internship opportunities to different departments on campus and ask faculty/staff to share your internship with their students. We feature internship opportunities on our website, via our social media, and in bi-monthly email blasts.

Is there anything AES requires me to do as an internship provider?

By posting an internship through the AES and UMass Amherst Career Services, you agree to the following memorandum of understanding (listed on the AES Internship Posting Form):

  1. Inform the Arts Extension Service if you get an intern from your posting through the AES website and Career Services database.
  2. Allow the Arts Extension Service a site-visit (if requested) while you are working with your intern.
  3. Fill-out a simple evaluative survey at the end of your intern’s internship, to help AES better support arts and culture internship providers.
  4. Contact the Arts Extension Service as needed with questions or suggestions.

Will AES “match” me with an intern?

No. When possible, we at AES do contact individual students we know with internship opportunities that might interest them. Because AES classes are seminar-sized and interdisciplinary, we have close relationships with our arts and culture students from a variety of departments.

Potential interns have contacted me! What should I do next?

Congratulations! Your next step is set up a time to interview prospective interns. You may also attend one of our workshops on best internship practices - check out our News page for more information on upcoming events.

My intern is interested in doing their internship for credit – is there anything I need to do?

Yes, but it is nominal. If your intern decides to do an internship for credit it is up to them to do all the legwork. If they ask you about it, tell them to talk to Career Services or the Arts Extension Service. It is up to the student to find a professor willing to sponsor them and to create an academic plan with them.

If your intern is doing their internship for credit, you will receive two emails from Career Services:

  1. At the start of internship: a request for you to submit a description of the position – depending on what you and your intern determine their exact projects and duties to be, this might vary from your original internship posting.
  2. At the end of internship: a request for you to complete an evaluation form.

It is incredibly important that you complete both forms otherwise your intern will not be able to receive credit for their experience.

I work from my home. Can an intern work from my home studio?

As of August 2016, Yes. When you submit your internship posting, indicate that the location is your home office or studio. We will notify UMass HR that you are interested in working with a student in your home. HR will contact you and get information required to do HireRight and SORI background checks. These background checks are done at no cost to you and will only have to be done once. Once you have cleared your background check, you will be labeled as a registered "Internship Provider" in the UMass HR system and in AES's records - the whole process should take less than two weeks. In the meantime, your internship can be posted on our website and the UMass database so you can start fielding applicants.

When is the best time to post an internship?

Listed below are the best times to post internships to fit your needs:

  • Summer (May-August): post between February-March
  • Fall (September-December): post between June-August
  • Winter session (January): post between October-November
  • Spring (late January-May): post between November-December

Keep in mind that students are often overwhelmed with work during certain times of the year – midterms, and the final weeks of school in particular. An end of the fall semester post may not bear much fruit until after the holidays, but DO post according to the chart above.

What if I don’t get an intern?

Take heart! AES’s work promoting internships is new and students – and internship providers - are still learning about the availability of arts and culture internships in this area. If you can, stick with it and keep your internship posted.

Who should I call or email if I have other questions?

If you have any questions, feel free to email or call the Arts Extension Service at or 413-545-2360.