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Internships

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Internships

How do I post an internship?

AES reviews and accepts postings of virtual, in-person, and hybrid internships.To list your internship, complete the AES Internship Posting Form. This form will guide you to create an internship opportunity that aligns with legal requirements and best practices for internships. You will have the opportunity to create an entirely new internship listing or choose between four internship templates:

You may also select a template and add additional information to customize your opportunity.

AES staff will review your internship opportunity and may make suggestions for edits to make it more appealing to students and fit UMass criteria. Once you submit a final draft, we will post it on our website, in UMass Amherst Career Services via Handshake, and begin actively promoting it to our students.

In addition to agreeing to the AES guidelines for internships, will need the following to complete your internship listing:

  • A description of your organization/business;
  • Your organization or business logo, preferably in landscape orientation;
  • General contact information;
  • Details about the internship duration, deadline, and information about pay, if applicable.

Please have that information ready when you complete the form.

How is an intern different than an employee?

This is the most commonly asked question. In order for an internship to be unpaid, the internship must meet these six criteria from the U.S. Department of Labor:

  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.

Additionally, Massachusetts imposes additional requirements. In order for the internship activities to be exempt from the Massachusetts Fair Minimum Wage Law the internship must be offered in accordance with an educational, charitable, or religious institution.

If your opportunity does not fit the criteria for being an internship:

  • nonprofit organizations may apply to register as a Community Service Work-Study Agency to receive support in hiring paid student workers.
  • businesses and independent artists may include hourly wages for interns in grant proposals or crowdfunding campaigns.

Feel free to reach out to AES with any questions at aes@acad.umass.edu.

What is the difference between an intern and a volunteer?

Volunteers voluntarily donate their time, usually on a part-time and casual basis to nonprofit organizations and for public service, charitable, or humanitarian reasons without promise or expectation of compensation.
Interns may be paid or unpaid, but regardless, interns participate in training via service provided to a nonprofit or for profit entity with the primary benefit of the arrangement to the student who acquires skills and work experience related to their field of study and professional goals.

One of the main differences between a volunteer position and an internship is that a volunteer position primarily benefits the organization while an internship is primarily an educational experience for the student intern.

AES does not regularly promote volunteer opportunities at this time. Please contact us if you’d like support developing an opportunity for an educational internship at your organization or business.

What will AES do to promote my internship?

In addition to listing your internship opportunity on the AES website, AES will submit your listing to Handshake. We also forward internship opportunities with arts and humanities 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 our emails to students.

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

You are legally required to meet with interns and student workers in a public or commercially/industrially zoned location unless you undergo and pass a background check. When you complete the internship posting form you will be asked to confirm that either you:

  1. will meet with interns/student workers in a public location, or
  2. would like to meet with interns/student workers in a residentially zoned location (ex. home office, live/work space, studio on your home property) and you consent to be contacted to provide documentation for a background and criminal record check. 

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 I get an intern or student employee from my posting through the AES website and Career Services Handshake database.

  2. Allow the Arts Extension Service a site-visit or virtual meeting while I am working with my intern.

  3. Contact the Arts Extension Service at aes@acad.umass.edu when the posting needs to be taken down, regardless of the reason, and I understand that if I do not do so it will remain active indefinitely.

  4. Fill-out a simple evaluative survey at the end of my intern’s internship, to help AES better support arts and culture internship providers.

  5. Contact the Arts Extension Service as needed with questions or suggestions.

Please contact AES at aes@acad.umass.edu with any questions.

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 to set up a time to interview prospective interns. You may also find it helpful to read the Remote Internship Toolkit, attend one of our workshops on best internship practices or contact AES staff for consultation about the process of hiring interns.

Can my intern be a work study student?

Community nonprofits in Massachusetts may be eligible to become a Registered Community Service Agency so they may host off-campus work study positions. Find out about the Guidelines & Work Study Limitations here. Learn about the registration process here.

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 home. Can an intern work from my home studio?

Yes, if you pass a background and criminal record check. 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 a residentially zoned location. HR will contact you and get the 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. It can take a few weeks to go through this process, so we recommend beginning the process early and keeping a close eye on your email inbox for form requests.

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 January-February;
  • Fall (September-December): post between June-August;
  • Winter session (January): post between October-November;
  • Spring (February-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.

How many hours per week should an internship be?

The majority of students are seeking a paid internship or job that is 10 - 20 hours per week during the academic year and up to full-time during the summer. Unpaid internships should be no more than 10 hours per week during the academic year and up to 20 hours per week during the summer.

Why should I pay an intern?

We strongly encourage you to provide a paid internship if possible as this will provide you with the largest and most diverse applicant pool and attract more qualified candidates.

Many students cannot participate in unpaid internships because they rely on paid income to attend school and pay for living expenses. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), “Consequently, unpaid internships disproportionately benefit students who can afford to intern without pay. As such, these students can access work experience, skill development, and networks that less privileged students cannot.”

AES is committed to advancing the equity of the arts sector, and committing to paying interns is one step organizations can take to support a pipeline of talented, diverse emerging arts workers. (Read more about NACE’s research and position statement on unpaid internships here.)

To generate revenue for paid internships at your organization or creative business, AES recommends including hourly wages for interns in grant proposals and crowdfunding campaigns.

Nonprofit organizations may also apply to register as a Community Service Work-Study Agency to receive support in hiring paid student workers.

What tasks can I assign an intern?

Great question! Since internships are intended to be a learning opportunity that primarily benefits the student, you should only assign tasks to the intern for which you can provide supervision and guidance. For example, you might hire a student intern to support social media marketing if you have knowledge of social media and can teach the student. If you don’t have the expertise to teach the intern how to complete their tasks, it should be considered a paid job and not an internship.

Student interns often have knowledge of college-age audiences/participants and bring excitement and fresh perspectives to your team. Consider assigning projects that you have expertise for, but haven’t had enough time to complete. It’s a great idea to assign a background project that the intern can work on whenever you are busy. We also recommend talking with the student intern early on to ask them about their interests and tailoring the internship accordingly. Feel free to reach out to AES for suggestions or support.

 

What if I don’t get an intern?

Take heart! AES will continue to promote your internship opportunity. If you can, stick with it and keep your internship posted. If you are offering an unpaid internship, consider offering a paid internship or stipend, which will interest a larger and more diverse student applicant pool. Feel free to contact AES for suggestions about how to make your opportunity more appealing to students.

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 aes@acad.umass.edu or 413-545-2360.

What are AES Internship Templates?

AES provides several internship templates that are applicable to any field.

The templates include:

If your internship offers unique offerings that do not apply to these templates, you can create a listing that fits your opportunity.


Arts Marketing and Communication Internship - Template Example

The arts marketing and communication intern may focus on the following areas: content creation and writing, using promotional tools, market research, and assisting in marketing analysis. Interns will work directly with staff and/or appointed members from the organization/business on general internship onboarding, creating a schedule, establishing weekly check-ins, and scheduling timely feedback meetings. Interns will receive instruction, guidance, and feedback on all tasks.

Work may include the following:

  • Assist in content creation including, email, blog, social media, and video creation;
  • Learn how to use and evaluate the effectiveness of marketing tactics using marketing analytics;
  • Assist in the research of target audiences;
  • Research promotional tools to reach audiences;
  • Help to maintain a social media presence;
  • Other duties as necessary.

Requirements:

  • Strong writing skills.
  • Understanding of social media platforms – especially Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter;
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills;
  • Experience in Office and Google Drive;
  • Enthusiasm for the organization’s mission;
  • Other skills as needed per position.

Preferred Qualifications: 

  • Completion of AES Arts Marketing course;
  • Some experience with digital design and editing platforms such as Canva, Adobe Spark, iMovie, and/or other photo/video editing programs is helpful.

Additional information will be included about your listing and requirements for application. List your internship.


Arts Fundraising and Development Internship - Template Example

The fundraising and development intern will focus on the following areas: grant research, donor research, and fundraising events. Interns will work directly with staff and/or appointed members from the organization/business on general internship onboarding, creating a schedule, establishing weekly check-ins, and scheduling timely feedback meetings. Interns will receive instruction, guidance, and feedback on all tasks.

Work may include the following:

  • Identify grant/foundation opportunities;
  • Help to create a grant calendar;
  • Learn how to conduct donor research;
  • Assist to create individual donor cultivation plans;
  • Draft narratives and case studies for grant applications;
  • Craft donor solicitation materials;
  • Generate commonly used development documents, i.e. development calendars, print materials, and other supplementary materials for campaigns;
  • Assist in planning development events;
  • Research and assist in developing online fundraising campaigns;
  • Other skills as required per position.

Requirements:

  • Strong writing skills;
  • General understanding of fundraising and development;
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills;
  • Experience in Office and Google Drive;
  • An enthusiasm for the organization's mission;
  • Other skills as needed per position.

Preferred Qualification: 

  • Completion of AES Arts Fundraising course;
  • Prior experience with a crowdfunding campaign.

Additional information will be included about your listing and requirements for application. List your internship.


Arts Programming Internship - Template Example

The arts programming intern will focus on the following areas: assistance in event planning, research and outreach to partners and attendees, serving visitors or event attendees as well as general operational support. Events may include performance, exhibits, and educational events. Interns will work directly with staff and/or appointed members from the organization/business on general internship onboarding, creating a schedule, establishing weekly check-ins, and scheduling timely feedback meetings. Interns will receive instruction, guidance, and feedback on all tasks.

Work may include the following:

  • Help to organize events: researching artists and vendors, developing timelines, and contingency plans;
  • Research similar programing or cultural events;
  • Assist in developing new arts programs as needed;
  • Learn how to evaluate programs;
  • Post to online calendars;
  • Learn about outreach and collaboration with partners and teams;
  • Assist in scheduling meetings;
  • Other duties as necessary.

Requirements:

  • Strong writing skills;
  • Strong interpersonal and organizational skills;
  • Experience in Office and/or Google Drive;
  • Experience with Zoom and or other online meeting platforms;
  • Enthusiasm for the organization’s mission;
  • Other skills as required per position.

Preferred Qualifications: 

  • Completion of the AES Arts Programming course;
  • Experience with presenting events.

Additional information will be included about your listing and requirements for application. List your internship.


Research Internship - Online, Template Example

The research intern will focus on the following areas: research of relevant fields to the organization/business and research documentation. Interns will work directly with staff and/or appointed members from the organization/business on general internship onboarding, creating a schedule, establishing weekly check-ins, and scheduling timely feedback meetings. Interns will receive instruction, guidance, and feedback on all tasks.

Duties may include the following:

  • Assist in online historic or other related research;
  • Updating current research;
  • Research similar offerings and/or programs;
  • Help to identify and research potential new audiences or participants;
  • Assist with reviewing materials prior to publication;
  • Tagging online digitized libraries.

Requirements:

  • Strong writing skills;
  • Basic understanding of research processes;
  • Exemplary organizational skills;
  • Experience with Office and Google Drive;
  • Enthusiasm for the organization’s mission;
  • Other skills as needed per position.

Additional information will be included about your listing and requirements for application. List your internship.