Internships can provide students with invaluable information that often can’t be found in the virtual or on-campus classroom. Students pursuing their Bachelor of Science through the University of Alabama at Birmingham will quickly discover that they are encouraged to gain internship experience as a core requirement of their degree.
Benefits of internships
Internships give students hands-on experience in applying the skills and knowledge they learn in the virtual classroom to real-life situations. Having the opportunity to work in the field can provide students with exposure they wouldn’t get from coursework, lectures, or exams. This can not only give interns a peek into what working in the field might look and feel like, but could also materialize into a real-world opportunity after graduation.
One of the primary reasons people pursue a bachelor’s degree is to improve their ability to find a job they like, find value in, or that pays well. While a degree can open up opportunities that otherwise might not be within reach, an internship can further boost chances of securing a specific position. Students with work or internship experience that’s related to their degree are more than twice as likely to land a job immediately after graduation, according to Gallup.
Among survey respondents who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business and have a job that is “completely related” to their major, 58 percent said they previously had a relevant internship or job. Just 28 percent said they didn’t have this experience.
Nearly three in five interns are extended a job offer, according to the 2018 Internship & Co-op Survey for the National Association of Colleges and Employers. Of those, 77.3 percent of interns accept, an increase over the 2017 rate. Employers expect to increase intern hiring by 1.8 percent in 2018.
Many interns who are extended a full-time job offer stay with their companies for more than a year. The one-year retention rate for employees who previously worked as an intern for their company is 70.6 percent. For employees who had internships with companies other than the one they work for, the retention rate is 65.8 percent after one year.
In other words, even when people choose to pursue a job opportunity with another company, having an internship can still be beneficial.
How to get an internship
Internships are an important component of the core curriculum for online Bachelor of Science degrees at the Collat School of Business. UAB provides resources to help students find the right internship for them.
Prior to pursuing an internship, students need to complete 60 credit hours (junior status) and take BUS 05: Professional Development. This course gets students ready for their internship by learning about networking, career planning, interviewing, negotiation, and professional etiquette. The working world evolves in time, which means it’s important to understand the nuances of job hunting today. This course covers lessons that might not be apparent to students who are just starting out, such as personal branding and how to find career opportunities.
Once students complete BUS 305: Professional Development, they need to get approval from the internship coordinator that corresponds to their majors. Before seeking out internship opportunities, students should talk to their academic advisor about their career goals and interests.
Most students begin searching for an internship between three and six months prior to the semester in which they begin the position. It’s important to note that internships are very similar to jobs, which means there will be competition. Fortunately, there are several resources at UAB that students can use to boost their chances.
For online students who live nearby, the UAB Career Services Career Fairs provide exposure to employers looking for interns. Collat Career Services offers mock interviews to help students prepare.
HireABlazer is a job board and online resource to help students find internships as well as employment opportunities. Students can build a profile and upload their resumes when they create an account, which can make the application process much easier.
While HireABlazer provides easy access to many internship postings, students can also utilize outside resources. Some students might find that their current employers offer relevant internships — this could be a viable option for an online student who might be balancing school with an already established job, U.S. News & World Report pointed out. Students might also find potential internships within their own network via friends, family members, former employers, or acquaintances made through student or professional organizations.
Once students secure their internships, they must fill out and submit the internship course application as well as create a position description agreement, which must be signed by their supervisors.
University of Alabama at Birmingham helps students discover internship experience
The University of Alabama at Birmingham recognizes the importance of internship experience, which is why online Bachelor of Science curriculums include an emphasis on these opportunities. Through internships, students can gain valuable experience participating in the workforce, seeking out new opportunities and getting hands-on experience in their field. Because of the importance of internship experience, UAB works to help students find opportunities that will benefit them in the future. To learn more, reach out to an enrollment advisor.