Paid vs. Unpaid Internships

We pride ourselves in establishing paid internships for our student talent. In situations where an unpaid internship is created by your agency, please keep the information below as a reference.

For tracking and vetting purposes, please follow the steps for establishing an internship before posting the position on our job board Handshake. 

Paid Internships

Employers who provide paid internships can hire an intern at anytime during the school year. Ideally, we encourage internships to follow our semester dates to allow students to enroll in a Work Experience course and earn college credit while interning. 

Paid internships do not qualify for insurance coverage through the community college district. 

Unpaid Internships

Based on a test developed by a federal court, the U.S. Dept of Labor has released a fact sheet that outlines the Primary Beneficiary Test (PBT), which should be used to determine who benefits primarily from the internship. In general, if the student/intern is the primary beneficiary, then the unpaid internship is legal; if the for-profit company is the primary beneficiary, the intern must be paid. Not-for-profit organizations and government agencies are exempt from this regulation.

Government or non-profit employers who offer unpaid internships through the Work Experience Education Program benefit from a reduced insurance risk. Students who participate in an unpaid internship and are enrolled in a Work Experience education course are covered under the district's Workers' Compensation.

Limitations on Insurance Coverage

Students enrolled in any Work Experience Education course while participating in an unpaid internship only have insurance coverage during the semester session in which the student is enrolled. 

We strongly advise employers to align the internship start and end dates within the semester schedule. 

Semester Start and End Dates

The fall and spring semesters offer 16, 12, and 8-week sessions. The summer semester is typically eight (8) weeks. 

Session Fall 2024 Spring 2025 Summer 2025
16 week
8/26/24 - 12/16/24 1/27/25  - 5/23/25 N/A
12 week
9/23/24 - 12/16/24 2/24/25 - 5/23/25 N/A
8 week
10/21/24 - 12/13/24 3/24/25 - 5/23/25 Dates TBD

You may view our course catalog and academic schedules for upcoming semesters. 


Learn about Internship Programs Under the Fair Labor Standards Act to ensure your internship meets criteria.