Are Internships Only For Students?

Internships are associated with college students – but is this accurate? 

Interning is a great way to get some experience in the industry and is by no means limited to current or recent students. Anyone looking to change careers may find it invaluable to undertake some internship work.

Still not convinced? Keep reading to get a better understanding of what an internship is, and what it can do for you.

Internship Definition

In short, an internship is any work experience that allows you to work in the industry you are interested in entering. 

Many interns get invaluable insight into their industry, helping you to get a better idea of what your future career may entail. Keep in mind that most internships are a short-term placements, but this is often more than enough time for you to get a feel for the workplace.

Generally, internships are unpaid. There are, however, an increasing number of prospective employers that offer paid internships or even internships that count towards final college credits. That said, internships are most definitely not limited to students. 

Internships Are Not Just For Students

Remember that internships are not just for students. 

Most people seeking an internship are college students but don’t let that put you off. Any adult may seek an internship for the same reasons as a student – you want to get some experience in the industry before you start your career.

Non-students may even be in a better position. An adult who is not in education is far more likely to be able to secure a paid internship. Most college students, however, can only successfully secure an internship that will give college credits in lieu of payment.

Even if you are still in full-time employment, there are ways and means of getting an internship. There are lots of part-time internship opportunities available and many more have very flexible hours to fit in around your schedule.

Have a look around and don’t be afraid to ask when internship hunting – you should be able to find an opening that will not have too detrimental an impact on your current job.

When To Consider An Internship

You can of course complete an internship program whilst you are employed. There are, 

however, other good times in your career to consider engaging with an internship scheme.


If you are unemployed and are having difficulty securing a new job, consider an internship. This will help prevent a big gap in your employment history and keep your skill set fresh and up to date. 

Doing an internship now will not guarantee you a new job immediately, but will help make a new interview a little bit easier. You won’t need to have a prepared answer as to why you weren’t proactive in your job hunt or why there is a gap in your resume.

This will help keep a hiring manager on your side. 

Finishing A Sabbatical

Just finishing up an extended break and worried about rejoining the workforce? Why not dip your toe in with an internship.

This will be a more gentle and less pressured way of re-entering your industry field. Taking the time to do an internship will also make sure that you are updated on any changes that occurred while you were away.

This will all help get you used to work again, making the transition a little more smooth,

Changing Careers

Try to secure an internship if you are taking a step into a drastically different career. Taking this opportunity will help you understand your new field a little better, making the change easier and less daunting.

An internship is also an excellent opportunity to find out if your new career field is for you.

Foot In The Door For A Particular Company

In the current job market, getting a foot in the door for a big company is going to be very useful. An internship is a great way to do this, getting your face and name out there and opening up networking opportunities.

If you do know that you want to work for a certain company, do your research to secure an internship. It may be that you agree with the company’s values, their business practices, or you feel that you suit that type of working environment. 

Whatever the reason, be sure to interact with as many people who are involved in the hiring process as possible. Hopefully, they remember your name next time there is a job opening.

Getting An Internship As An Adult

Most internship positions are filled by college students so that is the type of candidate that most employers are expecting. Don’t worry! You can still apply and are likely to succeed in securing a position by following these steps:

  • Apply: Applying is the only way you’re going to get an internship. If you don’t see an application process on a company’s website it is a good idea to contact them about a position anyway. Some employers don’t have a formal internship scheme in place but are more than willing to help you. 
  • Specific programs: Have a look around to see what is available. Some companies have programs in place specifically for those who have already graduated from college or have enough experience in the field. You may find that experience is preferred in some jobs as there is less time needed for training!
  • Ask your network: Take the time to ask around your own professional contacts – there will likely be an opening somewhere for you and your conduct and career will speak for itself. 
  • Professional association: Just about every industry will have an association that you can join. These associations are a great opportunity to network as they often host events. Joining may give you a fast-track path to internships that are open to you.
  • Ask your alma mater and alumni: Internships are often filled by college students so tend to be advertised towards them. Contacting your career services at your old college or university is a good starting point if you are unsure or want some additional guidance. Asking alumni or the alumni association for more help could also be a good idea to point you in the right direction.

Final Thoughts

No, internships are not just for college students. With a little bit of research, it is almost certain that you will be able to secure an internship placement that suits you.

Keep in mind that most employers are expecting college students to apply for these places. It may be a good idea to contact your old university or college’s career services department for some guidance and hot tips on who is looking for people.

Don’t be afraid to apply for an internship, no matter where you are in your career. They are an excellent chance for you to experience a new type of industry or to dip your toe back into the workforce after a break.

Jamie Willis
Career Specialist at BecomeopediaHi, my name is Jamie Willis, and I have been helping students find their perfect internships and education paths for the last ten years. It is a passion of mine, and there really is nothing better than seeing students of mine succeed with further studies.

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