"I Heard That Internships Are Required In Certain Fields -- Is That True?"

No matter what your chosen field of interest, an internship is always a good idea. It will give you a preview of what your career will be like, a chance to test-drive your career, and valuable experience that you can add to your resume, making you a more competitive job candidate over graduates who have not done an internship. But there are some career fields where an internship is an absolute must.
Why Internships Are So Important

Potential employers will look at your grades when reviewing you as a candidate for a position in their company. They will also look at accomplishments, awards received, research completed, and activities in which you have participated or been a leader within your field of interest. In certain fields, however, internships are another way of separating candidates.

College students who have completed one or more internships have accomplished more than just graduating with a particular major. Completing an internship or several internships means, to the employer, that this student also has taken the time to start developing skills and experiences in their field. The employer is literally hiring someone with experience, which is what most employers would like.

In general, internships are a choice -- a good choice, but a choice. However, if you are majoring in certain areas, you will find it very difficult to find a job after graduation unless you have one or more internships under your belt. In these fields, graduating with a degree is just not enough anymore. Job fields have changed, and more students are going to college, making job searching more competitive. An internship will separate you from the rest.

According to Dan Gomez-Palacio, assistant director of career services at Westminster College in Missouri, "With the increased number of students, if I'm an employer or a medical school or business school, finding a student who has a good GPA isn't particularly tough anymore. So, what is going to separate you from your peers?"

Professional experience gained from internships is attractive to employers. It saves companies in training and allows them to quickly re-coup the cost of hiring a new employee.

Internships Are The New Job Requirement

According to a survey from Marketplace and The Chronicle of Higher Education, internships are now becoming the new job requirement. They are particularly important in the areas of:
Health Care

How Important Are Internships In These Fields?

Just look at the chart and you can clearly see that experience is so important in these fields that they overshadow academics. So, an employer may choose a candidate with lower academics but much experience over a candidate with higher academics and no experience. This does not infer that academics are not important, but experience is becoming increasingly important as well. In these fields, experience is the new job requirement.
Although internships can include pay, no pay, or college credit, it will not make much difference to a potential employer. What is important to an employer is that you have had experience directly related to your chosen career.

Knowing How To Think

The defining benefit of internships is that they teach students how to think and communicate within the industry they have chosen. David E. Boyes' Northern Virginia technology consulting company works with high-tech companies like Cisco and IBM. What he complains about is the inability of graduates to analyze large amounts of data or construct a cogent argument. "It's not a matter of technical skill," he says, "but of knowing how to think."

An internship will teach students not only how to analyze and think but also how to apply their college knowledge to an actual job. This is what employers are looking for. The more competitive the industry, the more important internships are, and will continue to become, to employers.

Plan For Your Career

When planning your career, make sure you include one or more internships in your goals.

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