How Long Do Internships Last? - Intern Program Tips

Updated: 12/4/2018

When setting up an internship program, many employers wonder: How long do internships last? Like most issues in the internship arena, there is more than one answer.

Typical Internship Seasons

  • Fall internship dates typically start in September.
  • Winter internship dates typically start in November or December.
  • Spring internship dates typically start in January or February.
  • Summer internship dates typically start in June.

Internship Duration

Summer internships are about 10 to 12 weeks long, or the duration of one semester or quarter.

However, internship duration can also be dictated by the length of a school break. For instance, winter internships typically take place over the course of a winter vacation.

If your interns are college students, be prepared to work around their academic schedule. It may be helpful to review the academic calendars of colleges in your area as you plan your internship duration.

The University of Washington suggests that the ideal period of internship is one that allows the intern to complete projects that are valuable to both the intern and the employer. It should also allow the intern to get into the rhythm of the job, creating a more realistic experience. The university cites 3-4 months as reasonable, with the intern completing 20-35 hours weekly.

Of course, you can also recruit interns for longer periods. Some internships last for an entire year, or for two semesters. In many of these internships, the first semester is unpaid, while the second semester is paid.

Ultimately, the period of internship is your decision. What are your goals for the internship? Select a length of time that will reasonably allow your organization and interns to accomplish these goals.

While an internship is traditionally a one-time experience, it is not uncommon for a student to take part in more than one internship at the same company.

In this case, the internships may be during back-to-back semesters or even over the course of consecutive summers. It is also possible that a student might complete an internship, only to be rehired during a later semester or quarter.

When Should I Post an Internship Position?

The decision about when to post your internship position depends on when you would like your intern(s) to start.

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), employers begin recruiting interns an average of eight months in advance of the start date. An average of 23.6 days elapse between the interview and the offer. Additionally, you should allow prospective interns five days to respond to your offer.

Keep these statistics in mind as you decide when to post your internship. Set a start date, then ensure that you allow adequate time for recruiting, interviewing, and hiring candidates.

After you’ve determined your start date and duration, post your internship position on Chegg Internships. As the world’s largest internship marketplace, the site will connect you with qualified students seeking internships. It’s also free of charge and provides helpful resources and guidance throughout the process.

When you post your internship, be sure to specify the start date (you can indicate whether it’s flexible) and anticipated length.

Employer takeaway: The average internship is 10-14 weeks long. However, the best internship duration for your program is one that allows your intern and organization to fulfill the goals of the internship.