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To choose the best construction internship for you, first decide in which area of construction you ultimately want to work. If building highways, bridges or tunnels is your area of interest, focus on an internship with a civil engineering construction company or a government transportation agency. If you want to build houses or commercial buildings, look for a construction internship with a general building contractor or urban planning company. Gaining the most directly applicable experience to the construction area you want to work in will help you stand out when looking for employment.
The types of internships include paid and unpaid. If experience and college credits are most important to you, consider smaller construction companies and builders for your construction internship. A smaller company might not offer paid internships or might pay only a stipend for your time, but a smaller company might give you a chance to do more types of things and learn more parts of the construction process during your internship. If money is a serious concern, narrow down the field by looking only at paid internships, but recognize that the competition for paid internships can be intense.
One thing that often is of the most importance is what you will learn during a construction internship. If you are interested in becoming a bridge engineer, look for internships that introduce you to various facets of the bridge-building process, such as design, hiring and managing subcontractors, construction project management and other areas. Also, look for internships that provide opportunities to work in the field at actual building sites and that don't leave you stuck in an office cubicle every day. When choosing the best construction internship, seriously consider the responsibilities and challenges of the internship and how it will help you further your long-term career goals.
Another consideration is the schedule of an internship. Some internships last for the term of a semester, and others take place during the summer months. Some construction internships are full-time, and others are part-time. Be sure to find out about the schedule of internships that you are considering.
The reputation of a building contractor or construction company also is important to consider when choosing a construction internship. It is beneficial to perform an internship with an organization that will look good on your résumé — or at least not detract from it. When considering internship opportunities, research companies that you are not familiar with and that are offering internships. You can speak with your instructors about specific companies, visit company websites and perform online searches for company names to see if anything negative appears. Another way to choose the best construction internship is to contact companies that you are interested in, provide your qualifications and politely ask about possibly performing an internship.