Internships can be mutually beneficial for individuals to gain relevant experience in their chosen field, and for businesses to hire low cost employees to complete specific projects or short term work. The various types of internship opportunities that exist include internships for college credit, which may be required as part of a degree program; internships like this may lead to employment opportunities; or even options for studying abroad, among others. The internship opportunities that an individual chooses to pursue are largely based on his or her level of education and goals.
An internship often offers a work-study experience to a willing student; some colleges and graduate schools require them of all students in certain degree programs, such as medicine. These internships will allow students to immerse themselves into a professional environment in order to gain experience and real-world skills. These internships may be paid, but often they are unpaid; they may last for a summer, year, or semester, and may or may not lead to college credit at the end. Study abroad internship opportunities are also common in this area, in which students may get the option to travel and live abroad for a while, when they are working and completing their degrees at the same time.
Some internship opportunities exist outside of education or college credit. Others may simply be offered to people who are looking to change careers, but do not have any experience in the field in which they are interested. These internship opportunities are often very low pay, but they might also only exist for a shorter period of time. At the end of the internship, interns may have the opportunity to apply and interview for an actual position at the company. Though it may be difficult to work with very low pay for the duration of the internship, many people find that it is worthwhile to gain the experience, and to become eligible for a better paying position at the end of it.
It is important to keep in mind that internship opportunities exist for people of any age. Some government internships or volunteer opportunities are limited to younger people, but plenty of private companies offer various internships for different types of work. The type of work that may be required in an internship obviously varies in the field; educational internships are fairly common, where interns may work with kids. Research and development internships are common as well, in addition to basic office or clerical work.