The Internship Course
ID majors at Texas State must complete a required “for credit” internship course, which is considered their Capstone course, as part of their curriculum in the summer between their junior and senior year, or at the end of their senior year. The ID 4301 Internship course has the following prerequisites: ENG 1310 and 1320, COMM 1310, MATH 1315 or 1319, and ALL ID 3000 level courses. It is offered in summer only and requires 150 hours of on-the-job training to be accomplished in either the five week long period of Summer I or Summer II, so no other courses may be taken with it. All information needed to complete the course can be found in the Internship Manual
and the course syllabus. The syllabus is made available to enrolled students on their TRACS university course site. Click here to view the Texas State Interior Design Internship Manual.
Internship sites must be approved by the Program Coordinator. If in Texas, at least one designer in the firm with supervisory responsibilities must be registered. The Interior Design Program maintains a current list of approved internship sites by area, regional, national, and international locations. However, choices are not limited to this list if the site meets program requirements. Interior design or architecture firms are welcome to contact the Program Coordinator to be included on the list. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org
. Click here to view the 2011 Internship Site Directory
Policy Statement on Voluntary Student Internships
The following policy was formulated in order to
- inform potential employers and the general public of the program’s endorsed rules of engagement for the fair use of a design student’s time and resources, and
- protect students from employment arrangements in which the terms are open-ended or unclear.
The Interior Design Program at Texas State University firmly endorses professional experience as an irreplaceable part of the education of its majors. The Program offers a formal curricular internship experience in its required capstone course, ID 4301 Interior Design Internship. This is a 3 credit hour class that the student pays to take. It is writing-intensive (WI) and is conducted by both the academic instructor at the university level and an appropriately qualified supervisor on the professional host site. The experiences and responsibilities of the internship are set forth in a contractual Job Description form found in the Internship Manual, agreed upon by the student and supervisor, and subject to approval by the academic representative.
Since the internship is an academic requirement for credit, the host firm then becomes the ID Program’s partner by providing the intern with as rich and complete a professional experience as possible. Consequently, the firm is acting in the role of mentor and teacher in addition to conducting its business. The host firm is bound by the program’s requirements so does not have free rein over all of the student’s time or nature of his or her employment activities. Therefore, the program does not stipulate if the intern should be paid or unpaid, and allows compensation to be arranged between the supervisor and the intern. (*See below for the U. S. Department of Labor’s “Test for Unpaid Interns.”)
Voluntary, “not-for-credit” methods of gaining professional exposure and experience are also highly encouraged by the program, and may include part-time paid employment in a design firm, engaging in organizational activities at both student and professional levels, attending design conferences and field trips, and job shadowing. Occasionally, a design firm, other commercial entity, or private citizen may offer experience that does not fit any of the above descriptions. In these situations apart from endorsed program activities, the program is not responsible for the terms and outcomes of its students providing apprentice-level services within the profession or to the public. It is entirely up to the student to understand and clarify all terms of engagement before entering such an agreement to avoid later conflicts under these circumstances.
*The following is an excerpt from the U. S. Department of Labor’s Fact Sheet #71 titled “The Test for Unpaid Interns:”
“There are some circumstances under which individuals who participate in ‘for-profit’ private sector internships or training programs may do so without compensation. The Supreme Court has held that the term ‘suffer or permit to work’ cannot be interpreted so as to make a person whose work serves only his or her own interest an employee of another who provides aid or instruction. This may apply to interns who receive training for their own educational benefit if the training meets certain criteria. The determination of whether an internship or training program meets this exclusion depends upon all of the facts and circumstances of each such program.
The following six criteria must be applied when making this determination:
1. The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training that would be given in an educational environment;
2. The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern;
3. The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff;
4. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded;
5. The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and
6. The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.”
In general, official internships may be paid or unpaid. However, interns may certainly, and often should, be paid or reimbursed for services when warranted. This is most applicable when the student consistently performs tasks that typically are hired out, such as dropping off and picking up deliveries in a personal vehicle, extensive work on CAD or BIM documents, creating marketing materials on the computer, etc. Payment may take other forms besides monetary, such as buying lunches and providing a vehicle account.
Visit the website www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs71.htm to view the UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR: Wage and Hour Division’s Fact Sheet #71: Internship Programs Under The Fair Labor Standards Act (4/10) in its entirety.