An internship is a full-time or part-time work experience that is related to your area of study. For example if you will be a Poultry Science major, you might work for a poultry integrator company, learning how the business operates, and interacting with poultry growers to learn how to raise birds. If you will be a Horticultural Science major, you might work at a plant nursery operation where you learn how to care for plants and run a greenhouse or nursery. Internships can be paid or unpaid. However, agricultural internships are traditionally paid. It should be noted also that the federal government has tightened up standards for companies using students for unpaid labor. For more information on what standards a company must meet to offer an unpaid internship, check out the Department of Labor’s guidelines on internships under the Fair Labor and Standards Act.
Internships fall into two broad categories: career exploration and disciplinary. The first are typically for students with little background in their major yet. If the company internship has few or no requirements (i.e. years of experience, necessary skills, or certifications), then the internship likely is a career exploration internship. If the internship is typically for students within a year or two of graduation or requires specific skills or certifications, then it is likely a disciplinary internship. In these internships the student will gain the skills and experience for specific careers in their majors and be job-ready upon graduation.