Graduates who complete internships receive higher salaries

While internships are not part of a student’s official education, they can play a vital role in landing a student a job after graduation, according to a new study.

In 2004, U graduates who completed an internship were employed full-time at higher rates and earned more money than graduates who did not complete an internship, according to report by the Utah Foundation.

Stan Inman, director of Career Services, said internships are one of the top ways employers find new hires.

“It just makes sense for them to have the opportunity to observe and experience someone before making a long-term commitment,” he said. “Internships are an opportunity for the student to show (his or her) skills and for the employers to see if it is a good fit.”

Forty-two percent of U graduates working full-time who did not complete an internship earned yearly salaries above $30,000. That percentage rises drastically to 69 percent for those that completed internships.

Ryan Yoshida, who graduated in electrical engineering last May, found an internship with Hill Air Force base at the U’s career fair.

“The internship got me into a group at Hill, and by working there through the summer and part time during the school year, made the transition into full-time work a whole lot easier.”

On the other hand, graduates who did not complete an internship chose to further their education at a slightly higher rate than graduates who interned with 29 percent and 28 percent, respectively.

Internships also have an effect on how graduates view Utah’s job market. Graduates who had internship opportunities rated Utah’s overall job opportunities lower than graduates who did not have internships.

This caused a lower state retention rate of U graduates who interned during school.

“The implication is that many of the interning graduates left the state for better job opportunities,” according to the study. “Perhaps their internship experiences made these students more competitive for out-of-state jobs.”

In 2004, only 14 percent of graduates who stayed in Utah earned more than $50,000, while that number more than doubled to 34 percent for graduates that left, according to a September 2005 Utah Foundation report.

Statewide, 39 percent of 2004 graduates said they had completed internships, with Westminster College leading the way, placing 70 percent of its graduates into some type of program. Inman said students interested in getting an internship may visit Career Services.

“It is one of our main focuses to help students plan and find internships,” he said. “We even have a program in the center that allows students to receive credit for learning in the workplace.”

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