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Internship Requirements

Only College of the Canyons students may apply to an internship.

As a result, there are four core requirements the student, the employer and the Internship Office must follow:

  • Potential interns must register as COC students, and register in a Cooperative Work Experience Education course (CWE-186/188).
  • Employers must commit to providing minimum number of hours per registered unit:
Units Enrolled CWE-186 Unpaid Internship CWE-188 Paid Internship
1 60 hours 75 hours
2 120 hours 150 hours
3 180 hours 225 hours
4 240 hours 300 hours
  • Students must complete a workplace project that not only provides the opportunity to demonstrate a skill, but to gain a meaningful work experience through "mentoring" by the employer.
  • Verification of completed hours by time sheet.

If you are able to meet all of the Education Code requirements outlined, then an intern from College of the Canyons is feasible for your organization. The next step is to determine if your organization will host a paid or unpaid internship. Here is what you need to know.


Before posting an unpaid internship, make sure your company is positioned to follow the Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA) and to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) criteria and obligations for hiring an unpaid intern.

  • Unless the internship experience passes the seven labor law rules*, the employer must pay interns at least the minimum wage.
  • Make sure unpaid interns aren't replacing the void left from laid-off employees and don't hinder opportunities for prospective employees. The federal Fair Labor Standards Act bans both practices.
  • Unpaid interns are protected by discrimination and harassment laws.
  • Unpaid interns must be protected by Workers Compensation. College of the Canyons provides WC benefits for unpaid interns upon satisfied registration in CWE-186. It's important for you, the employer, to notify the internship office when you select an intern to ensure coverage.
  • According to the Fair Labor Standards Act, the following test applies to Unpaid Interns and Students:

    Courts have used the primary beneficiary test to determine whether an intern or student is, in fact, an employee under the FLSA.2 In short, this test allows courts to examine the economic reality of the intern-employer relationship to determine which party is the primary beneficiary of the relationship. Courts have identified the following seven factors as part of the test:

    1. The extent to which the intern and the employer clearly understand that there is no expectation of compensation. Any promise of compensation, express or implied, suggests that the intern is an employee and vice versa.
    2. The extent to which the internship provides training that would be similar to that which would be given in an educational environment, including the clinical and other hands-on training provided by educational institutions.
    3. The extent to which the internship is tied to the interns formal education program by integrated coursework or the receipt of academic credit.
    4. The extent to which the internship accommodates the interns academic commitments by corresponding to the academic calendar.
    5. The extent to which the internships duration is limited to the period in which the internship provides the intern with beneficial learning.
    6. The extent to which the interns work complements, rather than displaces, the work of paid employees while providing significant educational benefits to the intern.
    7. The extent to which the intern and the employer understand that the internship is conducted without entitlement to a paid job at the conclusion of the internship.

    For more details and citations, please review this "Fact Sheet #71" published January 2018 by the U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division.


Unpaid interns are heavily regulated. A simple solution to avoiding the restrictions surrounding an unpaid intern is to use an intern, but pay them even if at minimum wage. Paid interns are more likely to feel more appreciated and, therefore be more productive. Paid interns are also more likely to be enthusiastic in supporting and promoting the business or organization after the internship is over.

The State of California has determined that an intern would be considered an employee of the company and would not be able to be paid via 1099.