The competition for college admissions makes it more difficult to be accepted into some of America’s most reputable colleges and universities.

However, interning allows students to set themselves apart from the crowd. Community college students are often unaware of how impactful an internship can be on their prospects.

Sign posted with "Interns Wanted" Community College Students

Community College students often take on internships during their undergraduate studies to gain experience in their desired field, which can lead to full-time employment after graduation. In addition, many employers view internships as a way to identify and hire future employees.

Internships allow Community College students to learn about a certain field or company and determine if it is the right fit for their career aspirations. It is also a great way to gain work experience and build a network of professional contacts.

If you are a Community College student interested in knowing more about the importance of internships, continue reading below.

What are the Benefits of Interning While in College?

There are many benefits of interning while in college, such as:

Gaining work experience

  • Internships allow Community College students to gain work experience in their desired field.
  • This is valuable because it allows students to learn about the field they are interested in pursuing a job later on.

Networking with Professionals

  • A significant benefit, but often underutilized, of internships, is the ability to interact and network with professionals.
  • As an intern, you receive the luxury of seeing trained professionals in action, which can introduce you to different methods of thinking and working.
  • You also have the opportunity to develop relationships with professionals that can benefit your future job prospects.

Possibility of Paid Internships or College Credit

  • If you are lucky, you may come across a paid internship opportunity. Although these payments are typically low, they nevertheless provide a source of money while you’re studying. Moreover, you may make cash while working in a profession you want to pursue later.
  • Depending on the internship specifics (such as length of the program, responsibilities, and so forth), schools may give students credit for participating as an intern.
  • The scholarship organization must establish a partnership program with your local community college to go over the details of applying for college credit for the internship.

Enhance your Resume

  • The competitiveness of college admission pales compared to that of the job market. Now more than ever, community college students have to depend on their resumes to receive job opportunities in today’s work environment.
  • Through professional internships, community college students can gain an advantage over their counterparts who focus solely on academic achievements and accolades.
  • Similarly, students are sometimes granted a professional Letter of Recommendation that can assist in obtaining job offers.
  • A resume with reputable organizations and professional internships shows future employers that you have the skills and knowledge to do the job. This is especially important if the job is in a related field.

Tips for Finding the Right Internship for You

Find Internships that Align with your Career Goals

This tip may seem foolish, but you would be shocked at the number of students who will jump at an internship opportunity merely because it is offered by a specific company.

Generally, you should only apply to internships aligned with your career goals. If you want to be a journalist, there is no sense in interning at an accounting firm.

A good way to find out if an internship is right for you is by researching the company and/or position and then reaching out to someone who works there. Your internship search should focus on opportunities that contribute to your intended occupation.

Workforce development is critical to becoming a professional, and taking advantage of research opportunities that work on professional development is vital to the intern’s success.

Keep an Open Mind about Summer Internships

I recognize this tip will come across as unpopular, but I am a firm believer in the power of internship opportunities irrespective of when they come across your eyes. Taking summer internships over during the community college semester is beneficial because you can focus on the internship and avoid distractions.

Additionally, summer internships tend to be more relaxed, and you can learn about work-life balance and managing your time.

For example, Cal State LA’s Electrical and Computer Engineering Department (ECE) partnered with Growth Sector, a nonprofit organization focused on developing community college students for the academic intensity of an undergraduate STEM degree path. The 10-week pilot program was fully immersive, with students able to live on campus or remotely.

The key is not to overwork yourself during these periods. I am not asking you to look for Summer internships specifically, but I am saying that if an opportunity arises, don’t hesitate to apply for it.

Internship Program with the Department of Energy (DOE Laboratories)

One interesting internship opportunity is the Community College Internship (CCI) program offered by the United States Department of Energy (DOE).

Students work with a faculty mentor, operate in major research facilities, and conduct research at the school or organization’s host lab.

Official Logo of the United States Department of Energy (DOE)
Official Logo of the United States Department of Energy (DOE)

Community College Internship Program (CCI)

CCI allows community college students to participate in 10-week summer technical training experiences. The first week of the summer tends to focus on the inclusion of all participants.

When the internship begins, the next generation of student research advocates will begin their journey on the search for research experiences that only a handful of school science programs can provide.

The mission of the program is to:

“encourage community college students to enter technical careers relevant to the DOE mission by providing technical training experiences at the DOE laboratories”

Participants collaborate on instrumentation, technology, and computing projects with scientists and engineers. CCI is a sponsored program by the Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

Eligibility for CCI Program

To be eligible for the CCI Program, applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Full-time community college student
  • Completed at least 6 credit hours in coursework related to a Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics (STEM) field.
  • Minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0.
  • 18 years of age or older.
  • United States citizen or proof of permanent residency status

Application requirements for the CCI program include:

  • Submit the student application for interns.
  • Two Letters of Recommendation
  • Unofficial Transcripts from College Institutions

CTSN Internship/Volunteer Opportunities

Are you looking to intern with a brand new, innovative, and ambitious California charity?

Then look no further than the California Transfer Support Network! CTSN offers a wide range of opportunities for community college students seeking to gain field experience.

California Transfer Support Network (CTSN) Calls for Volunteers/Internships from Community College Students
California Transfer Support Network (CTSN) Calls for Volunteers/Internships from Community College Students

Once you complete the program, you will be eligible for a Letter of Recommendation from a federally recognized public charity. Get access to modern resources and contribute to our instrumentation projects.

So what are you waiting for? Apply to be a CTSN Volunteer today!


The objective of this blog post was to inform community college students of the benefits high-quality internships offer.

These include real-world experience, professional networking opportunities with industry experts, and an improved resume – making you more competitive in your college application.

When searching for an internship, students should focus on opportunities that contribute to their intended occupation and have a growth mindset.

Additionally, keeping an open mind about summer internships can be beneficial as they offer more relaxed environments and teach time management skills.