The different types of online internships include virtual internships, year-round internships, and hybrid internships that require initial training at an office location before interns complete the rest of their work experience online. Just as with traditional student internships, online internships can be in a variety of degree major areas such as journalism, web development, and marketing. The Internet makes these career development opportunities available to students who may otherwise have limited access to internships due to geographic location. Online internships can also provide valuable work experience for students whose school degree programs offer few choices for other kinds of internships.
Virtual internships offer students the option to log in and complete their internship tasks from any location with an Internet connection. This arrangement may be structured or more open-ended depending on the company offering the internship. Interns may have a strict weekly schedule of tasks or they may have options for creating and tracking their own projects under the supervision of a company official. This type of online internship may entail communication via email, chat, video conferencing, or periodic phone calls. Virtual internships can be arranged as summer internships, although many students opt for them during the regular school year as well.
Year-round internships often have similar arrangements as virtual internships with a few differences in scheduling. These options for online internships usually last longer than many standard virtual internships. Some year-round internships may last a calendar year, and interns who perform well are often asked to return for a second internship year with added work responsibilities. Year-round internships are also not limited to students in their final years of college, as motivated second- and third-year students may also be invited to apply for them.
Online internships can also be classified as hybrid programs when company officials prefer some level of face-to-face contact with virtual interns. Some of these internships may require aspiring interns to travel to the nearest company office for an interview. Accepted interns may also need to spend one or two weeks at the office learning their responsibilities and becoming familiar with the internship's expectations. Once they finish this training period, they are then able to finish the internship online from their homes or college campuses.
Common duties in online internships include basic website updates, social media postings, and Internet research. Students studying web development may also get to practice creating and updating company web pages. Online interns can also gain skills in areas such as online marketing strategies and multimedia web design.