It’s difficult to understate the importance of real-world work experience, especially in a field like business or finance. Your prospective employers will expect you to have more than just a degree when you start your job search. However, if you’re earning your bachelor’s in finance degree online and never setting foot on campus, you might think an internship isn’t an option. Fortunately, if you’re ambitious enough to strive for that hands-on experience, there are plenty of online finance programs that encourage – or even require – students to complete an internship.
The Importance of Completing an Internship
As important as it is to get a college education, today’s job market is saturated with applicants who all have a degree. It will take more than a piece of paper, or even an excellent GPA, to set yourself apart from the crowd. U.S. News & World Report called internships “a near necessity” in the competitive job market today’s new graduates encounter.
Why is an internship so important, especially for online students? For one thing, it’s important for all students to discover how to apply the theories and principles they learn in the classroom to a real workplace environment. To those prospective employers who still may not recognize that an online education can be just as rigorous as a traditional degree program, on-site internship experience can prove that you know just as much as a student who studied on campus.
How Internships Work for Online Degree Programs
Some of the top online bachelor’s in finance degree programs, like Bay State University’s, offer distance learning students the opportunity to include an internship in their college education. Senior business students at Bay State University prepare for the experience through an Internship Seminar course before completing the 120-hour on-site Business Internship experience.
Different schools and degree programs may have different internship processes. While some schools might offer you credit for a virtual internship, many require that you complete your work hours at your employer’s workplace. After all, the point of an internship is to gain real-world, hands-on experience, which is hard to do by working remotely from behind a computer monitor.
However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you will have to travel across the country to complete an internship at a company within commuting distance of your online school’s physical campus. At many schools, the internship can be offered at a location near where you live or work, and you only need to fill out some paperwork and gain approval from the business department chair or another college administrator. Many online colleges even have a career services office that offers support for students seeking out internship opportunities.
Not every online school will facilitate an internship opportunity. However, if gaining the experience to prepare you for future success is important to you, then it’s worth looking for a program that will support your internship aspirations.