The state of internships in Virginia

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For many college students, getting an internship out-of-state (or even city) can be too difficult. High rent and transportation are just a few of the expenses that add up, and most of the time an internship salary won’t cover living expenses. It’s also tough being away from most people you know, and it’s a different sense of independence than the type of independence from living in your college town.

If you live in Virginia and are looking to intern in-state, you have plenty of options available. Grand Canyon University’s recent analysis determined which cities were the best cities for internships across the country, including Washington D.C., Richmond, and Virginia Beach. They were able to find the most common type of industry, the amount of paid internships, and the average rating of internships in each of these cities.

As Virginians, we’re fortunate to live so close to Washington D.C. The area gives a lot of opportunities not only as the nation’s capital, but also as a huge city with an even bigger economy. You would think that the majority of internships in D.C. would be in politics, but that’s actually incorrect. According to the study, D.C. is made up of mostly marketing internships — 42% to be exact. D.C. offers plenty of other internship types as well, but if you’re looking into marketing, the District would be a great place to start looking. In addition to that, 41% of positions in the city are paid, so there’s a decent-sized pool of paid opportunities to look into as well.

Richmond is also made up of mostly business internships — specifically accounting ones. Accounting internships make up over a quarter of internships there. If you’d like to learn more about accounting, Richmond may have a lot to offer. Also, close to half of all internships in Richmond are paid. Like D.C., this gives an added bonus to learning the ropes and workplace etiquette of accounting firms alike.

The last city included in the study is Virginia Beach. According to their findings, engineering internships make up the largest portion of positions in Virginia Beach, however, unlike Washington D.C. and Richmond, engineering only takes up 21% of all positions. If you aren’t interested in engineering, there should still be other positions open, whether it be in marketing, accounting, design, or whatever your interest may be. The only downside to working at an internship in Virginia Beach is that most (79%) of the positions there are not paid. You may get lucky and find a position that pays but don’t be surprised if it takes a little deeper digging into the internship market.

Obtaining an internship during college (or even high school) can provide a lot of value to your future job search. Even if it’s an unpaid position, the experience you’ll gain from working in a professional environment can help you get a boost over other qualified job seekers in your field. If you do plan to do an internship out of state, don’t completely skip over the opportunities given in Virginia. You may be surprised what you can find in your home town or in a city nearby. The sooner you start searching, the better! Best of luck!


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