Guidelines

The purpose of CCA's Graphic Design internship program is to provide level 4 (or higher) students with a grounded, real-world experience in a professional design environment under the supervision of an experienced designer.

Successful careers commonly begin with an internship that relates to a student's career path.

Employers look at whether a prospective student has interned, and this often can be a deciding factor in who is offered the job.

Frequently Asked Questions

Contact the internship coordinator to set up a one-on-one in-person consultation about your internship.

Why do an internship?
  • Expand your educational experience into the professional world of design.
  • Increases your chances of securing a professional position in your chosen field.
  • Contribute to a broad understanding of the values, skills, and commitments necessary for achieving success within the discipline of design.
How will an internship benefit me?

An internship expands your educational experience into the professional world of design, increasing your chances of securing a professional position in your chosen field. It also contributes to a broad understanding of the values, skills, and commitment that CCA students bring to the discipline of design.

While the role of an intern is humble in nature, each student is exposed to the daily processes involved in running a design firm:

  • Project management
  • Client relations
  • Collaboration with photographers, illustrators, and writers
  • Design presentation
  • Production of print, motions, and/or web-based graphics
  • Vendor selection and coordination
When should I do an internship?

Students should try to gain professional work experience early and often, beyond the requirement. The more students understand the role of the designer in the work environment, the more they can leverage their learning at CCA. This may mean doing internships beyond the one required for graduation. 

What are the requirements?

CCA’s Graphic Design internship program is only open to students currently enrolled at California College of the Arts. To be eligible, students must have successfully completed all required Level 3 courses at CCA. Students who intern before that they complete their required Level 3 courses may not use the experience for credit.

After securing an intern position at an approved internship site, students must log a minimum of 225 hours at the site. The internship counts for three credits and is generally completed during the summer between junior and senior year.

Compensation is a mandatory requirement of our internship program. Unpaid internships devalue the contributions of our students; beyond school, unpaid work is not a sustainable model for professional graphic designers. We require our students be paid at least the regional minimum wage.

We discourage our students from working at sites that are either unwilling or unable to provide adequate monetary compensation.

How do I get my internship site approved?

Students perform their own internship search using a variety of resources: industry websites and job boards, program suggestions, Career Development resources (Handshake Job Board, Weekly Picks, and Career Expo); networking, and personal contacts. Site approval is based upon the quality of learning experience the internship site will provide as well as the kind of work students will be asked to produce. Approval is granted on a case-by-case basis and is not guaranteed.

Prior to starting work, students must obtain site approval from the program’s Internship Coordinator; early verification of the internship site is critical to obtaining credit for the internship, especially if the site is located outside of the United States.

To receive credit for internships located outside of the United States, obtaining site approval from the Internship Coordinator is required. International students must contact CCA's ISAP for instructions and requirements related to employment in the United States and abroad.

Any site, payment arrangement, or type of experience that falls outside of the requirements listed above must be approved by an internship coordinator prior to the start of any work.

Important: You must use your cca.edu email address to request access the proprietary list of recommended internship sites. If your instructor has yet to provide you with the direct link, you may contact the Internship Coordinator to request the link be sent to you. Alternatively, contact the Graphic Design Program Manager, Vikki Del Rosario, on the San Francisco campus at velrosario@cca.edu or 415.703.9563.

This list is made available to CCA Graphic Design students only, and should never be shared with any persons -- within Graphic Design or not. Instead, have the student contact either of the above persons to request access.

How do I start the internship process?

To initiate the internship process, students must first meet with their Academic Advisor, followed by meeting with the Internship Coordinator, early in the spring or fall semester, prior to starting their internship search.

How do I register for the internship requirement?

During Priority Registration, prior to starting the internship, students will register in WebAdvisor for the Graphic Design Internship Placeholder (GRAPH 398-01).

During the Add/Drop period; students who registered for the Internship Placeholder (GRAPH 398) and who have a learning agreement on file, will be registered by Student Records in the internship course (GRAPH 398-02); check your schedule during Add/Drop for these changes.

Registration in the Internship course GRAPH 398-02 is not available for online registration in WebAdvisor. Questions about this should be directed to the Internship Coordinator.

Students who have registered for the Internship Placeholder but do not have a Learning Agreement on file, will be dropped from the Internship Placeholder and will not be registered for the internship course.

Students who wish to receive credit for an internship they have just completed, but have not gone through the process correctly, must contact the Internship Coordinator as soon as possible.

Important: A $200 late fee may be charged for adding the internship course after the Add/Drop deadline.

Required documentation pre-internship

After an internship offer is made, students work with their site supervisor to complete the Learning Agreement; negotiating the terms, learning objectives, and expectations of the internship.

To receive internship credit, the Learning Agreement must be submitted to the Internship Coordinator for site approval, before starting the internship.

International students must fill out the CPT form and schedule a meeting with CCA's ISAP Office, before work authorization can be granted.

Requirements during and post-internship

Midpoint Check-In

A quick check-in by email or phone will be conducted by a CCA representative with both the student and the internship supervisor, to ensure the internship is going as expected.

Post-Internship

Students will track their internship hours on the Internship Hours Log that they will turn into the internship coordinator after the internship is completed. Students will also submit an Internship Reflection document and submit it to the internship coordinator. After the student submits the Internship Hours Log to the Internship Coordinator, the program will send the supervisor and student a digital evaluation form; submission of all these forms is required for successful completion of the internship course. An email confirmation will be sent to the student’s CCA email address confirming the evaluation has been sent and also when the completed evaluation is received by CCA.

If the Employer Evaluation is not received, the student is responsible for following up with the employer to ensure its completion before the deadline.

Contact the Internship Coordinator with questions about the process.