Completing an internship is one of the most rewarding things a student can do, as it gives them an idea of how working in their selected fields will be and the kinds of work they will be doing. Students majoring in criminal justice, forensic science, law, psychology, and more could greatly benefit from an investigative internship. Even better, some organizations offer paid investigative internships, which can alleviate some of students’ financial burdens along with providing some great experience. Below are some options for students looking for a paid investigative internship.
Private Investigation Firms
Private investigation firms have been around since the 1800s and are heavily prominent in the investigative world today. Many local private investigation firms may offer paid internships, and it is also a good idea to look at the International Counterintelligence Services (ICS) website to apply year round. Interns will work with an experienced “P.I.” and conduct all kinds of investigations such as mobile device analyses, activity checks, healthcare fraud investigations, workplace issues, and so much more. It is recommended that students check out local agencies to inquire about paid internship opportunities.
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) offers internships to various students including law students, undergraduate students, and computer science students. While many of these are unpaid and allow interns to work alongside federal agents to gain experience with the general work of the DOJ, some such as the Computer Forensics Internship are paid and are targeted towards certain sectors of what the DOJ investigates such as cyber crime and crimes against children.
Everyone interested in investigations dreams of working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), including students. The FBI offers paid internship programs for both undergraduate and graduate students, which can be found on the website. These are normally ten weeks and allow interns to work side-by-side with FBI agents to not only learn new investigative skills but also see how an FBI office operates. The FBI also offers a Collegiate Hiring Initiative for college seniors or recent graduates, which features tasks like assisting agents and completing business analyses.
The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) offers both paid undergraduate internships/co-ops and graduate studies programs. Applicants can choose from five different “categories” when applying, which include Analysis, Clandestine, STEM, Enterprise & Support, and Foreign Language. Students can apply all throughout the year and it is recommended students apply at least 12 months in advance so that the background screening process can complete before the internship or program begins. The CIA’s programs not only offer pay, but also offer federal health benefits, paid time off, a child care center, and more.
A lesser known agency within the U.S. is the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), and luckily for students, it offers paid (and unpaid) 10-week internships as well as a 6-month paid co-op education program. The DIA deals with military intelligence and works on planning and logistics for intelligence operations during both peacetime and battle. Most internships for the DIA are located in Washington, D.C., although there are several locations throughout the U.S.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) offers the National HS-STEM Summer Internship Program, which is a paid 10-week internship to both undergraduate and graduate students. This internship program is geared towards prospective scientists and engineers who have hopes to work at a national laboratory or similar research facilities. Studying at any of these facilities provides students with invaluable research experience that they will undoubtedly use throughout their careers. Undergraduate students get a stipend of $600 a week and graduate students get a stipend of $700 per week.
The National Security Agency (NSA) offers paid internships to students from high school up to doctoral level. Internship programs include computer science and computer engineering programs, mechanical engineering programs, mathematics programs, political science and international affairs programs, criminal justice programs, and more. The NSA offers a competitive salary depending on the program and level as well as paid time off and subsidized housing/transportation (if applicable).
Perhaps one of the most intriguing investigative internships students can apply for is one through INTERPOL. INTERPOL is one of the most sophisticated law enforcement organizations in the world and investigates human trafficking, cybercrime, war crimes, money laundering, terrorism, and much more. Most internships are located in Lyons, France while others are located at other duty stations, which may include the U.S. location in Washington, D.C. when available. INTERPOL pays interns approximately $650 per month.
Some local or national news outlets may offer paid internships that can provide interns with investigative journalism experience. Reading and writing articles and other forms of media can give interns a lot of insight into investigative techniques and real-life investigations. This type of internship is great for students who are interested in investigations but might not want to actually conduct the investigations. For example, the CNN Investigative Unit of WarnerMedia normally offers seasonal internships in which interns get to shadow and assist editorial staff as well as interact with sources and help write and produce investigative stories. Students can check for internships with this unit on WarnerMedia’s website, or contact your local news outlet and inquire if they offer paid internships.
Just like your local news outlets, your local police station may be looking for interns, and some of these opportunities may be paid, so it is worth calling to find out. Parole and probation agencies as well as district attorney offices or public defender offices may also have opportunities. Oftentimes, organizations that are not accepting paid interns may know of a different agency or organization that is.
You may be able to find investigative internships at general job search sites like Indeed.com, but there are also various websites geared towards law enforcement jobs. For example, GoLawEnforcement prides itself on being the largest online law enforcement job board and lists positions for job seekers in every state, and this includes some internships. Many of the sites you come across may link you to others as well, so be sure to dig hard to find the paid investigative internship that is right for you.