Internships

At KCAI we believe an internship is a pivotal experience in a student’s professional development. Some departments require students to have an internship before they graduate, and all KCAI students are encouraged to pursue at least one internship during their time at the college.

Pictured: KCAI ceramics department juniors Brett Ginsburg (center) and Joseph Hutchins (right) work with Andy Brayman (left) during their internship at The Matter Factory. Photo by Tal Wilson ('81 photography).

An internship is a recognized, formal opportunity to acquire real-world experience as a student in a chosen field of study by working alongside professionals in an office or studio setting. Faculty members highly recommend and value these opportunities because they allow the student to gain career-related experience under the supervision of a professional. Students participating in approved internships can earn up to 12 credits hours towards their degree requirement. Download the KCAI Internship Guide.

Types of internships:

Professional internships

These internships require the student to work at least 90 hours at the internship site and be mentored by a full-time professional employed by the site throughout the internship. The internship site must provide the Academic Advising and Career Services office with all the required paperwork before the student can begin the internship.

CASL internships

These are internships where students work at nonprofit organizations and use their creative talents to further the goals of the organization while exploring opportunities for civic engagement and service learning. CASL internships and their prerequisites are part of the 15-hour CASL certificate program.

"For transcript notation" internships

Students are able to do internships that are formally recognized by KCAI and included on the student’s transcript even if the internship is not done for credit. Both CASL and professional internships can be done for transcript notation.

Internship forms and guides

Internship forms and guides may be obtained here.

Internship locations

Students work in a wide aray of art and design environments during internships including at museums, local and national theaters, not-for-profit organizations, local and national magazines and newspapers, productions studios and with practicing studio artists. Notable internship sites include:

American Jazz Museum A. Zahner & Co
Barkley Blacktop Creative
Bazillion Pictures Berkley Child Development Center
Belger Arts Center Bernstein-Rein
BkMk Press BNIM
Boulevard Brewing Co. Byron C. Cohen Gallery
Cara y Cabezas Contemporary Chameleon Arts
Charlotte Street Foundation Coterie Theatre
Design Ranch Digital Labrador
Digital Milk LLC Dream Studios LCC
Folded Pigs Porcelain Garmin International
Grand Arts Hammerpress
H&R Block Artspace Heugh-Edmondson Conservation Services, LLC
Kansas City Artists Coalition Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City Clay Guild Kansas City Star
KCPT/ Public Television 19 Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art
Liquid 9 Luster Bunny
Lyric Opera of Kansas City Mattie Rhodes Art Center & Gallery
MK12 Nathan Fox
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art Paul Mesner Puppets
Payless ShoeSource Peggy Noland
Quixotic Performance Fusion Red Star Studios
Rose Brooks Center RushWade2
Skylab Letterpress Sporting Kansas City
Stone Lion Puppet Theatre STRETCH Sculpture
Take 2 Productions The Livestrong Army of Kansas City
The Matter Factory The Pitch
Toy and Miniature Museum Trinity 3D
VML Vedros & Associates


Internship eligibility

Students are approved to participate in the internship program based on the following requirements:

  • Must have completed the sophomore studio course
  • Must have a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or above
  • A faculty member from the student's department agrees to act as an advisor for the internship
  • The internship site meets the academic advising and career services office criteria
  • The internship has a strong mentorship component
  • The internship credits applied toward the B.F.A. degree do not exceed 12 hours

Transfer students must have completed one semester in a major studio at KCAI before enrolling in an internship for credit.

Students will earn academic credit by working a specified number of hours based on the number of credit hours in which they are enrolled. Students will be required to keep a time log of the hours worked during the internship. Failure to complete the minimum required onsite hours will result in an automatic failing grade.

Number of credit hours

Minimum onsite hours required per semester

    Average onsite hours per week
(semester = 15 weeks)

3

90

6

6

180

12

9

270

18

12

360

24

During the shorter winter and summer intersessions, students are still required to complete the minimum required on-site hours. For instance, students must still be on site for a minimum of 90 hours to receive three credits, despite the four-week duration of the intersession.

Top 10 reasons to intern

Pictured: KCAI student Sarah Hazelwood (center) teaches a class during her internship in the education and interpretation division at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

  1. Companies hire their interns first. In a recent edition of Job Choices magazine, a publication from the National Association of Colleges and Employers, internship programs are listed as the number one place employers look when recruiting new hires. An internship may be the first impression you make on a future employer, so take the job very seriously.
  2. Internships are becoming a standard item on resumés. With more undergraduates doing internships, employers are beginning to expect to see them on the résumés of job applicants.
  3. Internships often turn into multiple job offers, and not just from the place in which you interned. Interns have been referred to other organizations by their internship supervisor.
  4. An internship is a great way to get an inside view of a company, an industry and a career field. It can help you discover if the career you are considering is right for you. Internships provide you with the opportunity to test-drive a career option.
  5. Internships give you the opportunity to grow professionally and academically by promoting the development of personal and professional qualities including communication skills, time management skills, cultural sensitivity and analytical and critical thinking skills. Internships allow you to gain valuable experience and skill sets that will make you more competitive and marketable in the job search.
  6. Internships give you an advantage over other graduates in your field. Interns have the opportunity to get ahead of the competition by showcasing their abilities while completing their degrees.
  7. Internships provide you with recommendations and references, which are valuable as you seek employment. Doing well in an internship is a great way to obtain recommendations from the staff at your site.
  8. Internships provide you with the opportunity to network prior to starting your professional career. Working professionals will tell you that one of the keys to success in any career is your ability to build your career network. An internship gives you a rich field in which to cultivate your networking skills.
  9. Internships present opportunities to work side-by-side with some of the top professionals in your career field.
  10. It is a great experience. You will enjoy the excitement of being part of a professional environment and establishing relationships that can last a lifetime.

Additional Information on Internships

Download frequently asked questions guide

Download internship success stories 

For more information

For more information about internships or if you have questions, contact Rishad Gandhi, Academic Advising and Career Services coordinator, at rgandhi@kcai.edu.