Industry internships and student jobs

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What is an industry internship?

An industry internship (German: “Industriepraktikum”) is usually defined as a limited period of time during which students work full-time (40 hours/week) at a company. Due to this high number of working hours, it can generally not be carried out while studying at the same time, hence it is only suitable for the lecture-free period or while taking a study leave (see below). Please note that your exams also take place during the lecture-free period and will require intense preparation. It is crucial to take this into account when planning an industry internship during this time.

Industry internships Mandatory or voluntary?

The main difference is that with voluntary internships your salary will be “gross” (taxes apply and will be deducted) and in your mandatory internship, it will be not. Moreover, for voluntary internships (extracurricular) the company needs to offer a minimum wage salary which is currently 9.50€ per hour (1st of July 2021) and for mandatory internships (curricular) it can be unpaid or with a salary lower than minimum wage. During a mandatory internship students are covered by their regular student health insurance, whereas conditions might differ for voluntary internships, which means your employer has to pay for social security. For the above mentioned reasons most companies will be interested in hiring interns for mandatory internships. As there is no mandatory industry internship included in the Medical Engineering Master’s program, however, we cannot issue you any certificates confirming that your internship is mandatory. Do not sign any documents stating that your industry internship is mandatory yourself – it is considered fraud and will get you in serious trouble. If you have an accident at work you will not be covered by any health insurance.

You are welcome to carry out voluntary internships if you wish. Please note that in most cases intermediate to advanced German skills are required (B1 or higher). Although we cannot arrange internships for you, we offer you an overview over medical engineering companies in the Erlangen region, which engage in the field of medical image and data processing. Please contact the companies yourself and ask if you can apply as an intern. We highly recommend that you file a petition for a study leave (detailed info here) if your intership covers at least 7 weeks of the lecture period, as your internship period will not count as a regular study semester this way (important for visa extension!).

Student jobs, working students and student assistants – what is the difference?

Unlike industry internships, so-called student jobs, working student jobs or jobs as a student assistant at the university, are carried out part-time.

“Student job” (German: “Studentenjob”) is the most general term, which can refer to any kind of work that you do alongside your studies (including waiting tables etc.). The term “working student” (German: “Werkstudent”) is usually applied to jobs that are somewhat related to the academic background of the student.

Student assistants (German: “Wissenschaftliche Hilfskraft” or short: “Hiwi”) are employed at the university. They help with administrative tasks or research work at a lab, depending on the job profile.

You can find a broad range of jobs for students (related to engineering or not) in our FAU job portal “Stellenwerk” (in German). If you would like to work as a student assistant at the university we recommend to regularly have a look at the job offer section in UnivIS. The InfoCentre section on the website of our Central Institute for Healthcare Engineering (ZiMT)  is a good source of information for job offers in the medtech area. In this facebook group about Medical Engineering in Erlangen founded by Prof. Maier you can also regularly find offers for student job positions related to Medical Engineering. Apart from that, it is always a good idea to look around the notice boards around campus, for many companies advertise internships and student jobs there.

The German National Association for Student Affairs (DSW), also called Deutsches Studentenwerk, has published a video which provides a short summary about financing your studies and jobbing as a student in Germany, also including internships:


How to nail your job interviews

If you need help with your job search, your application documents or preparing a job interview, feel free to refer to our Career Service. One of our alumnas has also produced a video to share some information about which details in your CV will be relevant for a potential future employer, which can be found here.

IMPORTANT: As a Non-EU citizen you are only allowed to work under specific conditions. Please contact your respective Foreigners’ Office if you have any doubts.