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Experiential learning programs, such as Internships, Externships, Manager-in-Training, and Shadowing opportunities provide real world experience for you to explore a particular career.

Experiential learning builds confidence by providing you with hands-on training for a true understanding of front-line business dealings and dynamics. Successful spa and wellness management requires mastering a challenging range of talents, including; "hard skills" such as strategic and financial planning; and "soft skills" such as effective leadership and communication.

Combining formal education and practical training with on-the-job experience, is the ideal scenario in building these skill sets.

Internships are arrangements in which college students and career changers lend their talents to companies in return for an opportunity to develop business skills, learn about a new industry, and gain exposure to the work environment (, 2015). Internships involve working in a chosen career field during a limited time frame and typically for course credit, although not always. Whether paid or unpaid, an internship position is often quite beneficial to the intern and the employer.

Externships or Shadowing are opportunities for an individual to engage in practice based learning by actively participating in a field of interest. It is very similar to an internship, but the main difference is that externships tend to be shorter in duration, usually only a few days or a couple weeks and usually involve job shadowing rather than hands-on experiences. These opportunities provide a 'glimpse' into a career path and they are generally unpaid and rarely offer academic credit.

Manager-in-Training (MIT) programs are designed to impart the knowledge and experience required to improve the trainee's effectiveness in leadership, supervisory and management skillsets. MITs are usually hired as managers serving under an assistant manager and undergo a probationary period to receive the necessary on-the-job training prior to an offer for a permanent management position.

Internship testimonials

"Having the ability to utilize spa internships thru Florida Gulf Coast University has brought us energetic talent with a new set of eyes and ears, who can offer a fresh perspective of our spa. And if all goes well, it will continue to provide us with future employees after graduation, just as it has in the past."
- Bryan Gezella, Internship Host, Corporate Director of Fitness & Spa Services, Stock Development / The Players Club & Spa
"The internship program is an excellent opportunity to expose students to real world situations, challenges, responsibilities, and rewards. Many of our Spa interns have moved on to become full time employees, trainers and supervisors. Internship is also an ideal way to determine if a student is on the right career track, with opportunities to explore a variety of positions and duties in all aspects of the Spa. The interns get to see that there is a lot more to running a spa than economics class."
- Michelle Kelthy, Spa Director, The Ritz-Carlton, Naples
"My internship has exposed me to daily interactions and events that have become a life-long body of experiences from which I learned about people, management, cultures, roles, responsibilities, and myself."
- Margot Mangiarotti

Further internship resources

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