How to get Paid for an Internship

intern taking photo of her paycheck

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There's no substitute for hands-on experience. Students can study the fashion industry, the IT industry, or any other field of interest for four years and leave college with little or no practical experience at all. This is why nearly every decent-sized college or university has a full-time, fully staffed internship program connecting interns to employers. Experience is great, but experience meshed with money is even better. Paid internships offer students a way to gain relevant knowledge and the skills required to succeed in a specific career field while making some money through an hourly wage, weekly salary, or stipend over the course of the internship.

More Companies are Hiring Interns

The number of paid internships being offered by employers is on the rise at schools across America. Employers say this is due to the high amount of lawsuits regarding interns being used to performing menial chores (like taking out the trash) that have been filed over the past few years. Companies are keeping a watchful eye on these lawsuits, and they want to protect themselves. Paying their interns seems like the first step in doing the right thing and taking the responsibility to compensate someone (no matter how young and inexperienced) for tasks performed.

What Companies Offer Paid Internships?

The majority of Fortune 500 companies pay their interns, in large part because they have the cash flow to do so. They also understand the value of training someone who may turn out to be a beneficial employee once they graduate from college. The private sector (and even non-profits and solo practitioners) also offers several paid internships. In addition, large employers, like Viacom and Warner Brothers, have internship programs and are paying their interns. Other industries that commonly pay interns include banking, government, accounting, fashion, advertising, public relations, and IT.

What Do Interns Typically Get Paid?

The National Association of Colleges & Employers (NACE) reported that the average hourly wage for undergraduate interns rose from $16.35 in 2014 to $18.06 in 2017. With paid internships, students are typically paid weekly, bi-weekly, monthly or provided a stipend. NACE also reported in May 2017 that they anticipated employers hiring 3.4% more interns in 2017 than in the previous year.

What Industries Typically Offer the Highest Internship Payment?

NACE has also reported that (not surprisingly) the highest internship salaries were in the fields of computer science and engineering and (sadly) the lowest paying internships were being offered to education, liberal arts, and social science majors.

Paid vs Unpaid Internships

When evaluating which internships to pursue, students almost always factor in whether or not the internship is paid or for experience only. When given the choice between a paid internship and an unpaid internship, students are going to think about the experience offered, if the internship will afford them more opportunity to be hired after graduation, and payment. They will also contemplate which opportunity will add the most value to their resume and increase their professional skill set.

How to Find Paid Internships

To find paid internships, visit your career center. In addition, visit,,,, and of course,