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Home  > Article

Experience may not be the only thing interns are earning

By Jenna Lebel

Internships provide students with the opportunity to explore a field of interest in a real-world environment. But experience in the working world may not be the only thing these student interns are earning.

Results from an Experience survey of over fifty employers show that in addition to the experience gained, 48% of interns receive some type of payment for their work. The payment method varies, with 44% of employers paying their interns on an hourly basis and 4% paying them one lump sum for a semester's (or summer's) worth of work.? ???

Determining a rate to pay interns can be a problem for employers. BBN Technologies (Cambridge, MA) uses a system where interns' rates are determined on education level and program of study. Interns at American Mortgage & Investment Services, Inc. (Silver Springs, MD) receive hourly rates based on their department and potential.

Students are also compensated in other ways. Twenty-one percent of employers reported that the interns receive college credit for their work as their form of compensation.

Other employers offer their interns no compensation in the traditional sense. Instead, these employers (15%) feel that the experience their interns gain in a working environment is their reward.

A few employers work out an agreement with their interns to provide a special type of compensation. Brian Steines of Wilderness Inquiry (Minneapolis, MN) reported that their interns are rewarded by the experience they gain and the college credit they receive. However, he indicated other forms of compensation are available--including free housing, pro-deal access, and priority for summer paid positions.

According to Miray Ramy of Eureka Enrichment & Learning Center Inc. (San Juan, PA), "We provide interns with housing accommodations, a car and generous leisure time for island travel."?Interns at Pereira Marketing Group, Inc. (White Plains, NY) and Aflac (Salisbury, MD) are able to get college credit and some form of payment as they work off commission. ???

Erin Green of The Center for American Progress said, "Depending on the student's situation, we may offer a weekly stipend." Other employers offer stipends as well. According to Jane Lewis, The City of Everett (Everett, WA) offers interns a $500 stipend for the duration of the internship (usually consisting of 400 hours worth of work). Interns at Winton Woods Community Coalition (Greenhills, OH) receive weekly stipends based on available grant funding.

So, while students pursuing an internship are primarily looking to gain experience, they may find something else: monetary compensation, or college credits, to off-set costs of higher education.

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