Paid internships not only provide the much-needed work experience that will make your resume shine, but they can also boost your bank account. They aren't all the same, however. Since employers, under U.S. law, are not required to pay interns any more than the minimum wage and don't even have to pay students who receive college credit or get the training they would otherwise receive in a classroom, you may be able to earn more working in the fast food industry. Internships also vary on the amount of training they provide.
What You Need to Know About Paid Internships
In addition to differences in pay and training, some internships provide better benefits to participants than others do. Employers may offer free housing or only relocation assistance, or interns may be entirely on their own when it comes to financing a move to a new city. Fringe benefits can range from outrageously generous to meager. Interns in some companies, especially those in the IT industry, receive free food and access to fitness centers at work.
*Important: Your major does not limit your options when it comes to choosing an industry in which to find a paid internship. Different industries hire interns to work in a variety of roles.
For example, companies in the entertainment, financial and banking, and consumer products industries all hire interns who have expertise in computer science and engineering, while the IT industry has internships for those studying business. Liberal arts majors, as well, can find opportunities in a variety of industries. Requirements differ by the employer. Some hire only students who are currently enrolled in college or graduate school while others also hire recent graduates. Some may stipulate a particular G.P.A.
(grade point average).
Internship pay typically varies by industry. For example, interns in the IT field can earn around $41 an hour, but those working in the Entertainment industry, even at the highest paying internships, may make as little as $10 an hour.
*Tip: If you aren't set on a future career in a particular industry, keep your options open. An internship not only will give you experience in a career field but also a taste of what it's like to work in an industry.
Here are the top paid internships in four prominent industries:
Mass Media and Entertainment
Banking and Finance
They are included on this list not only because they pay well, according to data from Glassdoor.com, but also because the employers give interns responsibilities that mirror actual jobs with these companies. They afford them the opportunity to work on real-world projects while receiving valuable supervision from mentors, coworkers, and managers. Reviews from current and past interns published on Glassdoor.com were also mostly positive.
IT (including Internet, Software, Hardware, Cloud Computing, and eCommerce)
The IT industry had the highest paying internships and offered the most perks like free food, a free gym, and relocation assistance.
LinkedIn internships are available in technical, business, and creative roles.
Average Hourly Salary*: $41
Who Can Apply: Bachelor's and Masters-level students returning to an educational program after the program ends
Majors: LinkedIn has internship opportunities for engineering, computer science, psychology, anthropology, social science, marketing, and communicationstudents to name just a few.
Benefits: regular employee benefits; mentorship; relocation assistance
Locations: Interns work at LinkedIn's Silicon Valley headquarters or one of the company's other offices in the U.S. or around the world
More Information: LinkedIn Student Careers
What Do Interns Say About It?* Interns enjoy company benefits like free food and a gym. They also like having events geared toward them such as trips and a speaker series. Some complain there is a lack of communication about expectations and problems achieving work-life balance.
Facebook offers a variety of paid internships for students and graduates. From the company’s website: interns "contribute to real-world projects in their first week.” Other internship programs at the company include Facebook University and Facebook LATAM. Facebook University is an eight-week program for students from underrepresented communities. Facebook LATAM, the company's Latin America internship program, is based in Argentina and Brazil.
Average Hourly Salary*: $22
Who Can Apply? Some internships require a completed degree (bachelor’s, master’s, or Ph.D. and others require a degree in progress and may specify a graduation date)
Majors: Students who are pursuing doctorates in Industrial/Organization Psychology and Organizational Behavior; an MBA or undergraduate degree in business; undergraduate and graduate degrees in marketing, economics, statistics, computer science, mathematics, operations research, engineering, physics, and music can apply for internships at Facebook.
Locations: All Facebook locations in the U.S. and around the world
Benefits: regular employee benefits; one-on-one mentorship; housing assistance; consideration for permanent positions.
More Information: Facebook.com Careers
What Do Interns Say About It?* Most interns cite benefits and perks as the biggest pros of working at Facebook. They also enjoy the impact of their work and their colleagues. Some say it is difficult to maintain work/life balance and that expectations are too high for all workers, including interns.
VMWare creates software for companies. Interns get experience working on product development.
Average Hourly Salary*: $39
Who Can Apply? Internships are available for students pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees
Majors: Those working toward degrees in computer science, engineering, business administration, sales, finance, accounting, economics, law, and human resources will find suitable internships.
Locations: All VMWare locations in the U.S. and around the world
Benefits: one-on-one mentoring; networking events; speaker series
More Information: VMWare Careers
What Do Interns Say About It?* Interns praise the great work culture, physical environment, flexibility in work schedule, and interesting work. Some voice dissatisfaction with a lack of supervision and free food that is available at other tech companies.
Apple offers summer internships, as well as co-ops during the school year.
Average Hourly Salary*: $36
Who Can Apply? Applicants must be currently pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree and planning to return to school after completing the internship.
Majors: Internships are available for students majoring in computer science, electrical engineering, and related subjects.
Locations: Work at the company’s Cupertino, California location and around the world.
Benefits: Paid housing
More Information: Jobs for Interns, Undergraduates, Grads
What Do Interns Say About It?* Interns praise the ability to work on projects independently, innovative culture, and abundant resources. Some complain about problems with work/life balance, and many say secrecy limits interaction with others.
Mass Media and Entertainment
In contrast to the IT industry, the mass media and entertainment industries have the lowest pay for internships, compared to the others covered here. Employers also tend not to be as generous with benefits.
Thomson Reuters provides business, political, and general news. Internships are available in several disciplines including business and finance, technology, journalism, and sales.
Average Hourly Salary*: $20
Who Can Apply? Applicants must be working toward a degree
Majors: There are internship opportunities for students majoring in journalism, communication, sales, finance, accounting, computer science, and engineering.
Locations: Interns work in Thomson Reuters offices around the world.
More Information: Thomson Reuters Careers
What Do Interns Say About It?* Interns like the fast-paced work environment, exciting projects, environment, and mentors. Some do not like working in a cubicle all day and not having the opportunity to interact with other departments.
Disney is a humongous company that owns theme parks and resorts, television networks, movie studios, and retail stores. The company offers a variety of internships opportunities in their many lines of business. The Professional Internship (PI) program allows students to work in positions related to their college major at one of the Disney parks and resorts or a Disney-owned company like ABC, Marvel, ESPN, The Walt Disney Studio, or LucasFilm.
Average Hourly Salary: $18
Who Can Apply? Applicants to the Professional Internship Program must be enrolled in college or graduate school or must have graduated no more than six months ago.
Majors: Students in a variety of majors may apply for the DCP. Each professional internship has different requirements, but there are opportunities for hospitality, theater, animal science, engineering, marketing, illustration, animation, photography, graphic design, finance, accounting, communication, journalism, and biology majors, as well as those engaged in other areas of study. Culinary internships are also available.
Locations: Internships are in Florida, California, New York, Connecticut, and abroad.
Benefits: There is limited rental housing for professional interns. Disney interns may attend workshops and seminars. They get free park admission and discounts on resorts, dining, and merchandise.
More Information: Disney Internships & Programs Blog
What Do Interns Say About It?* Professional interns praise helpful and supportive mentors and good networking opportunities. Some complain about difficulty with work/life balance.
Warner Bros. is involved in all areas of entertainment and promises their interns will "gain knowledge about the industry from the inside while receiving hands-on experience.”
Average Hourly Salary*: $14
Who Can Apply? Interns must be enrolled in college or graduate school.
Majors: According to Warner Bros., rapidly growing areas are video games and digital and new media, but there are also openings for finance and accounting, marketing, public relations, communication, business administration, law, animation, and film studies majors.
Locations: Internships are in the U.S. and United Kingdom.
More Information: Warner Bros. Student Internships
What Do Interns Say About It?* Interns enjoy working on real-life projects, the collaborative work environment, and events organized for interns. Some complain about a stressful workplace that makes work/life balance difficult while others have the opposite experience.
Finance and Banking
The finance and banking industry pays well, but interns may have to deal with more bureaucracy than they would in the other three industries.
BlackRock is an investment management firm headquartered in New York City. The company offers a ten-week summer internship program for soon-to-be college graduates that “mirrors life as an analyst at BlackRock."
Average Hourly Salary*: $28
Who Can Apply? Students may participate in the summer analyst program the year before graduation.
Locations: Internships are in the U.S. and abroad.
More Information: BlackRock Campus Recruitment
What Do Interns Say About It?* Interns are happy with the introduction to a professional work environment and exposure to different areas of the business. Some are dissatisfied with the bureaucratic environment.
J.P. Morgan is an investment bank and financial services company with its headquarters in New York City. The company offers internships across all its lines of business.
Average Hourly Salary*: $25
Who Can Apply? There are positions for undergraduate and graduate students
Majors: Opportunities exist for finance, accounting, and mathematics majors.
Locations: There are internships in the U.S., Japan, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, and the United Kingdom
More Information: J.P. Morgan Student Programs
What Do Interns Say About It?* Interns say guidance is available if “they ask for it.” Some praise the standardized processes while others are unhappy with the bureaucracy and red tape.
Internships at Visa are from 10 to 12 weeks long.
Average Hourly Salary*: $25
Who Can Apply? Current undergraduate or graduate students may apply for internships.
Majors: Visa has internships for students getting bachelor’s, master’s, or Ph.D. degrees in business, finance, human resources, computer science, and engineering.
Locations: Interns may apply for opportunities in the U.S., the United Kingdom, China, Singapore, etc.
Benefits: Social and networking activities; Global Intern Summit (two-day event)
More Information: University Recruiting at Visa
What Do Interns Say About It?* Interns give high praise for programs that allow them to connect with executives and each other. They enjoy having supportive coworkers but complain about processes being slow due to the size of the company.
Mastercard has a summer internship program for bachelor’s, master’s, and MBA candidates.
Average Hourly Salary*: $24
Who Can Apply? Applicants must be enrolled in school and have a 3.0 GPA.
Majors: Mastercard is looking for students who are majoring in business, international business, finance, accounting, computer science, math, and statistics.
Locations: Opportunities exist in the Missouri and Singapore offices.
Benefits: Activities for interns
More Information: Mastercard Summer Internships Programs
What Do Interns Say About It?* Interns like having autonomy, a friendly work environment, and the opportunity for growth. Few have anything negative to say.
Consumer Goods, Including Personal Care and Household Products, Pet Products, and Food and Beverages
Companies that manufacture consumer goods vary in the benefits and programming they offer to interns.
Procter and Gamble
Procter and Gamble (P&G) produces a variety of personal and home care items across several brands. Interns work in all the company's function areas, including manufacturing, accounting, research and development, and marketing.
Average Hourly Salary*: $25
Who Can Apply? P&G hires interns who are earning associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees, as well as doctorates.
Majors: The company seeks talent in a variety of academic disciplines including chemistry, biology, engineering, sociology, anthropology, sociology, accounting, finance, economics, business, chemistry, physics, communication, journalism, and marketing.
Locations: Interns work in P&G corporate offices in Cincinnati and Boston, and manufacturing plants around the world.
Benefits: Relocation assistance, internship support network
More Information: P&G Internships
What Do Interns Say About It?* Interns are pleased they get to work on real projects while receiving constant support from managers and mentors. Some are not happy with their locations, particularly those outside the Cincinnati headquarters. They cite the lack of intern programming.
This food and beverage manufacturer hires interns for roles in eCommerce, finance, research and development, logistics and distribution, and manufacturing and production.
Average Hourly Salary*: $22
Who Can Apply? Current college students can apply for internships.
Majors: Although job announcements, depending on the role, specify a preference for majors like finance, accounting, engineering, food science, supply chain management, and business management, all state that "other majors will be considered."
Locations: Pepsico internships are located around the world including in the U.S. and Canada, Latin America, Asia, and Europe.
More Information: Student Opportunities at Pepsico
What Do Interns Say About It?* Interns love working on real projects with "great support from managers and other coworkers." They also enjoy the company culture. Few have anything negative to say.
Colgate-Palmolive manufacturers all sorts of personal, home, and pet care products. The company hires interns to work across all job categories.
Average Hourly Salary*: $20
Who Can Apply? Depending on the role, internship applicants must be currently enrolled or recently graduated from college or grad school and have at least a 3.0 G.P.A.
Majors: Internships are available in the following majors: computer science, computer engineering, IT systems management, economics, logistics, marketing, science, business, or economics.
Locations: Internships can be found anywhere this global company does business.
More Information: Colgate-Palmolive Student Opportunities
What Do Interns Say About It?* Colgate-Palmolive interns say they enjoy receiving support from superiors and the exposure to company leaders. Some say there are not many full-time entry-level job opportunities for them after graduation.
*Average hourly salaries and reviews are reported by Glassdoor.com
SOURCE: The Balance