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Paid vs. Unpaid Internships

Paid vs. Unpaid Internships

Students and employers often ask the Career Center whether or not internships should be paid or unpaid.  If you are required to do an internship as required by your academic program, then your priority is to find the best learning opportunity that matches your career interests. Keep in mind that employers hiring for paid interns will expect you to be a competitive job applicant.  To find a paid internship, you will need to have a resume and interview skills that set you apart from other applicants.

The Law and Unpaid Internships
For-profit companies are required to pay their interns or submit to a list of requirements set forth by the U.S. Department of Labor under the Fair Labor Standards Act.  In short, these internships should be connected to your program of study, should not replace the work of regular employees, and should benefit the student more than the company.  For instance, an unpaid internship should provide intensive training and supervision that enhances what you have learned in school. For more information on the Fair Labor Standards Act and specific requirements for unpaid internships: Fact Sheet #71: Internship Programs Under The Fair Labor Standards Act (pdf).  Students should contact the Career Center if they have questions or concerns about unpaid internships and these regulations. 

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