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Although wage should not be as important as experience when determining which internships to pursue, the idea of making a good chunk of change is always appealing. 

When I was still an undergraduate student, I would ask my fraternity brothers if anyone else planned on interning in the summer.  I remember asking a younger guy in the house if he planned on applying for any internships.  He replied, “No, I plan on working at a factory like I do every summer where I can make $15/hr, so that’s way better.”

He, like many other students today, didn’t realize that internships pay fairly well:

On average, bachelor’s degree students taking part in internships in 2011 will earn an average of $16.68 an hour, according to results of NACE’s 2011 Internship & Co-op Survey

At the master’s degree level, the average hourly rate is $24.21.

Aside from the possibility of making a decent wage, when you intern, you are able to learn more about the career you may want to pursue, gain relevant experience and potentially set yourself up for full-time employment. 

After graduation, my friend had no plans to do anything related to the factory work he had been doing every summer – he planned on pursuing a career in marketing.  Regardless of wage, now you tell me, when looking for a job in marketing, what do you think looks better on a resume: several summers working in an unrelated job or one or more related internships?  Remember it pays to intern – sometimes with money, but always with experience.

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