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.