Office of Career Success
Paid vs Unpaid Internships
UT Tyler encourages employers to offer paid internships.
Unpaid internships may be made available. Many students prefer to seek paid internships, but some may be willing to accept unpaid assignments that provide excellent opportunities to learn and develop job-related skills.
The Fair Labor Standards Act requires that all employees be paid at least the minimum wage. If the intern is not an employee but a "trainee," there is no requirement to pay him or her. The U.S. Department of Labor has identified six factors that must be present to determine intern or "trainee" status:
The training, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to that which would be given in a vocational school. The training is for the benefit of the students and such placements are not made to meet the labor needs of the business. The students do not displace regular employees.
The employer that provides the training derives no advantages from the activities of the students, and on occasion his or her operations may actually be impeded. The students are not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the training period. The employer and the students understand that the students are not entitled to wages for the time spent in training.
Employers who have questions regarding the information above should seek legal counsel.
How Much Should Interns be Paid?
Undergraduate student interns typically earn $7.25 to $13 per hour, while graduate student interns earn $12 to $20 per hour. These wage ranges apply to students with little or no experience. If the student is more experienced their wage range may be considerably higher. For example, experienced students earning their MBA may earn $20 to $28 per hour.