What is a Paid Internship?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A paid internship is a learning opportunity which also offers financial compensation. Many companies and organizations offer internships to individuals who are interested in learning more about the type of work that they do. These internships allow interns to see what it might be like to work in a particular industry, or for a particular company. In addition to being valuable educationally, internships are also very beneficial for a strong resume. Many of these internships are unpaid, which can be difficult for low income individuals who are pursuing internships. In a paid internship, the intern is offered compensation, often at market value, for the hours worked.

Medical interns work long hours.
Medical interns work long hours.

Compensation for a paid internship varies from company to company. Some organizations offer housing, food, and a limited stipend, so that all of an intern's basic needs are taken care of. Others just offer a stipend or an hourly wage to their interns. As a general rule, the compensation for a paid internship is comparable with the market rate in the area where the internship is occurring. For this reason, competition for paid internships in places like New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco tends to be fierce.

Paid interns work in various settings, including offices.
Paid interns work in various settings, including offices.

Both unpaid and paid internships are highly competitive, but it tends to be more challenging to get a paid internship. People who are interested in paid internships can use a number of databases to research job opportunities in the area of their interest. After submitting an application, an intern may be asked to interview, provide references, or offer other supplementary material. A team at the company reviews applications, selecting strong interns which would benefit the company while they worked there.

College students are probably the largest group of people seeking paid internships. Many internships are designed with this in mind, and are arranged to coincide with summer or winter breaks. In other instances, a paid internship may last a year, allowing the intern to accrue serious job experience. Part time internships may be coordinated around a student schedule, allowing the intern to go to school while working.

The location of a paid internship varies. Many interns work in offices, pursuing internships like legal clerkships or non-profit work. Other interns take field internships, especially interns in the natural sciences. In a field internship, an intern has an opportunity to engage in hands on fieldwork and research, doing things like engaging in environmental activism, participating in wildlife surveys, or educating rural farmers about new developments in animal husbandry. Both types of paid internship can be a great way to put classroom skills to use.

An individual may develop important contacts through an unpaid internship, which can turn out to be highly valuable.
An individual may develop important contacts through an unpaid internship, which can turn out to be highly valuable.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments


if the company gives you a 1099 misc and your wages are in box 3 you are required to file a 1040 and a schedule c and schedule se. you will pay social security and medicare taxes.

Be aware on how you are hired. You might not make much, but when it comes to paying your SS and medicare, you will be charged 15.5 percent, which if you make $5797, will amount to $819 that you will pay in SS and medicare.


You get taxed as an intern but since your earnings are fairly humble you can end up getting quite a bit of it back when you file in April.

Even though you don't earn a ton, a paid internship is definitely better than working for free. I've found the best way to find a paid internship is to use job databases.


I would assume that if the company was giving you a paycheck, then yes you would be taxed.


do interns get taxed?

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