This post was provided by Claudia Allen, editor at the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). NACE connects campus recruiting and career services professionals, and provides best practices, trends, research, professional development, and conferences.

As your organization prepares for its summer internship program, one of the tasks you will have to undertake is setting intern wages.
Typically, interns are paid an hourly wage and fall into the “non-exempt” category due to the nature of their positions. Some employers use the salary they pay a new college hire as the starting point for determining intern wages.

In general, employers with formal internship programs for college student determine pay rates by degree level, class year, and academic major. For example, seniors earn 26.3 percent more than their freshman cohorts. A master’s degree intern is paid 35 percent more than a bachelor’s degree intern.

Students earning engineering and computer science degrees generally are paid a higher wage rates than students in other disciplines, regardless of class year. Currently, at the bachelor’s degree level for seniors, engineering interns average wages of $20.79 per hour, and computer science/IT interns average $19.10 per hour. These exceed the pay rates for all other intern majors within the senior-class level.

(Note: Your interns will talk amongst themselves, so apply your pay scales consistently.)

Average Intern Hourly Wage Rates, by Class



Freshman $13.91
Sophomore $15.36
Junior $16.82
Senior $17.57

Source: 2012 Internship & Co-op Survey, National Association of Colleges and Employers. Data are for bachelor’s degree students.

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