Saul Arevalo, 27, is trying to come up with the best words possible to describe his stay in Washington, D.C., last summer. The information technology major reminisces over work he was paid for, the housing that was arranged for him and the flights that were not of any cost to him. Arevalo is describing the experiences he had with his first paid internship.
Arevalo spent the summer working with computers for the U.S. Agency for Inernational Development, a government program that helps provide U.S. economic and humanitarian aid worldwide.
Government internships fall among the list of the best industries for paid internships, according to Bankrate.com, a website that publishes financial rate information. The other fields listed on the site are banking, communication and social media, accounting and information technology.
Te majority of paid internships the company fall under these particular areas of work, said Eric Normington, chief marketing officer of internship provider Dream Careers.
“I would say that the most popular paid internships usually are engineering, technology and science,” he said.
PayScale.com, which monitors online compensation data, reports the average accounting intern earns $10 to $18 an hour, while internships in the computer sciences can range from $19 to $29 an hour.
Because paid internships offer students both experience and an income, many students believe they are difficult to obtain. But the requirements and the rarity of these paid internships are not as shocking as one might believe, Normington said.
“Paid internships are a little hard to come by, but not completely impossible to get,” he said.
Luckily for Arevalo, snagging a paid internship was easy with the help of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) National Internship Program, which provides internship opportunities to students in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Latin America, Spain and Portugal, according to the HACU website.
“My professor told me about it, and I decided to apply because they especially work with government programs,” Arevalo said. “The reason why I applied was because I’m a veteran, and I wanted to do some more work for the government and gain some experience.”
Bankrate.com reports government internships can pay anywhere between $10 to $25 an hour, depending on the job and the skills required.
Normington notes that paid internships do not typically fall under the categories of communications, entertainment and fashion.
“I suppose the reason the paid internships are computers or engineering is because the employers have more specific requirements,” he said.
This may be why the top three companies that offer paid internships are: VMware, with an average monthly base salary of $6,248; Yahoo!, with $ 6,227; and IBM Research, with $6,087, according to Forbes.com.
An internship in communication and social media is more in demand than ever before, according to Bankrate.com. As social networking gets more popular, companies are looking for communication and social media interns.
Kevin Lizarraga, part-time faculty and marketing manager at the USU insists that, though he does not know the exact figures, he does understand why companies would have a demand for students who are knowledgeable in these specific areas.
“Social media is making a boom now than it had a couple of years ago,” he said. “I can see why companies would be interested in students who have these skills.”
Lizarraga also explained that companies should not ignore the fact that social media and networking is everywhere and that social networking can be essential for companies to reach out to customers.
Despite Bankrate.com’s list of top paid internships, sociology major Brittany Balisi, 21, managed to get a paid internship her field of interest — sociology. She mentored “at-risk” kids through a paid internship and believes that the application process for a paid internship is demanding but not impossible.
“For most students, I think it is easier and better to start off as an unpaid intern and work your butt off first,” she said. “Because if you show dedication, then I think it would be easier to get paid later on or use that experience to help you find a paid internship.”