The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Unpaid internships can have more value than money

Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune
Photo Credit: Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune

USC students provide insights into ChinaJuggling a pile of paperwork in one hand and four specialized coffee orders in another— the controversy surrounding internships being paid or unpaid continues.

The big questions: Does the amount of experience an internship provides outweigh money? Do internships always lead to jobs for the intern? Does experience even matter? Is your name just ink on a resume? Are connections the only way to score a job now?

As an undergrad, there are benefits to both an unpaid internship and a paid internship.

Unpaid internship are required to provide students with hands on beneficial experience.

According to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) from the United States Department of Labor, employers must meet six criteria in order to classify them for unpaid internships

  • The
    internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of
    the employer, is similar to training, which would be given in an
    educational environment.
  • The
    internship experience is for the benefit of the intern.
  • The
    intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close
    supervision of existing staff.
  • The employer
    that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the
    activities of the intern, and on occasion its operations may actually be
  • The
    intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the
  • The
    employer and the intern understand the intern is not entitled to
    wages for the time spent in the internship.

Going back to the big question, should internships be paid? The simple answer is no.

The complicated answer — It should solely depend on the specific internship. In other words, there are expectations to the rule. Certain internships need money attached to them, due to excessive obligations and time put into the company.

Like any job or internship, working builds character. The act of being able to work in a team, identify your strengths and weaknesses and develop a skill set does not always need to come with a price tag.

Attaching money to something adds a different motive. Your focus turns from building experience and learning new things to solely focusing on the compensation coming out of the work. Money is one of those hit or miss situations, that extra perk and bonus that may or may not come alongside the underlying job duties.

Internships can lead to jobs but this depends specifically on the company and the intern.

Yes, you are responsible as an intern to build your brand within yourself. How you present yourself can and will affect your faith and time at a company.

If there are positions available at where you are interning and you prove to be a valuable asset to the team, then you will most likely get the job. If that doesn’t happen, then your experiences can lead to another internship and job outside your current company.

Internships don’t always lead to jobs or come with a price tag but the experience is sometimes enough.


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