Compensation for Your Intern

Compensation for time spent in an internship depends upon the employer and/or the project. Some government and non-profit organizations offer unpaid internships, while most for-profit internships are paid.  Typical wages for undergraduates range from minimum wage to $18 per hour and are usually determined base upon academic year (freshman, sophomore, junior, senior). Engineering intern compensation range of pay is slightly higher and averages $17-$23per hour.  See below for more details:

  • Undergraduate range: minimum wage to $18/hour, with the exception of computer science and engineering positions which average $18-23/hour.
  • Bachelor's Degree average: $17/hour
  • Master's Degree average: $23/hour 
  • Unpaid internships with for-profits must meet Department of Labor criteria.

Unpaid internships with for-profit companies are subject to the U.S. Department of Labor's guidelines in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA Fact Sheet #71), which is meant to distinguish appropriate classifications for interns and emphasize the necessary educational, legal, and ethical aspects of internships.

With that in mind, PSU has developed the following criteria based on the FLSA and our commitment to providing quality educational and ethical opportunities to our students.

Ethical Guidelines for UNPAID Internships with FOR-PROFIT Employers:

  • The internship is highly educational and will primarily benefit the intern
  • The intern is supervised and mentored throughout the internship
  • The intern does not displace a paid employee
  • The internship is a substantial learning experience, such that a faculty member would approve the internship as worthy of academic credit if desired by the student
  • Unpaid internships with for-profit employers should be limited to one to two academic terms.  For questions regarding this policy please contact 

For information on Internship Program Best Practices for Employers, click here.

Information for Nonprofit Organizations: Managing a Legally-Compliant Unpaid Internship Program: