Are Paid Internships Always Best? Maybe Not

If you are looking for an internship, and you are working on the premise that a paid internship would definitely be better than an unpaid internship – you might want to reconsider.


Well, if I’m an employer and you’re my intern and I’m not paying you…well, if I’m any kind of decent human being (I believe most people doing any kind of worthy work are) I’m going to feel an extra obligation to make sure you learn a ton from the experience. I’m more likely to make extra sure that the internship is worth your while.

But, if I’m paying you…well, now you’re basically the most junior member of my staff. I may care about your professional development, but I’m paying you, so maybe I won’t.

Is this a generalization? Sure. But it should make you think twice about whether paid internships are always better than unpaid internships.



About the Author: Eric Woodard is the author of “Your Last Day of School: 56 Ways You Can Be A Great Intern and Turn Your Internship Into a Job” and founder of, a site that teaches students to be great interns and successful during internships. Eric created and managed internship programs for the White House and U.S. Senate. He’s also consulted with a variety of national non-profit clients to create and manage successful internship programs. Over the years Eric received zillions of thank you notes from interns, and has kept every single one. Follow Eric on Twitter!



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