June 15, 2016 | By NACE Staff
Spotlight for Recruiting Professionals
June 15, 2016
How do degree and year of study affect the starting salaries employers pay to their interns and co-ops? Just as you might think, the further along students are in their work toward a degree, and the more advanced the degree, the greater their salary will be during an experiential education assignment, according to NACE’s 2016 Guide to Compensation for Interns & Co-ops.
Doctoral student interns ($31.25) earn an average hourly wage that is nearly 2.5 times that of first-year associate degree interns ($12.96) and double that of freshmen bachelor’s degree interns ($15.52). (See Figure 1.)
However, the difference is not as great for co-op students, as doctoral student interns ($25.68) earn an average hourly wage that is approximately $11 greater than both first-year associate degree co-op students ($14.03) and freshmen bachelor’s degree co-op students ($14.30). (See Figure 2.)
Between two years of study—such as from the first year to second year for associate and master’s degree students, and even consecutive years for bachelor’s degree students—the wage differential for interns and co-ops is not overly pronounced. However, the disparity in average hourly wages becomes greater across multiple years of progression toward attainment of a single degree, such as between freshmen and senior bachelor’s degree interns and co-ops.
For example, employers pay freshmen bachelor’s degree interns an hourly average of $15.52. Meanwhile, senior interns—at $19.10 an hour—make 19 percent more.
Likewise, employers pay freshmen bachelor’s degree co-op students ($14.30 an hour) 24 percent less than their senior counterparts ($18.73 an hour).
NACE’s 2016 Guide to Compensation for Interns & Co-ops provides wages and benefits information gathered from organizations that took part in NACE’s 2016 Internship & Co-op Survey. The 2016 Internship & Co-op Survey was conducted November 9, 2015, through February 17, 2016, among NACE employer members; there were a total of 271 organizations responding, or 26.9 percent of all eligible respondents. Highlights from the survey are available on NACEWeb. Participating employers receive a complimentary copy of the survey results (see MyNACE > Research Reports).
Figure 1: Intern hourly wage rate, by degree and year of study
Figure 2: Co-op hourly wage rate, by degree and year of study
Overall unemployment rate
Bureau of Labor Statistics
Unemployment rate, bachelor’s degree grads age 20 – 24
Bureau of Labor Statistics
Average starting salary, Class of 2017 bachelor’s degree graduate
Fall 2017 Salary Survey
Decrease in hiring projected for Class of 2018 over Class of 2017
Job Outlook 2018
Percent of Class of 2016 bachelor’s degree grads employed or pursuing more education
First Destinations for the College Class of 2016