• Setting Intern Salaries

    Spotlight for Recruiting Professionals
    January 9, 2013

    As your organization prepares its summer internship program, one of the tasks it will have to undertake is setting intern salaries.

    Consider these factors when setting salaries for interns:

    • Interns are paid an hourly wage; they typically fall into the “non-exempt” category due to the nature of their positions.
    • Your interns will talk amongst themselves, so apply your pay scales consistently.
    • Many employers use the salary they pay a new college hire as the starting point for determining intern wages. Intern pay rates vary based on the student’s major and the functional area in which student is assigned, just as new college hire rates will.
    • In addition to major and functional area, many employers use the student’s year in school in setting rates. For example, NACE’s 2012 Internship & Co-op Survey found that seniors earn 26.3 percent more than their freshman cohorts, with average pay rates of $17.57 and $13.91, respectively.

    Average Intern Hourly Wage Rates, by Class

    Class Average
    Freshman $13.91
    Sophomore $15.36
    Junior $16.82
    Senior $17.57

    Source: 2012 Internship & Co-op Survey, National Association of Colleges and Employers. Data are for bachelor’s degree students. 

    For more information about specific wage rates for interns, see NACE’s 2012 Compensation Guide for Interns & Co-ops. Additional highlights from the 2012 Internship & Co-op Survey report are available in an executive summary at www.naceweb.org/intern-co-op-survey/.

Setting Intern Salaries