There are many internship opportunities that pay, but many do not. Business, computer science, biomedical and accounting opportunities are generally more likely to be paid. Typically, internships in the arts, human service and within non-profit organizations are more likely to be unpaid. A few organizations will provide room and board in lieu of payment.
Some organizations may require interns to receive credit in order to be paid. Others will offer a grant or a small honorarium. Organizations set their budgets months, even a year or more in advance.
If you need to earn money during your internship but are unable to find one for pay, you might consider interning part time and working part-time. You may also want to speak with your career center to see if there are other funding opportunities that may be available for interns who are not getting paid. These funding opportunities will rarely allow you to make money, but may help you to break even during the course of your internship. Also be sure to take advantage of non-monetary benefits that you might garner from the experience, such as speaker events, opportunities to conduct informational interviews with professionals in the field, free training and development, and both formal and informal opportunities to network.
In the next Internship Basics post, we’ll answer the question, I’m an international student, can I intern in the US?