Internships, whether paid or unpaid, are one of the most effective ways to gain first-hand experience in a line of work before deciding to undertake a permanent position.
Still, regardless of whether you’re a student wanting to gain some professional experience or you’re considering a career switch, it can sometimes be hard to understand what an internship will consist of, especially if it’s paid.
This is where we come in to lend a helping hand. Below, not only are we going to be talking you through what a paid internship is, but we are also going to be talking about how they work, how much you can expect to make from doing one, as well as whether or not they’re even worth it.
So, whenever you’re ready, let’s jump right in!
Table of Contents
What Are Internships?
In a nutshell, an internship is essentially a type of temporary work role that allows you to gain professional experience in a line of work that you are interested in making a career out of.
With that being said, it should come as no surprise to hear that internships are most commonly offered to students who want to gain experience alongside their studies, or for graduates that are interested in getting their foot in the door in the career or sector that they are interested in and passionate about.
However, despite the fact that internships are most commonly undertaken by students or recent graduates, there are a variety of different internships out there that are offered to anyone interested in applying.
To follow on, internships are a fantastic way to gain hands-on experience in a particular line of work before deciding to take a permanent position in the sector.
As you might already be aware, internships can vary from unpaid to paid, which means that internships vary in length (typically anywhere between a few weeks to even a year) and will each consist of uniquely different job descriptions.
Depending on the kind of internship you are applying for, as well as how long it is, too. Needless to say, regardless of what the internship that you are applying for consists of, it is worth noting that the number of responsibilities that you are given will vary.
Although, for the most part, it is common to work alongside another member of staff who can help to provide guidance and assistance. This brings us to our next point.
What Is The Difference Between An Unpaid And A Paid Internship?
The most common (and obvious) difference between these two types of internships is that one is paid while the other is not paid. However, even though these two types of internships currently exist, it is generally considered that all internships should be paid, as they will require you to work.
Nevertheless, as we have already mentioned above briefly, unpaid internships do still exist, and here is a quick breakdown of some of the times that they might be offered:
- If you have expressed interest in volunteering
- If the internship is less than a month
- If you are gaining work experience for a degree or other form of study
In these types of situations where an internship might be unpaid, it is relatively common for companies to offer financial assistance in the form of paying for your commute, as well as paying for your lunch for the duration of the internship.
If you are planning to accept a paid internship, then you may also be offered compensation for both your commute and your lunch, although this is far less likely as you will be earning monthly pay.
For internships that last longer than 6 months, you might even be offered a salary.
In addition to all of the above, regardless of whether your internship is paid or unpaid – if you are considering undertaking an internship.
Then we strongly recommend that you ensure thoroughly read through the contract to make sure that you are happy to proceed with the internship, as well as make sure to ask the employer to answer any questions that you might have.
Is It Worth Applying For An Internship?
For the most part? Yes, Unpaid internships are absolutely worth it and can be a great stepping stone into the line of work that you are most interested in gaining a career out of.
Besides being an awesome learning experience, internships will provide you with the chance to gain first-hand experience in a certain field or line of work, which will in turn help you better understand if it is the right career for you.
So, there we have it! After reading through this guide, we’re hoping that alongside now having a much clearer understanding of what an internship is, you also have a much clearer understanding of how much you can expect to be paid from undertaking an internship.
As they are typically designed to serve the purpose of offering the intern a chance of gaining an unprecedented, hands-on experience of a certain line of work, it means that internships are temporary and, therefore, often minimum wage.
Nevertheless, many people deem internships to be a great opportunity for getting your “foot in the door” especially if you are looking for a career switch or you’re a student looking for a way to put theory into practice.
Remember, regardless of whether you are taking a break in between studies to undertake an internship or you’re not in school but have seen an internship opportunity that you would like to grab.
There’s always a chance that the internship could progress to a permanent position if you make a good first impression, and if it doesn’t, then you’ll have gained some fantastic experience that is sure to set you up when the time comes to enter the professional world.
Thanks for reading, and good luck!