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Best Internships In the USA

Updated on July 8, 2015
Some Internships are exciting and pay well.
Some Internships are exciting and pay well. | Source

The 2010s Mark the Beginning of Eliminating Unpaid Internships

Ever since the first trailers of the 2013 film The Internship were released, people have been asking about Google internships. Various sources suggest that Google Interns earn over $5,700 a month and some earn much more than that - $8,000 and more.. They also receive free food, free access to the company gym, and other perks in exchange for their hard work. lists the average wage at Google for full-time employees as over $106,000/year plus perks and benefits. Continuous Improvement is a way of life there, although you may never hear those words. Competition is fierce yet friendly and fun, but if you don't keep up and offer new ideas for products and services that work, then one of the many and ongoing reorganizations of the company may eliminate your job.

This is all the high end of the scale for interns in business. Some interns have always been totally unpaid and some have sued employers and been awarded wages. Unpaid internships may actually become obsolete.

In view of the high wages and perks paid some interns in American companies, those that do not receive compensation have become irrate.

Google Interns

Federal Unpaid Internship Regulations

Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938:

  • The internship must be similar to training in an educational environment and must be for the benefit of the intern;
  • The intern does not take the place of any employee and the employer cannot derive any immediate advantage from the intern (like saving payroll costs);
  • The intern is not entitled to a job at the end of the internship and understands that he or she is not entitled to wages for the internship.

An Intern Sued Harper's Bazaar

Diana Wang from Columbus, Ohio went to live in NYC to work as an unpaid intern at Harper's Bazaar and lived off her savings. Here is a recent quote from her:

“It was disgusting,” says Wang, referring to her unpaid daily responsibilities like shipping hats between New York and London for $350 each way, not being able to eat lunch until 4 p.m., routinely shuttling heavy bags around Manhattan and working to 10 p.m. with no break for dinner – all while supervising eight other interns. “Thinking of the spring interns who would come in with high hopes just like my fellow interns and I had — I decided that someone had to put a stop to this practice, which was going to go on forever and get worse before it got better.”


NOTE: The magazine officials replied that since Wang was receiving academic credit for the internship of long hours, incredible amounts of work, refusal to allow her to eat, etc., that they had done nothing wrong.

Strict federal guidelines indicate working conditions that are permissible for unpaid interns in America. A few companies have violated these regulations, leading to the individual and class action lawsuits listed above.

One intern in 2013 reported being forced work for over 12 hours per day at no pay, clearly saving the employer a large amount of money in payroll costs. This is one of the federal restrictions, that the employer is not to benefit from the intern, but the intern is to benefit from the company and work experience.

Best Internship reports that the average Google Intern pay is well over $6,000/month. To learn more, look at on Google+.

Interns vs. Volunteers

Internships have been developed, offered, and worked in many fields besides medicine. Nearly any field of work can have internships attached, both paid and unpaid.

During the years of the youth and adult work programs under the Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA), internships were divided into age groups: 14 - 19, Adult, Welfare to Work (W2W), and Senior Citizen.

Some unpaid internships already existed in the world of work before JTPA funded work related Education and Training programs. Subsequently, when JTPA took effect, some entities in the local communities added to the internship pool by changing the name of their volunteer positions to "unpaid internships." The word Intern looks better on a resume than Volunteer to some hiring officers as well.

Welfare Internships

The most notorious of internships included the regular work hours required by County Welfare Offices in order for clients to receive their monthly cash payments, Food Stamps (SNAP), and Medicaid Cards. For instance, at one point in Ohio, recipients were required to work 30 hours per week in government facilities. Dividing the cash payment for one month by the hours worked that month placed the recipient at far below Federal Minium Wage, which was legal for public assistance programs.

After the big W2W reform push across the nation, work hour requirements for public assistance recipients reduced to 20 hours per week in some areas. This reduction in hours still resulted in below minimum wage "earnings" for many people.

During and after the Great Recession of 2008 - 2010, the public began to complain in earnest about working without being paid wages. By 2012, unpaid interns had, in isolated cases, sued employers for wages.

Interesting Internships With Unique Experiences

UTC Aerospace Systems at - B.F. Goodrich merged with Hamilton Sundstrand in 2012 to form this new aerospace company. As of mid-June, 170 internships were listed as open in the USA.

  • Headquarters: Four Coliseum Centre; 2730 West Tyvola Road; Charlotte, NC 28217-4578

FreezeCrowd, Inc. at - Interns needed for a new social media start-up in writing, research, and marketing. Based in Cleveland, Ohio.

Life Technologiesat at‎ - Several locations in California. - DNA sequencing, bioinformatics and others.

  • Headquarters:5791 Van Allen Way Carlsbad, CA 92008

SAIC at‎ - Various locations around Virginia. - Artificial Intelligence and related internships.

Aerospace research, design, and manufacture.
Aerospace research, design, and manufacture. | Source

Best Internships In America

Data for the Top 50 List published by Bloomberg Businessweek in 2013 came from employer self reporting for the year 2006, the most recent data available.

Out of the Top 50 Internships named, only two are unpaid, while 6 are located in NYC York City. Because of its population size and economy, the largest numbers of job openings posted across the Internet for the USA is always in NYC.

The two companies in the Top 50 named by Bloomberg Businessweek that offer unpaid internships are BP America and Proctor & Gamble.

The lowest percentage of interns that accepted employment with their employer after internship was surprisingly the #7 company on the list: Walt Disney. Media reports have been that interns love working at Disney. However, only 30% of interns were offered continuing employment and only 30% of those accepted full-time employment.

Hewlett Packard (HP) was next lowest in interns accepting employment - 44% were offered full-time jobs and only 40% of those accepted. The third lowest was Abbott Laboratories (pharmaceuticals) - 47% were offered jobs and only 44% accepted.

On the other end of the scale, 100% of interns accepted job offers at Norfolk Southern (transportation), the CIA, and the US Patent & Trademark Office. However, 98% accepted work at St. Jude Medical.

REFERENCE: Bloomberg Businessweek Top 50 Internships

The five leaders at the top of the Bloomberg list are all headquartered in New York, NY. These are:

  1. PricewaterhouseCoopers
  2. Ernst & Young
  3. Deloitte and Touche
  4. Goldman Sachs
  5. KPMG

The remaining top half of the list are almost entirely located in the American Northeast.

Several of the Top 50 are involved in Aerospace Manufacturing and other areas of aerospace business:

  • General Electric
  • IBM
  • Lockheed Martin
  • Raytheon
  • Northrop Grumman
  • Boeing

Google is not on the Top 50 List at all, but if the data reflected a collection of 2012 data, then I am almost sure that it would be on the list.

See the link above for the full list.

Internship Job Listings Usually Peak In the 1st QTR Every Year.


The first quarter of any year is the best time to begin applying for internships. Apply in the autumn, if you can do so.


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