There are 1.36 million people working in internships across America in more than 100 different industries, according to career-search website Zippia. Internships offer college and university students, as well as recent graduates, the opportunity to gain work experience in a particular field – both to build their resume and develop a skill set.
While most internships are paid positions, many are not. The concept of an unpaid internship is a controversial issue. The Department of Labor’s Fair Labor Standards Act requires employers to pay employees, but are interns employees or not? FLSA guidelines list seven criteria to make the distinction.
According to the FLSA, these guidelines are designed to “examine the ‘economic reality’ of the intern-employer relationship to determine which party is the ‘primary beneficiary’ of the relationship.” In other words, to be legal, unpaid internships have to benefit the intern through gained education and experience. If the primary beneficiary is the employer, who hires an intern with the expectation of getting free labor, then the internship must be paid.
A recent report published by online lender CashNetUSA found that 11.1% of all internships in Oklahoma are unpaid, the 19th largest share among states. The same report also found that the average hourly wage for interns working in the state stands at $13.90, the eighth lowest of the 50 states.
To determine these rankings, CashNetUSA reviewed internship salary data from more than 100 U.S. industries. Average hourly pay for paid internships in each state was sourced from the career-search website Zippia.
|Rank||State||Unpaid internships as a share of total (%)||Avg. hourly intern pay ($)|
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