Internships: Compensation and Academic Credit

Internships: Compensation and Academic Credit

Internships: Compensation and Academic Credit

Paid vs. Unpaid Internships

Paid Internships

Roughly two thirds of the internships posted through ASU's career and internship platform, Handshake, provide a wage or stipend. Most pay in the range of $10 - $20 per hour, depending on the career field and level of skill required. It is typical in certain disciplines for internships to be paid while in others, the opposite is true. Check with your internship coordinator or a career advisor to determine what to expect in your field of interest.

Unpaid Internships

Typically nonprofit organizations (including human or social services, and healthcare agencies), government entities, small companies, and employers in highly sought-after fields offer few paid internships.  There's no direct correlation between internship pay and quality of an experience.  There are many unpaid internships that are of significant value, while there are many paid internships that provide little value.


You should ask questions of employers during the interview process to determine whether or not a specific internship will provide the opportunities for learning and skill development that you're seeking.  One of the advantages of receiving credit is having an ASU internship coordinator review the internship description and objectives to make sure that it will be a good learning experience.


Earning Academic Credit

One of the first things to remember is that ASU grants academic credit for internships. Employers do not. It's up to your academic department to determine whether you can earn credit for a specific internship. Their decision will be made based on the professional nature of the actual responsibilities and their relatedness to the academic discipline. 

There are some things to keep in mind when pursuing academic credit:

1.  ASU academic credit options for internships vary from discipline to discipline.

  • Some ASU majors require the completion of an internship for credit.
  • Many majors offer credit as an option.
  • Some majors do not grant credit for internships.

2.  Most, but not all, academic departments that provide credit do so under a 484 course number. If credit is granted, you must pay for that course irrespective of whether your internship is paid or unpaid.

3.  In order for credit to be granted, the departments require that the internship be directly related to your field of study

4.  Because specific requirements vary, check with your internship coordinator about these possible issues:

  • Class level and GPA requirements
  • Prerequisite courses
  • Number of work hours required per credit
  • Registration deadlines
  • Application process
  • Resources for obtaining an internship
  • Assignments, usually written, related to the internship
  • Employer evaluations
  • Affiliation Agreement requirements for the employer