Mapping the 2022 Average Internship Salary Across U.S. States

Mapping The Best Places to Intern in the U.S.

Internships today come in a wide range of forms across various industries. They can include anything from making coffee runs to working on high-profile projects. Additionally, internships can vary from rigorous 90-hour workweeks to part-time positions.

Internship salaries can differ significantly based on the industry and location. While some internships offer full-time paid positions, others may be unpaid and solely for gaining experience.

In 2022, CashNetUSA collected data from job listings on Chegg Internships and Zippia to shed some light on the constantly evolving world of internships. They compiled a comprehensive database that includes hourly pay rates for internships categorized by state and sector to provide greater transparency.

The Highest Average Internship Salary by State

When it comes to the average internship salaries, three states in the U.S. rise above the rest. Across all 50 states, these states stand out as offering higher pay for interns.

In Washington, California, and Connecticut, interns were given an offer of over $20 per hour, which is almost $5 more than the minimum wage set in each of these states.

State Hourly Rate
Washington $20.92
California $20.78
Connecticut $20.39
Nevada $18.89
Oregon $18.88
New York $18.38
Delaware $18.31
Massachusetts $18.15
West Virginia $17.82
Vermont $17.75
North Dakota $17.65
Hawaii $17.46
Wisconsin $17.12
New Hampshire $17.09
Maryland $16.91
Minnesota $16.88
Colorado $16.86
Alaska $16.80
Pennsylvania $16.75
Georgia $16.71
Arizona $16.68
New Jersey $16.42
Montana $16.40
Michigan $16.36
Idaho $15.99
Illinois $15.99
Virginia $15.98
Rhode Island $15.85
Ohio $15.78
Maine $15.75
Texas $15.32
South Dakota $15.21
Utah $15.09
Mississippi $15.01
Florida $14.75
Missouri $14.69
North Carolina $14.68
Kentucky $14.63
Nebraska $14.61
Indiana $14.46
Tennessee $14.26
Iowa $14.00
Oklahoma $13.90
Arkansas $13.79
Kansas $13.51
South Carolina $12.44
Alabama $12.39
Louisiana $12.12
New Mexico $12.03
Wyoming $11.92

Internships in Wyoming, New Mexico, and Louisiana offer a pay rate of approximately $12/hour, which is comparatively lower.

Coastal states are paying more than their interior counterparts due to the difference in the cost of living. This variation in figures can be attributed to this factor.

The states with the highest average internship salary rates, which include California, New York, Connecticut, Vermont, Oregon, and Massachusetts, also happen to be the most expensive states to live in. Conversely, we also find that some of the states with the lowest-paying internships match a lower cost of living.

The internships in Washington and West Virginia offer better compensation than the average when considering the cost of living.

Sectors With the Best Paid Internships

By examining the states with the most lucrative internship compensation, it becomes apparent which industries are offering high pay to their interns.

It’s no secret that tech internships, primarily in California and Washington, offer the highest pay at $19.77. The finance sector, located predominantly in New York, comes in second at $18.10.

It’s no secret that both industries offer generous compensation packages to their employees. In contrast, government internships are notoriously low-paying, despite the prestige of working in D.C.

States with the Most Unpaid Internships

Internships don’t always come with a paycheck, and the average hourly pay doesn’t hold much weight in states where most internships are unpaid.

About one-third of internships in Delaware are unpaid, despite having a high average pay.

Almost 25% of listed internships in New York, Oregon, New Mexico, California, and New Jersey were unpaid.

On the other hand, the states situated in the outer Midwest region, like Nebraska and Colorado, have remarkably low rates of unpaid internships in comparison to other states. In the case of Kansas, even though the internship pay is low, only a mere 4.2% of internships were unpaid.

Sectors with the Most Unpaid Internships

Approximately one-third of the finance industry’s listed internships are unpaid, with no compensation or benefits offered to interns. Despite being the second-highest paying sector, finance internships are known for their rigorous demands and intense schedules. The emphasis is often placed on gaining experience, rather than monetary compensation.

Retail has the second-highest rate of unpaid internships, with nearly half the rate of the highest sector. However, the sector with the highest rate of unpaid internships is nearly twice the rate of the retail sector.

It’s worth noting that despite offering the highest hourly rate, the tech sector surprisingly ranked second-lowest in terms of unpaid internships. In fact, only the manufacturing industry had fewer unpaid internships.

According to a survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), the majority of students revealed that taking unpaid internships had a slightly higher positive impact on networking than paid internships. However, it was also found that unpaid internships had a negative correlation with employment and salary satisfaction.

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