Internships must comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). In the for-profit private sector, unless the internship meets all six of the criteria, an employment relationship exists and the intern must be compensated according to the Acts minimum wage and overtime provisions. These criteria are the following:

1. The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training which would be given in an educational environment;

2. The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern;

3. The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff;

4. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded;

5. The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and

6. The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.

There are several options for internship compensation:

Hourly Pay:

Interns can be paid by the hour as regular employees. Generally, the hourly wage for an intern ranges from $12.00 - $30.00 per hour.


Stipend is typically a lump sum, not related to work performed. Stipends are usually granted in non-profit and government agencies. Typically, stipends are not paid to interns in for-profit companies. Wage and hour law does not use the term "stipend". If the person is entitled to be paid, then the stipend must equate to at least minimum wage.

Scholarship Awards:

Scholarship awards may be given to students at the end of their internship to cover expenses for tuition and books.

Academic Credit:

Academic credit is assigned only through a CSUN faculty member. Students must contact academic departments for information on this process. It is solely the responsibility of the student to obtain pre-approval for academic credit. (Neither the Career Center nor employers can grant academic credit.) In order to receive academic credit, the internship must apply to the student's course of study.

Compensation Notes

  • Your position is more likely to be filled if a fair wage is offered.
  • Most students cannot afford to accept unpaid internships without taking another paid position.
  • Interns must be provided with fair compensation and a safe environment.
  • Consult the U.S. Department of Labor fact sheet for additional information


Internship & Experiential Learning Programs
Janice Potzmann, Assistant Director