Are unpaid internships worth it?

In your search for the perfect internship, you may come across a few that seem perfect except for one thing: the pay.  It may be tempting to pass these opportunities by and keep searching for an internship that will earn you some cash.

Even though you may feel like an unpaid internship isn’t worth your time, don’t throw out the notion just yet. Unpaid internships can potentially have just as many long-term benefits as a paid opportunity, despite the obvious short-term drawbacks.  Here is some useful information to show that unpaid internships are worth the time.



You can never put a price on the gift of knowledge. Working an unpaid internship with only the prize of knowledge and experience at the end of the tunnel will keep you more focused on the work that you are doing.  Stepping outside of the classroom and into the heart of where all the action takes place is well worth the experience. Many college students have no work experience at all. The chance to gain real life work skills will be a payment in itself. In addition, the US Department of Labor helps to aid unpaid interns with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The FSLA requires that unpaid interns are going to gain knowledge during the internship. With this act in place, interns are less likely to be taken advantage of as unpaid help.


When a student is willing to work an unpaid internship it shows the wonderful quality of true dedication. When it’s time to land a job post graduation, employers will want to hear about your previous internships. When they learn that you worked an unpaid internship, your stock may go up in their eyes. Many people work jobs for a paycheck only. When you display a genuine love for the work that you wish to do, it sheds a bright light on your ascending career.


When you work hard at what you do for no pay, it will not go unnoticed. There is the chance that a superior will take note and keep you in mind when there are other opportunities available. These same superiors can also be used as a valuable reference for potential employment in the future. The network that can be built while on an internship assignment can be well worth the time in the end.


When you are being paid for the work you do, you tend to have something to look forward to. Without the reward of monetary compensation, the morale on payday may be a bit low. It may be easy to spot fellow students supplementing their income with part time jobs and be a bit envious. Remember to keep your eyes on the prize and remember all of the goals that you have made for your career.

Ready to find an internship in Rhode Island?  Visit to find local internship opportunities for free!

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Bridge is a program that focuses on connecting employers and students in Rhode Island. The goal of Bridge is to match Rhode Island employers with talented students looking to gain valuable professional experience. Applying knowledge and skills acquired in college to a professional setting is a vital component of a student’s college education. Students who gain relevant internship experience are better prepared for full-time employment after graduation. By hiring interns, employers gain qualified, career-driven young professionals as employees. Student bring with them exposure to cutting edge practices and technology, new insights and philosophies, flexibility and a thirst for knowledge. bRIdge has a particular focus on connecting students and employers from specialized fields such as Business, Science, IT, Technology, Health, Design, Engineering and Manufacturing. The bRIdge website allows employers to post paid or unpaid internships online and directly reach out to a vast and talented pool of students. College students and recent graduates can sign up and start looking for an appropriate professional learning opportunity in minutes. bRIdge is a program of the Rhode Island Student Loan Authority (RISLA) and RISLA’s College Planning Center of Rhode Island. RISLA has joined up with Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Rhode Island (AICURI), the Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher Education (RIBGHE) and the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce to bring together academia, business and community. If you have any questions about this program or if you need any assistance, please feel free to contact us.

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