Monday, May 10, 2010

Lulu's Mailbag: What should I expect for beginning intern pay?

I recently got this question from reader B:

I came across your blog while searching for "average pay for summer architecture intern" and I have to say it has a ton of fantastic information for architecture students. Thanks for taking the time for putting this information out there, as it is valuable experience that can't be found anywhere else on the web.

I'm finishing up my 3rd year of a 5-year professional degree at [school name]. My main question for you and one that I hope you can address on your blog is what to expect as far as pay for a summer architecture internship as a student still in school. It's a question that many employers will ask before they hire an intern and I can never gage an appropriate amount for my experience level. The internship after my first year of schooling paid me $10/hr, which was pretty generous and the internship after my second year was a monthly stipend of $300/month for a part-time position. Do you have any suggestions or advice?

A very good question indeed, B. Let's start way, way back in 2000. My starting wage back in that year, fresh out of graduate school, was $14.50 an hour, which amounted to a tad over $30,000/year before taxes. I recall sitting in on an intern's performance and pay review back in late 2007, and I recall that her raise bumped her up to $19.50 an hour. That intern was still in school, but she had a year or two's worth of experience.

If you're still in school and just looking for summer work experience, I would say to look for at least $14/hour, but frankly in this economy, I would take what you can get. If you can find a position, go for it--it may not be wads of cash, but anything past your third year of school counts towards your IDP requirements, so keep good records of everything you do and make sure your supervisor knows that you're keeping these records and will confirm your experience on your behalf. (And if you haven't already open your record with IDP, now would be a good time. Just don't forget to record your experience every six months!)

I've also received a couple of resumes that I need to mark up and review and post--I'm working on it, believe me! In the meantime, if you have a question or a topic you'd like to see discussed here, let me know in the comments or via email in the sidebar. Thanks!


  1. Quick update on this article. NCARB's requirements have changed and now internship during any part of your education is eligible for IDP credit.

  2. Unknown: Thanks for the update! You're right--NCARB has changed the rules so that any experience is valid, as long as you're supervised by and in a setting complying with NCARB's rules. This is a huge step for interns, and I'm glad they made the change.