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Unpaid Internships in Architecture

Introduction

Internships are really valuable especially early on in your career and when you are studying then a summer internship is going to be a big help. As the process of becoming an Architect takes so long, maybe 5 to 7 years at school plus a couple of years of internship plus some exams sprinkled throughout that time its important to pick up some real world experience as you go. But many firms offer Internships without any pay which is controversial. I have tried to lay out the arguments below from both sides with some practical advise for those looking for Internships.

Don’t Work for Free

The short answer to whether you should take an unpaid internship if you are offered one is don’t! No really just don’t do it no one should be working for free not even for good experience. I have tried to provide a summary of all the arguments, where the profession stands in different countries and some resources to hep you when you are applying for these posts.

Background

Unpaid internships in the Architectural profession, depending on the country you live in, are still quite common. In the UK a 2012 Student earnings survey found that 11% of students were unpaid. In the U.S.A. the (NACE) survey of 2017 showed 43% of all interns (not just Architects) were unpaid so it happens everywhere but the level differs greatly, and it’s still quite common even in countries where it is nominally illegal.

Thankfully these types of positions are getting more and more uncommon but they are still around and the more prestigious the firm often the more tempting it is for you to accept an unpaid position with them as a way of getting better experience and padding your CV.

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