Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Can You Live in LA on an Intern's Salary?

Let's talk about pay. I know, I know, you are all very excited to find out how much these internships pay. After all, it's kind of a big deal. But can you live off the salary? 

I know many of you are out of state and will move to the LA area for the duration of your internship. But will be able to afford the move, food, and shelter during your stay? The quick answer, probably not. And here's why. 

Intern salaries in the industry range from $9 and hour, Cali minimum wage, to $20 (Disney Imagineering). Generally internships pay $10 an hour at companies like Viacom and Sony. Of course, tax will take about 10% of your salary. On average you will make about $200-something a week. Don't forget that you will not get paid for a week or two after you start your internships!

During the Fall/Spring semesters, your hours will range from 10-24 hours a week (part time). Although some internships are full-time. In the Summer semester, you will be expected to work full-time anywhere from 24-40 hours a week. 

Rent in LA, while better than San Fran and New York, is NOT cheap. We are the home of luxury apartment complexes. It's actually a huge problem. You can get more info about finding affordable internship housing here.  

Generally, Studio apartments cost about $1300 a month. And if you can find multi-room apartments with roommates, it will likely be about $800 a month. Groceries are about $30-50 dollars a week. If you eat out most days your lunch is about $30 a week. Throw business clothing on top of that, gas, parking (yes, you do often have to pay for parking in LA), going out, drinks, and midnight Krispy Kreme donut runs. 

The fact of the matter is...unless you have a very strict budget and adhere to it, you are going to need some financial assistance to have a paid internship in LA. I'm very very sorry. However, good news! You will likley only need a stipend of $200-400 a month. And, if you are likley enough to score a full-time internship at one of the best paying companies (Disney/ABC), you will likley be able to afford it all your self!

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© No Experience Required Maira Gall.