Want to make $7,000 per month? Get an internship…

What do summer internships pay these days? Nothing? Minimum wage? Ten bucks an hour? Try $7,000 per month. You didn’t read that wrong.

Palantir, a Palo Alto tech firm pays its summer interns $7,000 a month. While that’s unusual, it’s not unique. A recent survey by the jobs website Glassdoor.com, found seven companies currently paying college interns more than $6,000 per month. That’s equivalent to earning $72,000 per year! It should come as no surprise that all of these big summer spenders are technology firms.

The eighth ranked internship pay program was energy giant ExxonMobil, which pays interns $5,972 per month. These are just mind blowing rates for work that used to be performed for free in exchange from the chance to gain real world experience and connections in one’s chosen field.

A couple more amazing facts from the Glassdoor survey:

Only six of the top paying internship programs were NOT technology firms. Black Rock and Capital One are finance/investment firms. The other four were energy behemoths ExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, and Schlumberger.

The 25th highest paying internship (at Schlumberger) pays an annualized salary of $55,608 – or about $2,562 more than the median US household income.

You can check out the whole survey for yourself.

The composition of this list leads me to believe you can identify the most profitable college majors pretty quickly: computer science, chemistry, geology, petroleum engineering, etc.

This study provides more support for my argument that young people should do a cost/benefit analysis before beginning their college search. Students and parents should think carefully about what the student hopes to accomplish with their studies -- and in life -- before making a multi-year investment in tuition. Education opens the mind and expands one’s horizons in every aspect of life. But in the current economy not all degrees can guarantee employment, let alone a huge return on investment.