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9 internships that pay better than "real" jobs

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The traditional internship in the U.S. was once a low-wage, or even unpaid, rite of passage for college students, who spent their summers answering phones or making coffee.

How times have changed.

The top internships at some of America's biggest businesses today pay far more than the typical worker earns on a monthly basis. If these summer positions were year-round roles, the highest-paying internship would provide annual pay of almost $100,000, according to a new study from employment site Glassdoor.

Summer interns at these top-paying companies are given tasks that provide real opportunities and responsibilities, such as working on marketing projects or designing software programs. So where can students find these plum assignments? Look to the tech industry, which tends to pays its interns generously.

So-called STEM professions (science, technology, engineering or mathematics) are increasingly pulling away from jobs that don't require the same level of specialized expertise and training. Internships are no exception, with tech-related interns more likely to earn generous pay during their summer breaks than arts or humanities students.

All of the top-paying internships include monthly paychecks that are higher than the typical American's monthly earnings of about $4,300, according to Glassdoor.

Read on to learn about the 9 highest-paying summer internships.

9. Yahoo: $6,080

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Internet pioneer Yahoo (YHOO) may have lost its hipness quotient, but the company is paying competitive rates to make sure it attracts good internship candidates. One Yahoo executive told Glassdoor that there aren't any "fake projects" or mail sorting for interns, who instead will find jobs in departments such as robotics and social media.

Yahoo is expected to become part of Verizon (VZ) this summer, when the telecommunications giant closes on its $4.8 billion acquisition of its core Internet business. Yahoo and Verizon's AOL unit will be rebranded as Oath.

8. Yelp: $6,400

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The review site hires about 150 interns teach year, according to Glassdoor. Interns can work as either a software developer, product manager or a design intern, with the company noting that its interns have a "significant impact" on the company's engineering team.

7. Bloomberg LP: $6,400

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The financial media and data company founded by former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg not only pays well, but also says a summer at the company opens up the possibility of interviewing for a full-time job. Interns at the company praised its benefits and beautiful office space, according to Glassdoor.

6. Apple: $6,400

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Apple (AAPL) interns told Glassdoor they like the company's supportive teammates and managers, as well as the innovative culture of the iPhone maker. "It's run like a series of small startups instead of a global company, makes it very easy to take ownership of work," one intern wrote of their experience in hardware engineering.

5. Amazon: $6,400

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The internet retailing giant asks its interns to work on "challenging problems," according to Glassdoor. Amazon (AMZN) interns also receive a guided mentorship and a senior leader presentation series.

"Great supervisor, great benefits, great location, great work experience. I learned a ton in this position that I believe will serve me well in future endeavors," a former human resources intern wrote on Glassdoor.

4. Salesforce: $6,450

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Cloud computing company Salesforce (CRM) offers job shadowing, mentorship programs and talent development programs as part of its internship program, Glassdoor notes.

One former intern wrote in a review, "Salesforce truly does a great job of making you feel like a part of the team, they have been very helpful throughout my career."

3. ExxonMobil: $6,507

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ExxonMobil (XOM) assigns coordinators to work with interns, who are assigned defined tasks to work on over the summer. The jobs are designed to give students a sense of what it's like to work in an entry-level job at the company, which provides internships in fields ranging from engineering to economics.

"Great place to start and develop a career. There is a major focus on professional development and management takes your interests very seriously," a former software development intern at Exxon said of their experience.

2. Microsoft: $7,100

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The software giant is looking for interns in software development or among students who are majoring in computer science, electrical engineering or computer engineering. Its "Explore Microsoft" 12-week summer internships are geared toward freshman and sophomores, the company said.

"Probably has the best intern benefits out there. Intern events are amazing. I've had great mentors. It's a great time to join Microsoft in the midst of its reinvention," one former software engineering intern wrote.

1. Facebook: $8,000

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The social-network giant ranks as the best-paying company for summer interns. Aside from the pay, perks like free food and housing may appeal to college students.

Facebook (FB) currently has 64 internship posts available on Glassdoor in locations ranging from London to Silicon Valley. Roles include internships involving machine perception, software engineering and machine learning.

On an annual basis, Facebook interns would earn the equivalent of a $96,000 salary.