The Pros and Cons of Unpaid Internships

The Pros and Cons of Unpaid Internships

Paid and unpaid internships can provide students with relevant work experience in their field of choice. But while both opportunities offer knowledge and training, only one rewards you with a paycheck.

Although paid internships are more common, it doesn’t mean everyone can land one. So if you want the experience and don’t want to pass up a chance to beef up your resume, you may have to work for free. Spending several months at an unpaid internship can be difficult, especially if you’re already carrying debt, dealing with high living expenses, or need to work a paying job.

Whether interns should be paid or not is an ongoing debate with a lot to consider before committing to one. Find out about the pros and cons of an unpaid internship to see if it’s worth the investment.

What Is an Unpaid Internship?

An unpaid internship is a temporary work arrangement offered to graduate or college students, or as internships for high school students, so they can gain training and knowledge by working in their area of interest. Interns are able to perform duties related to their chosen career, observe professionals in a workplace setting, and receive direct guidance from mentors.

These non-compensated arrangements differ from an apprenticeship, which is designed to provide hands-on training in a specific trade or industry. Apprenticeships are paid and wage increases occur as new skills are acquired.

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Are Unpaid Internships Legal?

Yes, according to the The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which states that “for-profit” employers must pay employees for their work. However, interns and students may not be “employees,” in which case the law doesn’t require payment for their work. If an internship qualifies as paid, companies must pay their interns at least minimum wage for their services plus any overtime.

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How Do Unpaid Internships Work?

Unpaid internships typically require you to work for a specific period of time during the school year or during the summer. The program may ask you to work on site, but with the increase in some employees working from home, remote internships have become more of a possibility.

Before you start your internship, you’ll likely discuss what you’ll be doing and when you’ll be able to work with your supervisor. Since you’re not being compensated, you’ll probably have more flexibility with scheduling.

It’s important to remember an unpaid internship isn’t volunteer work and should be more beneficial to you than the business or organization. After all, the reason you’re there is to receive training and education you simply can’t get by sitting in a classroom.

Pros of Taking Unpaid Internships

Building your professional resume can be priceless and let’s face it, your calling card once you hit the job market. Besides offering exposure to what it will be like working in your specialty, you’ll build potentially lifelong connections with people who may be able to open doors for you down the road.

There are many ways an unpaid internship can help prepare you for future career success. Here are some significant advantages:

Getting Valuable Experience

As an intern, you’ll get actual hands-on training that attracts future employers. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), applicants with industry internship experience have a leg up when it comes to employers’ hiring decisions.

Working as an intern allows you to develop crucial skills you’ll need in a professional setting, such as how to communicate effectively and collaborate with others. These abilities can make you even more of a stand out to prospective employers.

Valuable experience gained from an internship isn’t exclusive to undergrads. Already have your degree? You can still build upon your knowledge with an unpaid post graduate internship. These secondary education opportunities allow you to keep actively learning while you’re pursuing full-time employment or, if you want some down time after graduation.

Networking Equals Potential Opportunity

Making connections is one of the most important things you can do to grow your career. In fact, an estimated 80% of all positions are filled through networking. Many jobs aren’t publicly advertised so if you’ve left a positive impression, you may be the first person your past internship boss calls when a job opens up. Even if your internship doesn’t culminate in employment, building a solid network and maintaining relationships can pay off if you need a future job reference, letter of recommendation, mentoring, or career advice.

Companies Offering College Credit

Many companies will offer unpaid internships for college credits as compensation for your work. Knowing you’re receiving credits towards your degree, which can be a form of currency in its own right, may help justify the decision to take an unpaid internship.

Working in a Relevant Field

Internships give a preview of what it may be like working in your area of expertise, placing you in an environment where you’re exposed to the latest technology, industry norms, and business culture. With some concrete training spent working in your field, you may be more likely to be hired compared to someone with zero internship experience or those who have interned in an unrelated field.

Helps With Making Future Career Decisions

During an unpaid internship, you may come to the realization your selected career isn’t all you imagined. In this case, you could save yourself from wasting valuable time in the future and start exploring other career options. On the other hand, your internship could crystallize how much you love what you’re doing, validating you’ve made the right choice.

You may also decide to continue on with your education as something to do after college instead of entering the job market right away. This could be an ideal time to fit in an unpaid internship before pursuing a graduate degree.

Recommended: How to Make a Budget in 5 Steps

Cons of Taking Unpaid Internships

The main cons of unpaid internships center around the obvious: no financial compensation for your efforts. Unpaid internships can also create barriers for disadvantaged or low-income students, possibly eliminating some extremely qualified candidates from gaining training and having a shot at making a serious contribution to a company.

Consider these downsides when thinking about applying for unpaid internship:

No Money for Your Hard Work

Strapped with tuition and other college-related costs, many students simply can’t work without pay. Participating in an unpaid internship can require commuting or even relocation during the summer months, increasing your need to have money in a bank account or earning it at another job.

Often Not Receiving Company Benefits

As an unpaid intern and temporary worker, you’re not entitled to the same benefits of a paid employee, such as paid vacation days, medical insurance, or the ability to contribute to a 401(k). Performing duties similar to a permanent employee’s and not gleaning any of the perks may also lead to feeling resentful, unappreciated, or lonely, especially if you’re the only one working while employees get to leave early for a three-day holiday weekend.

Possible Inequalities in the Workplace

Student interns who aren’t paid may find themselves doing more menial tasks and feel looked down upon by other employees. Staffers may be dismissive, impatient, condescending, or exclude them from conversations because they’re the intern.

One major criticism of unpaid internships concerns the perpetuation of socioeconomic and racial inequities. For example, the National Association of Colleges and Employers 2023 study found that white students were more likely to have paid internships than Hispanic or Black students.

Potential Lower Future Income

Showing you’re willing to work for free may give employers the idea you might accept a lesser amount compared to someone who had a paid internship. Making this assumption on their part could lead to a lower salary offer.

Recent research by the Strada Education Network found having a paid internship as an undergraduate is linked with a predicted increase in annual wages of $3,096 just one year after graduation. Unpaid internships, practicums and cooperative learning aren’t associated with higher earnings post-graduation, the study reports.

Are Unpaid Internships Worth It?

Of course, it’s an individual choice based on a student’s particular circumstances, but unpaid internships can be worthwhile. Even if you’re not being compensated, these situations can provide training you can only get by working with professionals and mentors. Taking an unpaid internship could take the pressure off some of the expectations, duties, and necessary time commitment you’re more likely to have as a paid intern.

The Takeaway

An unpaid internship can pay off in significant ways such as offering college credits, meeting and networking with people in your field, and providing solid work experience to bolster your resume. Unpaid internships can also help you decide whether or not you’re on the right career path. But, interning without compensation can pose some major challenges for those who can’t afford to work for free. Before applying, think through the pros and cons to help you determine your best route to working toward your career and financial goals.

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FAQ

Are unpaid internships exploitation?

A criticism of unpaid internship programs is that they take advantage of a student’s free labor without providing any practical experience or educational benefits. While you may be asked to move some boxes or go on a coffee run, an unpaid internship that is not exploitative should mostly involve tasks that expand your skill set and teach you about your future career.

Is there a better workflow if interns are paid?

Interns help boost a company or organization’s workflow regardless, but paid interns may boost workflow more, since being financially compensated is associated with feeling satisfied and valued, which in turn is connected to productivity.

What percentages of companies offer unpaid internships?

Research shows that nearly 41% of interns in the U.S. are unpaid, and 59% are paid.


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30 Low-Stress Jobs for Introverts Without a Degree

30 Best Jobs for Introverts

People who are introverts can succeed in almost any job that interests them. Contrary to what many people might think, introverts aren’t necessarily shy, but they do like working independently or in small groups. They typically are drawn to inner thoughts and ideas versus focusing on external matters. In addition, they may prefer having some quiet time to reflect and recharge instead of a job that requires nonstop meetings.

Thankfully, there are plenty of jobs that can suit this personality type and offer a challenging and fulfilling career path. Read on to learn more about this topic.

What Makes the Ideal Job for an Introvert?

According to conventional psychology, introverts prefer to spend time with just one or two people, rather than larger groups or crowds. They’re not necessarily loners; in fact, many introverts have highly developed social skills. However, introverts tend to gravitate toward situations and environments where they feel less pressure to react or respond quickly or to engage with multiple people (say, constantly leading major team meetings).

An ideal job for an introvert may allow them to:

•   Work independently

•   Work alone or in quiet spaces that allow them to think and deploy their analytical and decision-making skills

•   Focus on one task at a time

•   Engage one-on-one (or “one on a few”) instead of in large groups

•   Leverage their empathy and creativity

What Kind of Work Does Not Fit an Introvert

As noted above, jobs that require a lot of collaboration with or presentations to large groups of people may not be a great fit for introverted people. Introverts are likely to be less comfortable with jobs that involve loads of group brainstorm sessions or that require them to regularly verbalize their thoughts and feelings to multiple people at once.


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30 Jobs for Introverts Without a Degree

Finding a rewarding job as an introvert means finding a career that suits your interests and caters to your inner-directed personality type, as described above.

Here are 30 jobs that can be a great match for introverts, with salary information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

1. Web Developer or Digital Designer

•   2023 Median Salary: $92,750

•   Primary Duties: This career is all about the design, coding, and development of websites for optimal performance and user experience. This could be a job where an introvert works solo all day, or it might involve small team collaborations. With its union of creativity and analytical insights, web development can be a great option for introverts.

2. Farmer or Rancher

•   2023 Median Salary: $83,770

•   Primary Duties: The image of farmers and ranchers working solo in wide open spaces is iconic. While that can be true, this career may involve some interaction with others on a work team. Primary duties are overseeing the production of crops, livestock, and dairy products.

3. Psychologist

•   2023 Median Salary: $92,740

•   Primary Duties: Psychologists can work in a variety of settings, from a medical center to private practice, but the field involves assessing and supporting cognitive and emotional wellness. This can be a very rewarding career for introverts who want to channel their empathy and social skills.

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4. Plumber, Pipefitter, or Steamfitter

•   2023 Median Salary: $61,550

•   Primary Duties: This career is all about installing and repairing pipe fixtures. There aren’t many meetings, nor lots of large-group interactions. Introverts can enjoy the focus and problem-solving this job demands.

5. Postal Service Worker

•   2023 Median Salary: $56,510

•   Primary Duties: Typically, this work involves collecting, sorting, and delivering mail to businesses and private residences or else helping post office customers. It can give introverts the opportunity to work alone or have small-scale interactions.

6. Social Worker

•   2023 Median Salary: $58,380

•   Primary Duties: Social workers help people resolve problems in their lives. Introverts who are empathetic listeners, enjoy helping others, and find lots of one-on-one interaction satisfying will likely enjoy social work.

7. HVAC Technician

•   2023 Median Salary: $57,300

•   Primary Duties: This job requires workers to assemble and repair heating, cooling, and ventilation systems. It can suit the mechanically inclined and those who like to be immersed in hands-on problem solving.

8. Environmental Scientist

•   2023 Median Salary: $78,980

•   Primary Duties: In this job, a person uses their knowledge of nature to improve the environment and human health. It can involve time in the outdoors and the lab, with opportunities to focus on and interpret research data.

9. Delivery Truck Driver

•   2023 Median Salary: $39,950

•   Primary Duties: For those who like lots of solo time and the feeling of being on the open road, being a delivery truck driver can be a dream job. Duties involve the pickup, transport, and delivery of packages or goods from one location to another.

10. Writer or Author

•   2023 Median Salary: $73,690

•   Primary Duties: Writing is a diverse career, ranging from writing fiction books to completing technical writing for manufacturers. It can allow an introvert to explore a particular passion of theirs in print and often involves a good amount of independent work.

11. Librarian

•   2023 Median Salary: $64,370

•   Primary Duties: This can be a fulfilling career for introverts; most interactions involve collaborating with individuals seeking help with research. Plus, it taps both creativity and problem-solving skills and usually has a not too frenetic pace. Bonus: Librarians tend to work in very quiet environments.

12. Physician

•   2023 Median Salary: $236,000

•   Primary Duties: This demanding career requires a high level of training. With a salary well into the six figures, this is one of the highest paying jobs on our list. It offers the rewarding work of interacting one-on-one with patients and other members of a medical team to help people achieve optimal health and to treat illnesses.

13. Roofer

•   2023 Median Salary: $50,030

•   Primary Duties: For introverts who value independence and enjoy problem solving, being a roofer can be a good fit. Most of the workday is spent replacing, repairing, and installing roofs on buildings and houses. Working remotely is not an option.

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14. Surveying and Mapping Technician

•   2023 Median Salary: $48,940

•   Primary Duties: Collecting data and taking land measurements in order to create maps of the Earth’s surface is a unique job, melding creative and analytical pursuits. It’s unlikely to involve many large meetings and can give introverts the “think time” they love.

15. Mechanic

•   2023 Median Salary: $51,940

•   Primary Duties: This job can be a good fit for those who like to work with their hands and problem-solve with a small team as they troubleshoot and repair automobiles and other forms of transportation.

16. Bookkeeper

•   2023 Median Salary: $47,440

•   Primary Duties: Love a good spreadsheet and balancing finances? Being a bookkeeper can provide satisfying work for those who enjoy working with numbers. The role also has potential as a work-at-home job for retirees.

17. Interpreter or Translator

•   2023 Median Salary: $57,090

•   Primary Duties: Provided one has deep knowledge of a foreign language, this can be a solid job for introverts, collaborating one-on-one or in small groups to convert one language into another. Some jobs may strictly involve texts versus in-person interaction.

18. Software Quality Assurance Analyst or Tester

•   2023 Median Salary: $101,800

•   Primary Duties: Techies, this one is for you: This path typically involves testing software to identify and debug problems or to learn how the software works. This can offer plenty of focused work time.

19. Marketing Manager

•   2023 Median Salary: $156,580

•   Primary Duties: This potentially high-earning career focuses on managing outreach to build a business or a brand. This can tap an introvert’s creativity and analytical skills. Small team meetings and travel to meet with clients may be part of the job.

20. Photographer

•   2023 Median Salary: $40,760

•   Primary Duties: Photographers produce, shoot, and potentially edit (hello, Photoshop!) images for personal or professional use. It’s a highly creative pursuit that may suit an introvert’s personality type.

21. Proofreader

•   2023 Median Salary: $48,790

•   Primary Duties: This can be a satisfying job, tapping an introvert’s analytical abilities and giving them space to think as they read content and correct spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors. Proofreading is usually a quiet, somewhat solitary profession.

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22. Landscaper

•   2023 Median Salary: $37,360

•   Primary Duties: There’s not too much large group interaction if you’re a landscaper. Workdays are spent maintaining outdoor grounds by mowing, trimming, planting, watering, fertilizing, raking, and other methods.

23. Physician Assistant (PA)

•   2023 Median Salary: $130,020

•   Primary Duties: Assisting both physicians and patients can put an introvert’s empathy and technical know-how to good use. It does require specialized training: A PA is one step below doctor and a step above nurse — similar to a nurse practitioner.

24. Animal Trainer

•   2023 Median Salary: $44,910

•   Primary Duties: Dog, horse, and other animal lovers may find this to be an ideal career, with time spent teaching animals obedience and staying calm, and assisting people.

25. Medical Transcriptionist

•   2023 Median Salary: $37,060

•   Primary Duties: Medical transcriptionists, as the name indicates, transcribe voice recordings from physicians and nurses and convert them into written reports. This can provide a career with plenty of “quiet time” for detail-oriented introverts.

26. Floral Designer

•   2023 Median Salary: $34,690

•   Primary Duties: A floral designer can spend their days arranging decorative displays using live, dried, or silk flowers, which can be a creative endeavor without too many big meetings.

27. Data Scientist

•   2023 Median Salary: $108,020

•   Primary Duties: Data scientists deploy analytical tools and techniques to pull valuable insights from data. This is a growing field in today’s digitized world.

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28. Teacher

•   2023 Median Salary: $64,390

•   Primary Duties: Teachers and instructors are responsible for helping students of different ages learn various topics and skills. The job may tap an introvert’s empathy, and it may involve small meetings with students or their parents. Bonus: Teaching can be one of those jobs that pay off student loans through the Public Student Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program.

29. Hand Sewer

•   2023 Media Salary: $32,240

•   Primary Duties: Technically speaking, this job is about sewing and finishing items with needle and thread. It can suit craft-oriented, creative, and independent workers who like the mental space it provides.

30. Accountant

•   2023 Mean Salary: $79,880

•   Primary Duties: An accountant prepares or reviews financial records, tapping their analytical skills. This career can incorporate interactions with individual clients or businesses, which may suit introverts well.

Recommended: 25 Best Jobs for Extroverts That Pay Well

The Takeaway

There are many challenging and satisfying jobs that can suit introverts, from writer to data scientist to physician. In fact, many high-paying and rewarding jobs are well-suited to the personality traits of an introverted person.
Introvert or not, everyone can benefit from better budget planning and tools that give you back control of your finances.

Take control of your finances with SoFi. With our financial insights and credit score monitoring tools, you can view all of your accounts in one convenient dashboard. From there, you can see your various balances, spending breakdowns, and credit score. Plus you can easily set up budgets and discover valuable financial insights — all at no cost.

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FAQ

What are good jobs for introverts?

There are many jobs that suit introverts well and leverage their empathy, creativity, and analytical skills. These can include being a research librarian, physician, or landscaper, among other careers.

Is self-employment good for introverts with anxiety?

Self-employment can be a good fit for introverts who experience anxiety working with large teams or with multiple people. However, self-employment can also create stress if it requires you to find your own clients or manage a large workload on your own.

What is a good job for someone with introverted qualities?

Jobs that allow you to work independently and in quiet environments at least some of the time are generally better for introverts, as are those that involve one-on-one interaction versus large group meetings.


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*Terms and conditions apply. This offer is only available to new SoFi users without existing SoFi accounts. It is non-transferable. One offer per person. To receive the rewards points offer, you must successfully complete setting up Credit Score Monitoring. Rewards points may only be redeemed towards active SoFi accounts, such as your SoFi Checking or Savings account, subject to program terms that may be found here: SoFi Member Rewards Terms and Conditions. SoFi reserves the right to modify or discontinue this offer at any time without notice.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

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25 High-Paying Trade Jobs in Demand for 2022

25 High-Paying Trade Jobs in Demand

With the cost of higher education out of reach for many, more young people are flocking to high-paying trade jobs that don’t require a bachelor’s degree. Many of these jobs not only pay well, but are typically in high demand through unpredictable job markets or economic conditions.

What Is a Trade Job?

A trade job is a profession that doesn’t require a college degree, but rather a specialized skill or skill set obtained through a trade school or on-the-job experience and training. Popular trade jobs include construction managers, technicians, dental hygienists, mechanics, commercial pilots, and real estate brokers.

Pros of a Skilled Trade Job

A skilled trade job can be an attractive career path for a couple of reasons:

Educational Requirements

Unlike careers that require a college degree, which can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and take four years to complete, trade jobs can often be obtained with less than two years of specialized education and at a fraction of the cost. Some trade jobs do not require any supplemental education at all, allowing trade workers to earn a living without being saddled by any student loan debt.

Recommended: Is the Average College Tuition Rising?

Job Security

Many trade jobs are in high demand due to the specialized knowledge and skilled physical labor needed to perform them. They are also potentially at lower risk of outsourcing or automation because they require a physically present human.

Cons of a Skilled Trade Job

On the other hand, there are negative connotations with some trade jobs, including:

Physically Demanding

Trade jobs that involve a lot of labor, like HVAC technicians, construction workers, and mechanics, can take a physical toll over the course of a long career.

Potentially Dangerous

Certain trade jobs have high injury and mortality rates, particularly ones that involve the operation of heavy machinery or working in hazardous environments.

25 Trade Jobs That Make the Most Money

Despite conventional wisdom that a bachelor’s or master’s degree is required to earn a good salary, trade jobs can pay very well. In fact, some of the highest-paying jobs in certain states are skilled trades.

Here are 25 of the highest-paying trade jobs in 2023, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:

1. Transportation, Storage, and Distribution Manager

•   2023 Median Annual Salary: $99,200

•   Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent; 5+ years of work experience

•   Job Description: Supervising and coordinating the transportation, storage, testing, and shipping of materials or products in accordance with government regulations.

•   Duties:

◦   Supervising workers involved in receiving or shipping

◦   Inspecting warehouse and equipment safety

◦   Analyzing logistics and collaborating with other departments

2. Elevator/Escalator Installers & Repairer

•   2023 Median Annual Salary: $102,420

•   Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent; apprenticeship; license (certain states)

•   Job Description: Assemble, install, maintain, and fix elevators, escalators, chairlifts and other moving walkways and equipment. In addition to understanding the mechanics and components of each system, they are typically involved in the physical repair or replacement of parts, as well as testing equipment to ensure it meets specifications.

•   Duties:

◦   Assembling elevators, escalators, and similar units

◦   Conducting preventative maintenance and inspections

◦   Maintaining service records

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3. Nuclear Power Reactor Operator

•   2023 Median Annual Salary: $120,350

•   Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent; long-term on-the-job training; U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission license

•   Job Description: Responsible for controlling and maintaining the systems that generate and distribute power to businesses, homes, or factories. This can include electricity generated through gas, nuclear, hydroelectric, wind, or solar energy.

•   Duties:

◦   Monitoring voltage and electricity grids

◦   Adjusting control rods and electricity output

◦   Recording systems data

Recommended: Tips for Using a Credit Card Responsibly

4. Radiation Therapist

•   2023 Median Annual Salary: $98,300

•   Requirements: Associate degree (preferred) or certificate; state and national license

•   Job Description: Administer radiation therapy to patients with cancer and other illnesses.

•   Duties:

◦   Explain treatment plans to patients

◦   Calibrate and operate radiation machinery

◦   Monitor patient and keep records of treatment

5. Subway and Streetcar Operator

•   2023 Median Annual Salary: $84,270

•   Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent; moderate on-the-job training; local transit training program (varies by location)

•   Job Description: Operate subways and aboveground street cars, ensuring passengers safely move from one location to another.

•   Duties:

◦   Operate train controls

◦   Make announcements and provide verbal directions to passengers

◦   Ensure overall passenger safety

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6. Nuclear Medicine Technologist

•   2023 Median Annual Salary: $92,500

•   Requirements: Associate degree from an accredited nuclear medicine technology program; state license; long-term on-the-job training

•   Job Description: Prepare and administer radioactive drugs for imaging or treatment, typically within hospitals, medical labs, and care centers.

•   Duties:

◦   Explain medical procedures to patients

◦   Prep and administer drugs to patients

◦   Maintain and operate imaging equipment

7. Gas Plant Operator

•   2023 Median Annual Salary: $82,560

•   Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent; long-term on-the-job training

•   Job Description: Oversee the day-to-day operations of industrial power plants used by utilities, oil and gas, and manufacturing companies.

•   Duties:

◦   Maintaining equipment and machinery

◦   Ensuring compliance with safety and regulatory standards

◦   Supervising employees and contractors at the plant

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8. Dental Hygienist

•   2023 Median Annual Salary: $87,530

•   Education Requirements: Associate degree; state license

•   Job Description: Examine patients for oral diseases and provide preventative care and education about oral hygiene.

•   Duties:

◦   Taking dental x-rays

◦   Assisting dentists in providing teeth cleaning and plaque removal

◦   Educating patients about oral hygiene techniques

9. Sonography Technician

•   2023 Median Annual Salary: $81,350

•   Requirements: Associate degree; state license

•   Job Description: Operate sonographs that produce images of the inside of a body in order to assess and diagnose medical conditions.

•   Duties:

◦   Prepping and administering sonograph exams

◦   Reviewing images and test results for quality

◦   Analyzing diagnostic information and providing summaries for physicians

10. Electrical Line Installer and Repairer

•   2023 Median Annual Salary: $85,420

•   Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent; long-term on-the-job training

•   Job Description: Install and repair electrical power systems and telecommunications systems.

•   Duties:

◦   Installing, inspecting, and testing power lines, and equipment

◦   Identifying defective devices, transformers, and switches

◦   Stringing power lines between buildings and structures

11. Construction Manager

•   2023 Median Annual Salary: $104,900

•   Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent; 5+ years of experience

•   Job Description: Supervise and coordinate the activities of construction workers.

•   Duties:

◦   Overseeing construction projects from start to finish

◦   Scheduling and supervising on-site contractors

◦   Preparing and monitoring budgets

12. Aircraft Technician

•   2023 Median Annual Salary: $75,400

•   Requirements: Certificate of completion from a Part 147 FAA-approved aviation maintenance technician school

•   Job Description: Repair and perform maintenance on aircraft and aircraft equipment.

•   Duties:

◦   Diagnosing mechanical and electrical issues

◦   Repairing aircraft components

◦   Testing aircraft parts with diagnostic equipment

13. Boilermaker

•   2023 Median Annual Salary: $71,140

•   Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent; apprenticeship

•   Job Description: Assemble, maintain, and repair boilers, vats, or other containers used to hold liquids and gas.

•   Duties:

◦   Reading blueprints to determine where to position boiler parts

◦   Assembling boiler tankers using welding machines

◦   Cleaning boiling vats and replacing broken valves and pipes

14. Wellhead Pumper

•   2023 Median Annual Salary: $71,830

•   Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent; moderate on-the-job training

•   Job Description: Operate power pumps and equipment used to extract oil or gas from an oil field well.

•   Duties:

◦   Assembling pumps and attach hoses to wellheads

◦   Operating pumps and monitoring flow

◦   Transferring oil to storage tank or truck

15. Electronic Engineering Technologist

•   2023 Median Annual Salary: $72,800

•   Requirements: Associate degree (preferred); certificate from accredited program

•   Job Description: Assist electrical engineers with the design and development of communications equipment, computers, medical devices, and other electric-powered equipment.

•   Duties:

◦   Designing and assembling electrical systems

◦   Observing onsite systems placement and performance

◦   Performing quality control and identify issues

16. Real Estate Agents

•   2023 Median Annual Salary: $54,300

•   Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent; licensing exam

•   Job Description: Help clients buy, sell, or rent their properties.

•   Duties:

◦   Generating lists of properties for sale or rent and showing them to clients

◦   Advising clients on prices, mortgages, and market conditions

◦   Facilitating buyer/seller negotiations and final purchase or rental agreements

17. Respiratory Therapist

•   2023 Median Annual Salary: $77,960

•   Requirements: Associate degree

•   Job Description: Provide care for patients having trouble breathing.

•   Duties:

◦   Examining patients and recording symptoms and conditions

◦   Consulting with physicians on treatment

◦   Performing diagnostic tests

18. Building Inspector

•   2023 Median Annual Salary: $67,700

•   Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent

•   Job Description: Review building plans to ensure construction meets local and national regulations and ordinances.

•   Duties:

◦   Monitoring construction to ensure compliance

◦   Inspecting electrical and plumbing systems to ensure they are up to code

◦   Issuing violations for non-compliant work

19. Millwright

•   2023 Median Annual Salary: $62,980

•   Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent

•   Job Description: Install, dismantle, repair, reassemble, and move machinery in factories, power plants, and construction sites.

•   Duties:

◦   Repair or replace malfunctioning equipment

◦   Clean, adjust, and calibrate new machinery

◦   Move machinery and equipment

20. Electrician

•   2023 Median Annual Salary: $61,590

•   Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent; apprenticeship

•   Job Description: Install, maintain, and repair electrical power, communications, lighting, and control systems.

•   Duties:

◦   Identify and repair electrical problems

◦   Install wiring and equipment for electrical systems

◦   Ensure compliance with National Electrical Code

21. Plumber

•   2023 Median Annual Salary: $61,550

•   Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent; apprenticeship

•   Job Description: Install and repair gas and water piping systems in homes, factories, and businesses.

•   Duties:

◦   Identify and repair plumbing problems

◦   Installing pipes and plumbing fixtures

◦   Clean drains, remove obstructions, and repair or replace broken pipes and fixtures

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22. Mining Roof Bolter

•   2023 Median Annual Salary: $66,660

•   Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent; moderate on-the-job training

•   Job Description: Operate machinery to install roof supporting bolts in underground mines.

•   Duties:

◦   Drill bolt holes into roofs

◦   Perform safety checks on bolting equipments

◦   Extract loose rock from bolting support

23. Broadcast, Sound, and Video Technician

•   2023 Median Annual Salary: $54,160

•   Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent; moderate on-the-job training

•   Job Description: Operate and maintain electrical equipment used for television broadcast, radio programs, live concerts, and films.

•   Duties:

◦   Setting up and operating equipment

◦   Monitoring and adjusting audio and visual quality

◦   Repairing equipment and fixing recording issues

24. HVACR Technician

•   2023 Median Annual Salary: $57,300

•   Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent; 6 months to 2 years at a trade school or community college that offers heating, air conditioning, and registration programs.

•   Job Description: Install and perform maintenance on heating, ventilation, cooling and registration systems for buildings and private residences.

•   Duties:

◦   Installing, testing, and repairing HVACR systems

◦   Replacing or repairing defective parts

◦   Conducting overall system maintenance and performance improvements

25. Masonry Worker

•   2023 Median Annual Salary: $53,010

•   Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent; apprenticeship or on-the-job training

•   Job Description: Use brick, concrete, and natural and manmade stones to build structures, walls, or walkways.

•   Duties:

◦   Design blueprints and calculate materials needed

◦   Break or resize materials into required shape

◦   Align, construct and polish finished structures

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The Takeaway

Many trade jobs can offer competitive pay and job security, without a significant upfront educational cost. Moreover, they provide an opportunity to help make a difference by solving real world problems.

Choosing the right career path is an important step toward achieving your financial goals. It’s just as important to practice smart financial habits, like setting spending limits, staying on top of your credit score, and establishing long-term goals.

Take control of your finances with SoFi. With our financial insights and credit score monitoring tools, you can view all of your accounts in one convenient dashboard. From there, you can see your various balances, spending breakdowns, and credit score. Plus you can easily set up budgets and discover valuable financial insights — all at no cost.


See exactly how your money comes and goes at a glance.

FAQ

What skilled trades are in demand?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical sonographers, respiratory therapists, industrial machinery mechanics, security and fire alarm installers are expected to experience the greatest job growth over the next ten years.

What are some of the best trades to learn that pay well?

Transportation managers, elevator installers, nuclear power reactor operators, and radiation therapists all earn a median salary above $80,000.

What are high paying trade jobs that require no degree?

HVAC technicians, real estate agents, subway operators, and plumbers all pay above-average salaries and require no formal degree.


Photo credit: iStock/dima_sidelnikov

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Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

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How Much Does a CPA Exam Cost? How Can I Afford It?

CPA Exam Cost: How Much Is It?

The average cost of the CPA exam is about $2,000, but the exact cost varies for each candidate. The biggest reason for this is that each state has its own board of accountancy, each of which sets its own costs for several items that are needed to sit for the exam.

There are also necessary costs that aren’t tied to the exam itself, such as licensing fees and continuing education costs. If you have to retake or reschedule the exam, you may have to repay registration and examination fees. Plus, the single most expensive part of the process tends to be the review course, the price of which can vary widely.

Passing the CPA exam can be expensive. Fortunately, there are many ways to cover the costs, and the price can be well worth it if you pass the exam.

How Much Does It Cost to Take the CPA Exam?

As just noted, the cost to take the CPA exam is about $2,000, but the final estimate will vary depending upon where you live. Hence, you could end up paying several hundred dollars above or below this amount. However, while the total cost can vary significantly, there are certain items that are common expenses for all exam candidates.

CPA Exam Costs

Application Fee $20 – $200+
Registration Fee $60 – $340+
Background Check $1 – $49
CPA Review Course $1,500 – $3,000+
Examination Fees
Auditing and Attestation (AUD) $226.15 (approx.)
Business Environment and Concepts (BEC) $226.15 (approx.)
Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR) $226.15 (approx.)
Regulation (REG) $226.15 (approx.)
Grand Total $2,485.60 – $4,493.60 (including prep course)

This is a wide range, but that is expected given that the costs can be different from one state to the next. Examination fees shown above are approximate; your state’s fees may be higher or lower.

In addition, the CPA review courses sometimes have tiered pricing, so even two people taking the same course and living in the same state may have different costs. There can be several differences between different tiers of review courses, such as 24-month access versus lifetime access.

Do You Need a Finance Degree to Take the CPA Exam?

Each of the 55 licensing jurisdictions (all 50 states, plus Washington, DC, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and the Mariana Islands) maintains its own licensing requirements. Because of this, each state may have slightly different requirements to sit for the exam.

All 50 states require a bachelor’s degree plus 150 credit hours in order to become a licensed CPA. However, rather than requiring a finance (or accounting) degree, states may require 120 credit hours of college credits plus 30 additional, accounting-specific credit hours to sit for the exam.

Still, you should review your state’s requirements before you begin preparing for the exam. Some states require 30 hours of accounting courses, while others require upper-level accounting courses. Your state or territory’s board of accounting website will list the specific requirements needed to sit for the exam.

Recommended: What Can You Do With a Finance Degree and What Is the Cost?

Other CPA Exam Costs

There isn’t just one fee to sit for the CPA exam; candidates must cover several costs, all of which vary depending upon where you live. This is one of the reasons the cost can be quite different from one state to the next.

Ethics Exam

Your state may require you to take and pass an ethics exam in order to practice there. Some states have their own ethics exams, while others administer the AICPA exam. Currently, the AICPA exam costs $250 – $320 and can vary depending on the course option you select.

Registration Fees

Most states require a registration fee for each of the four exam sections. Fees vary but are generally $75 to $100 per section. Some states also have tiered pricing for registration, allowing you to save money if you register for multiple sections at once. If you choose to register for multiple sections at once, keep in mind that each section is estimated to take four hours, with a total of 16 hours for the entire exam.

Application Fees

Application fees are due when you apply to take the CPA exam. Because each state sets its own fees, these vary but are usually between $100 and $200. The fee is non-refundable, but you usually don’t have to pay the application fee again if you have to retake the exam. However, if your application is rejected, you may have to pay the fee more than once.

CPA Licensure

The CPA licensure fee is only necessary after you pass the exam. This is the fee you pay to your state accountancy board to be a licensed accountant. These fees also vary by state and can run anywhere from $50 to $500. This cost is an annual one, so you should expect to pay the fee every year to maintain your license.

Keep in mind that each state has its own licensing requirements and accountancy board. Hence, if you move out of state, you will have to be licensed in the new state to be recognized as a CPA there.

Background Check

Your state may require you to pass a background check as part of the licensing process. According to NASBA, the fee ranges anywhere from $1 to $49. In the case of California, there is an additional “rolling” fee of $15 for fingerprinting.

Travel and Accommodations

Currently, the CPA exam cannot be taken online; it can only be administered at Prometric Testing Centers. You can find a testing center with Prometric’s Pro Scheduler . Testing centers are only located in select cities, so you may end up spending hundreds of dollars on transportation and accommodations depending on how close you are to a testing center.

International Candidate Credential

If you want to take the exam outside the United States, you may be required to pay additional fees for international candidate credentialing. Most states allow international applicants to sit for the exam, but six states and two territories do not administer it. In addition to any domestic fees, you may also have to pay additional fees of $371.55 for each of the following: Auditing and Attestation (AUD), Business Environment and Concepts (BEC), Financial Accounting, and Reporting (FAR), and Regulation (REG).

Covering CPA Exam Costs

Although the exact cost of the CPA can vary significantly, one thing is for certain: the exam and licensing process is expensive. Fortunately, there are many ways to cover the costs.

Private Student Loan

A private student loan can help you cover some or all of the cost of the CPA exam. For example, SoFi student loans have no fees, come with multiple repayment options, and have low fixed and variable rates. Everything is handled online and the application process is simple.

Private student loans are different from federal student loans. Federal student loans may have more consumer protection, but private student loans may offer more competitive interest rates. Consider both private and federal student loans if you need to finance your CPA exam costs.

Credit Card

You may be able to pay for some or all of your costs with a credit card. In fact, if paying online, payment by credit card may be required for examination fees. The same may be true for application and registration fees.

Exam prep courses are offered by third parties, so you should be able to pay for them with a credit card in most cases.

Personal Savings

Avoid tapping into your emergency fund, but any excess savings can help cover exam costs. If you aren’t able to pay for the entire cost with personal savings, scholarships, grants, and student loans can help you pick up the tab. But personal savings can also be useful, particularly if you still owe money after considering other options.

Scholarships

There are several scholarships available that can help you cover much of the cost of the CPA exam. For instance, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants offers a scholarship of up to $1,000 to exam candidates. Another example is the Newt D. Becker scholarship, worth up to $2,499.

Your state board may also offer scholarships; for example, Wisconsin offers several $2,500 college scholarships to go toward your 150 hours required to sit for the exam. Check with your state board to see if the state offers any additional scholarships.

Employer Reimbursement

Some employers will reimburse you for the cost of the exam itself, review materials, or both. If you work for an accounting firm and the exam is relevant to your job, it’s a good idea to ask whether your employer reimburses these costs.

The Takeaway

There are many costs associated with CPA licensure, from prerequisite coursework all the way to maintaining your license each year. Each of the 55 licensing jurisdictions has its own requirements and fees, so where you live can affect not only licensing requirements but also the cost of the whole process.

However, what is for sure is that becoming a licensed CPA isn’t cheap. The price tag is likely to be four figures, which is high, especially before you are certified.

If you’ve exhausted all federal student aid options, no-fee private student loans from SoFi can help you pay for school. The online application process is easy, and you can see rates and terms in just minutes. Repayment plans are flexible, so you can find an option that works for your financial plan and budget.


Cover up to 100% of school-certified costs including tuition, books, supplies, room and board, and transportation with a private student loan from SoFi.

FAQ

How much does the CPA exam cost to take?

The cost is about $2,000 on average, but the exact cost depends upon where you live. Each state sets its own fees, so they may vary significantly from one state to the other. Also, exam prep courses can add to the overall cost.

Are there any hidden costs to take a CPA exam?

Hopefully, there will not be any hidden costs of the CPA exam if you have considered all of the costs mentioned here. However, there may be some fees you don’t anticipate. For example, if you have to retake or reschedule the exam, you may have to repay the registration fee in addition to repaying fees per exam section.


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Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

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Salary vs Hourly Pay: How Their Pros and Cons Compare

Salary vs Hourly Pay: How Their Pros and Cons Compare

Salary vs. hourly pay are two ways that businesses classify workers, based on how and when their compensation is doled out. Hourly employees, as you might guess, are paid for every hour of work that they do. Salaried employees, on the other hand, receive a fixed amount of compensation in exchange for their labor, regardless of how long it takes.

There are pros and cons to each, both for employers and employees, and there are numerous rules and laws that can come into play as well. But it boils down to this: Hourly employees’ compensation is tied to the time worked, plus applicable overtime. Salaried employees get a fixed amount.

What Is An Hourly Rate?

An hourly rate is the set per-hour compensation a worker or employee earns in accordance with their employment contract. That hourly rate can be any number above the federal wage floor, or minimum wage, of $7.25 per hour.

The lowest that an hourly worker in the U.S. can earn is $2.13 per hour, as set by federal law, for workers who receive at least $30 per month in tips. No matter the amount, an hourly rate is how much an employee earns for one hour of work.

What Is a Salary Rate?

As mentioned, salaried employees earn a fixed amount regardless of how many hours they work. As such, a salary rate is what an employee would earn over a fixed amount of time, such as a traditional 40-hour workweek. Since we typically discuss salaries on a yearly basis (for example, Job X pays a salary of $50,000 per year), a salary rate could be $961.54 per week ($50,000 annual salary divided by 52 weeks in a year).

The big difference, when it comes to salaried workers, is that there is no potential to earn overtime for working more than the predetermined number of hours (usually 40) as specified by their employer and applicable laws.

If you want to find out what is a good entry-level salary, you can do some research into averages in your industry and geographic area to get an idea.

Recommended: The Highest Paying Jobs by State

Why Are Some Jobs Hourly and Others Salary?

Federal laws and regulations determine whether some jobs can be exempt from overtime pay rules — in other words, salaried. This is to protect some workers from being classified as salaried when they may end up working many more hours in a given week than the standard 40.

Depending on the state you live in, there may be additional rules that stipulate why a position may pay hourly vs. salary.

The Big Difference Between Salary vs Hourly Pay

Whether or not a worker earns overtime pay is the single biggest difference between a salaried employee and one who is paid hourly. Overtime pay is paid out at a rate of 1.5 times the normal hourly rate, which is commonly phrased as “time and a half.”

Another way to describe salary vs. hourly pay is “exempt” vs. “non-exempt.” “Exempt,” in this sense, means exempt from overtime wages. Non-exempt employees are owed overtime wages for working more than 40 hours per week.

There are situations in which an employer may end up paying a salaried employee more for working more than 40 hours per week, but it depends on the specific agreement or contract between the two parties.

Additionally, salaried jobs tend to be more administrative, “professional,” or “white collar,” and may offer more or better benefits than hourly jobs. That’s not always the case, but if you’re climbing the corporate ladder and become a salaried employee, you may notice that the entire compensation package is a bit beefier than packages for hourly workers.

Salary Pay

As noted above, salaried employees earn a fixed amount regardless of how long they work. There are some obvious pros and cons to salaried positions, too:

Pros of Salary Pay

The clearest advantage of a salaried position is that an employee will earn the same amount of money during a given time period no matter how long they work. So, if they end up working 30 hours in one week, they still get paid the same as they would have if they worked 40.

Also, as discussed, salaried jobs often have better benefits, such as employer-sponsored health insurance and paid vacation days. Salaried jobs can also be a bit more secure than hourly positions and may offer workers more opportunities for advancement.

Cons of Salary Pay

Salary pay can be double-edged: While you’ll be paid for 40 hours even if you work only 30, you’ll earn the same if you work 50 hours, too. There is no chance for overtime pay if you work more than a standard week. That can be a big drawback for some workers.

Similarly, depending on the specifics of the position, it may be harder to keep your personal and professional life separate. Salaried positions may provide more benefits and job security, but that comes at a cost of more demanding work that may encroach on your personal time.

Hourly Pay

Hourly workers earn their paycheck by the hour. That, like salaried positions, can have pros and cons as well:

Pros of Hourly Pay

It’s worth stating again: The biggest plus to an hourly job is that you are eligible to earn overtime pay. That doesn’t mean hourly workers always will get overtime — many employers go to great lengths to make sure that they don’t — but it’s a possibility. And that can help ensure that you’re not working 50- or 60-hour weeks, which may be more common for salaried employees.

Also, hourly workers may earn double their standard wages on certain days, like holidays. And depending on the industry, working overtime may be standard or expected. That can help push an hourly worker’s earnings above salaried workers’, in some circumstances.

Cons of Hourly Pay

A big disadvantage to hourly-paying jobs is that they can be less secure than salaried positions. Turnover can be high, for example, and if the economy takes a turn for the worse, hourly workers may see their hours reduced, or their positions furloughed or eliminated. Further, hourly jobs aren’t usually very flexible, and may not offer paid time off or sick days to workers, either.

Recommended: Average US Salary by State

The Takeaway

Salaried workers receive a fixed paycheck regardless of the number of hours worked, whereas hourly workers are paid based on the number of hours they clocked. The big differentiator between the two is that salaried workers are not eligible for overtime pay, which is 50% more than their standard hourly rate. Each type of employment has its pros and cons, but usually salaried positions are more secure.

Regardless of how you’re paid, it can be helpful to keep your finances in order by using a budget planner app, complete with a debt payoff planner to help you get ahead.

Take control of your finances with SoFi. With our financial insights and credit score monitoring tools, you can view all of your accounts in one convenient dashboard. From there, you can see your various balances, spending breakdowns, and credit score. Plus you can easily set up budgets and discover valuable financial insights — all at no cost.


See exactly how your money comes and goes at a glance.

FAQ

Is it better to be paid a salary or an hourly rate?

Generally, salaried positions are often seen as more prestigious and can offer more job security and benefits. Many workers feel it’s better to be paid a salary because one receives a predictable paycheck, but it ultimately depends on the position and the employee’s personal preferences.

What is the advantage of salary pay?

The biggest and most obvious advantage of salary pay is that you have a fixed paycheck coming your way no matter how much (or little) you worked during a given time period. Of course, that can be a disadvantage, too, if you regularly work more than 40 hours per week. It also may be easier to budget with a fixed, salaried income.

What are the budget challenges of being a salaried employee?

Salaried employees are, in a sense, on a fixed income; they’re earning the same amount all through the year, and can’t go for a bigger paycheck by working overtime. If they don’t receive a raise annually, they may see their effective pay decline due to inflation, which can end up straining their budgets.


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SoFi Relay offers users the ability to connect both SoFi accounts and external accounts using Plaid, Inc.’s service. When you use the service to connect an account, you authorize SoFi to obtain account information from any external accounts as set forth in SoFi’s Terms of Use. Based on your consent SoFi will also automatically provide some financial data received from the credit bureau for your visibility, without the need of you connecting additional accounts. SoFi assumes no responsibility for the timeliness, accuracy, deletion, non-delivery or failure to store any user data, loss of user data, communications, or personalization settings. You shall confirm the accuracy of Plaid data through sources independent of SoFi. The credit score is a VantageScore® based on TransUnion® (the “Processing Agent”) data.

*Terms and conditions apply. This offer is only available to new SoFi users without existing SoFi accounts. It is non-transferable. One offer per person. To receive the rewards points offer, you must successfully complete setting up Credit Score Monitoring. Rewards points may only be redeemed towards active SoFi accounts, such as your SoFi Checking or Savings account, subject to program terms that may be found here: SoFi Member Rewards Terms and Conditions. SoFi reserves the right to modify or discontinue this offer at any time without notice.

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