What Are Tesla Internships Like? (Experience, Pay, Benefits)

Tesla internship is a great opportunity, both career, and personal-wise. As you’re looking at what internships to apply to, you might be wondering what’s it like working as an intern at Tesla.

A typical experience of a Tesla intern includes working long hours, learning a lot from very smart people, and enjoying most benefits full-time Tesla employees get, all while getting paid a decent salary.

Not too bad, right? Indeed, getting a Tesla internship is a big chance to get to work for one of the biggest tech and automotive companies out there, but it may not be for everyone in the long term.

Tesla internships (with background of mountains in the sunset)

What Does a Typical Intern Do at Tesla?

Tesla internship experience varies greatly depending on the team you’re at and your job position, but there are some common experiences for engineering interns.

In general, Tesla works with its interns a bit more compared to other similar companies. They give their interns more responsibility, but their interns also work harder. Due to this kind of environment, it might get a bit stressful for a typical engineering intern at Tesla. 

Many interns burn out, or don’t fit in well with the team they’re assigned to. Working for 12+ hours a day as an intern might be fine for many, as you’ll get to learn a lot, but it’s not enticing for everyone to work so much as a full-time employee. 

Tesla is known for over-working its engineers, however, this doesn’t mean you’ll always have to work 12 hours a day at Tesla.

Most of the time, you get to choose how much you’ll want to work. While full-time Tesla employees typically work long hours, they do have alternating schedules of 3-4-4-3 working days. Still, many of them work 5 to 6 days a week, because Tesla’s culture promotes hard work and strong work ethics. All this relates to interns as well.

Tesla interns are sometimes given work that a full-time Tesla employee might get. While most companies value a good work ethic and motivation, Tesla values this especially. It comes down all the way from its CEO, Elon Musk, who believes in working on what you love and working hard at it.

In summary, Tesla gigafactory internship includes working with a lot of smart people, on all kinds of tasks, and often long weeks. Depending on your team, you might be expected to work 60+ hour weeks and jump around all kinds of tasks in a flexible environment. You’ll learn a lot, but you’ll also work a lot. And in general, you’ll get what you put in.

Is It Hard to Get an Internship at Tesla?

Tesla internships aren’t the easiest to get, as their acceptance rate is pretty low, especially for engineers. The difficulty will depend on a lot of factors, from the school/university you’re attending to your experience, other internships you’ve done, and your extracurricular activities.

One of the main requirements to get an internship at Tesla is previous internships and your experience with the technologies Tesla is working with. Either one of these will give you a plus and a potential interview. Your GPA won’t matter much, but you should try to get a GPA of at least 3.5 and have some projects under your belt.

When to apply? You may be able to increase your chances a bit by doing a Tesla internship in spring because fewer people will be in the applicant pool, so you’ll have a higher chance of getting selected. Make sure to optimize your resume a bit, fix any grammatical mistakes and prepare for an interview a bit.

Here’s a good video with tips on getting an internship at Tesla:

How Long Is Tesla Internship?

In the United States, Tesla internships typically last from 3 to 12 months, depending on the requirements and the job role. For Europe, Tesla internships are typically 5 to 6 months. Tesla’s internship duration depends on the position and can range from a few weeks to a full year. 

Does Tesla Give Paid Internships?

Tesla offers paid internships regularly, both for the United States and international interns. Tesla full-time employees may not get paid the highest compared to other tech giants out there, but they still get decent pay plus benefits, and this includes interns. Next to the payment, Tesla will financially help you with accommodation and travel costs.

Tesla Internship Salary

Tesla internship pay will differ mostly based on the location you’ll be working at, and your position. 

An average salary of a Tesla engineering intern in the US is between $48,000 and $60,000 a year, which is about $4,000 and $5,000 a month ($23-29 hourly). In California though, the pay is a bit higher and typically from $4,800 and $5,600 a month, or $28 to $32 hourly for an engineering position.

For a typical engineering internship position at Fremont, Tesla will pay between $28 and $32 an hour, and up to $50 per hour. Other Tesla locations pay a bit lower, between $20 and $28 for an engineering internship role. 

After some time, you may also qualify for full benefits and the Tesla stock program.

Tesla Internship Process

In the US, Tesla offers internship positions all the time, but the biggest internship opportunities are three times a year, in Spring, Summer, and Fall. In Europe, Tesla offers two big internship intakes each year, in September/October, and January/February.

The start of Tesla internship process begins with your application at the Tesla website and sending in your resume. You should get an answer in a week or so, however, some applicants who apply for an internship position never get an answer, so keep that in mind and keep applying.

Next, if it’s an SWE position you may have a Codility test, and for other positions, you might just talk about yourself first, as the interviewer will try to get to know you. The process for interns is a bit more chill compared to the Tesla hiring process for a full-time position.

After that comes the interview, where you’ll talk about what you like to do on projects in school, and projects you do on your own (Tesla especially likes to focus on these), and you’ll talk about Tesla’s mission and your passions. Your technical skills will be looked at, but your passion and willingness to work hard will set you apart.

How and Where to Apply for Tesla Internship?

Almost every Tesla intern started the process by applying at the Tesla website. Tesla internships are available across the world, so you’ll need to select your country in the filters. Tesla hires across the world for many different roles from HR to finance to various engineering positions. 

You can read the requirements for various Tesla engineering internships in this list of Tesla engineering Internships for the Spring of 2023:

However, applying for an internship is just the first step and it doesn’t guarantee you’ll be called for an interview.

To be called to an interview for an internship position at Tesla, you can either wait to be called after you apply, or you can get a referral to significantly increase your chances. Almost every intern that is referred will at least get a call from a recruiter.

You can also try to reach out to a recruiter first, to see where you can apply with the highest chances, or what to focus on based on your schooling or past projects you’ve worked on. DM a recruiter on LinkedIn, but try to be direct, specific, and concise.

What Benefits Do Tesla Interns Get?

Next to being competitively paid, Tesla provides a range of benefits for its interns.

Tesla interns get comprehensive healthcare insurance. For some, this is one of the more important Tesla benefits, which is cheap, with good choices and quality providers. 

Next, Tesla provides accommodation or housing for their interns at certain locations, such as a Gigafactory in Nevada. Tesla will also provide relocation stipends for interns located 50 miles or more from their work site. Depending on the internship offer and the pay, you may be given a housing stipend that covers a few months of rent.

Tesla will have discussions about housing with their interns so you’ll be able to find roommates with other interns. A good way is to find a cheap Airbnb first for a month, before finding a room or an apartment to rent.

After a while, you may qualify for the Tesla stock program. At Tesla, a big part of the salary comes from owning Tesla stocks, which have been rising tremendously over the last few years. Interns also get discounted merchandise of up to 35%, as well as fitness programs such as having access to an on-site gym.

You’ll get excellent training, often much better than other tech or automotive companies out there. Tesla has high standards for all its employees, so your learning and development program will be up to a high standard as well.

And finally, one of the biggest benefits is having Tesla on your resume. If you can manage that, you’ll much easier land interviews with other companies and can even guarantee a decent career in your field. 

Your offer letter will provide more information about your pay, accommodation, and any stipends Tesla is willing to put forth to help you with the transition.

Wrap-up: Tesla Internship is a rich experience, but you’ll have to work for it

Getting a Tesla internship can be a golden opportunity to launch your career, but you’ll have to work for it.

What do we mean by this? We saw how you’ll have to work hard not just to get an offer for a Tesla internship, but to maintain learning various skills while you work long hours. The internship acceptance rate is about 1%, and you’re required to step up to the game.

But you’ll get good pay, good benefits, and an amazing environment to work with very smart people. You reap what you sow, so if you get the chance, make the most out of it.

  • Alex Mitch

    Hi, I'm the founder of HowMonk.com! Having been in finance and tech for 10+ years, I was surprised at how hard it can be to find answers to common questions in finance, tech and business in general. Because of this, I decided to create this website to help others!