Internship versus Apprenticeship
What is an internship?
An internship is a type of short-term employment. While there are unpaid internships, most internships pay a salary or hourly wage. Interns are typically recent high school graduates or college students, but the term can be used for any worker in their late teens or early 20s. Most internships last for three months to a year and are used to gain experience in an industry of interest. Some interns use their experience to make connections that can help them get hired after graduation, while others continue on with the same company once their time as an intern has ended.
What is an apprenticeship?
An apprenticeship is a work-based training program in which students gain hands-on skills as well as classroom learning. Many of the programs are paid, and they may be part-time or full-time. There are also various types of apprenticeships — some involve using tools and equipment, while others involve working with computers or other technology. Apprenticeships include more structure than internships, since there is often a course component to the program that includes weekly classes and tests.
Similarities between internships and apprenticeships
Internships and apprenticeships are similar in many respects. Both offer students or young professionals the opportunity to gain hands-on experience and to learn from an expert. In addition, both internships and apprenticeships can be paid or unpaid, depending on the employer, though you should be wary of any program that asks you to pay for the privilege of participating. Both may lead to job offers if you perform well. Finally, both internships and apprenticeships are a valuable way to build contacts in your industry who may be able to provide references when you seek future employment or professional advancement.
Differences between internships and apprenticeships
The biggest difference between the two is duration. Internships are generally short-term experiences, lasting a few months or less, while apprenticeships are longer-term programs that can last for several years. In fact, some apprenticeships take as many as eight years to complete!
Another key difference between the two is pay. While it’s not uncommon for interns to work unpaid in exchange for experience and mentorship from their employer, apprentices receive a wage—and often receive benefits like health insurance and retirement plans as well.
Both internships and apprenticeships also have different educational requirements. Internship positions typically don’t require you to have any prior experience or training; in fact, many internship applicants either have no experience at all or are recent college graduates with little to no practical job experience. Apprenticeship positions, on the other hand, typically require you to already possess the skills necessary to perform a certain job before entering into an apprenticeship program—even if they don’t require you to have a formal degree.
Finally, there’s also a difference in terms of how they’re structured and how they’re available in different industries. Internships are much more common than apprenticeships in most industries—and can be found almost anywhere around the country (or even around the world). Apprenticeships tend to be more common in certain fields like skilled trades (such as machining and construction), but may be difficult or impossible to find outside of these industries depending on where you live.
How to determine if an internship or an apprenticeship is right for you?
Internships: The general rule is that an internship is an unpaid position, and while the terms of your apprenticeship might differ, this is not usually a common option.
Highly Structured: You should expect to be working in an environment with a higher level of structure than you would in an apprenticeship. This means that there will likely be tight deadlines and projects and daily responsibilities will have to be completed by certain times.
Large Company: If you’re looking for work experience in a large company, then an internship might be a good choice for you. Smaller companies are more likely to offer apprenticeships instead of internships.
Specific Industry: Internships tend to be available across many industries so if you’re interested in completing work experience in a specific industry such as finance or fashion, then consider applying for internships rather than apprenticeships.
Apprenticeships: Apprenticeships are ideal for people who want to learn about their chosen career on the job, earning money while they learn the ropes of their future profession.
Focus on Training: One key difference between internships and apprenticeships is that apprenticeships usually focus on training the apprentice while they are working rather than giving them actual responsibilities within the business. This isn’t always true but it’s worth asking yourself if your goal is to gain more responsibility or learn more about your career before deciding which one suits you best.
In the end, you have to decide if an internship or an apprenticeship is right for you.
So, the question then comes down to which is better for you. Before you make that decision, consider what your goals and needs are. Do you want to gain a broad understanding of the industry you’re interested in? Do you need to get a certification or degree? How will this job fit into your overall career plan? Are you looking for short-term success from this position or are you in it for the long haul?
Once these questions have been answered, take time to do more research. Though apprenticeships may not be as prevalent as internships, they remain an important part of many industries. They can provide unique opportunities that may not be available during an internship, so give them due consideration before making your choice.