If you want to gain work experience while you’re still in school or right after graduation, you’ve probably looked into an internship or apprenticeship.
Both internships and apprenticeships can offer entry-level experience in your field of choice, but they operate in different ways. If you’re looking for one of these opportunities, you may be wondering what the difference is between an internship and an apprenticeship.
In short, internships allow you to learn in a work environment without pay or with minimal pay in order to gain experience. An apprenticeship is formal employment that trains you on a specific skill set while on the job.
So, how do you know which one is right for you? Take a look at each option in greater detail below.
Internships are usually a type of temporary work that last from a few weeks to several months. Internships are available in both public and private companies and nonprofits. Most people who choose to take an internship are seeking experience in a particular role or industry.
This type of employment is great for people who want to see a specific career in action before committing to it and those who want to gain experience that can benefit their future career. At its heart, an internship is an educational tool, not a training program.
What sets apprenticeships apart from internships is that an apprenticeship is an actual training program inside of a job. Apprenticeships usually employ people and teach them a specific set of skills needed in a particular career field.
Often, you will sign a contract with an employer to learn these skills, which can be a mix of formal experience, on-the-job training, and classroom work. You’ll also work toward requirements or a certification program, and if you pass, you then have the skills and formal qualifications to work a specific job.
These types of programs are common for careers like electricians, manufacturing, construction, and more.
Another difference between apprenticeships and internships are the salaries. Many internships are unpaid, while apprenticeships usually pay a salary. For an apprenticeship, the pay generally increases as you move through the training.
Choosing Your Career Path
Ultimately, choosing between an apprenticeship or an internship depends on the career path you want to pursue and what you are trying to gain.
If you want to stay in a specific industry and you are confident with your career path, an apprenticeship may be your best bet. However, if you are looking to boost your resume and experience or are trying out different positions, internships may offer what you need most.
Have you had an internship or apprenticeship? Did it work well for you? Share your experiences with us in the comments section below!
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