Difference between an Internship and an Apprenticeship

By: | Updated: Nov-18, 2017
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As popular on-the-job training methods, internships and apprenticeships are crucial for providing employees with entry-level experience. However, there are significant differences between the two.

Summary Table

Internship Apprenticeship
A training program designed for undergraduates who are exploring career paths available in their respective industry A training program for prospective employees who are already pursuing a definite career path
Short-term Long-term
Paid or voluntary Paid
The trainees are called interns The trainees are called apprentices
Work-based training and learning Work-based learning


internship logo

An internship is a short-term educational training program designed for undergraduates or students exploring a career path. It typically lasts from one week to one year.

As an entry-level training program, an internship can either be paid or unpaid. It is available in both public and private organizations. Also, interns can be offered full-time or part-time on-the-job training, depending on their availability. Internships during holidays or school breaks are usually full-time.

Internships offer trainees a chance to explore their career paths before they fully commit to a specific job. They also helps interns gain job experience for their future career prospects.

In like manner, an internship serves as a course intended to help trainees gain the confidence, skills and experience they need. During the training, interns get hands-on experience in the kind of jobs available in their field.

apprenticeships logo

Meanwhile, an apprenticeship is a program designed to train those who already have a specific career path in mind. Traditionally used for career paths available within the manufacturing and construction industry, apprenticeships offer hands-on experience and classroom-based learning.

An apprenticeship period lasts for a year or more, depending on the training program. Before joining a program, apprentices are required to sign a contract with their employers. During training, they will obtain skills and knowledge specific to their profession. As a result of the program, apprentices have all the skills and qualifications they need to gain leverage in their chosen career path. More importantly, apprentices who have successfully completed the program can secure a job position in the company they have trained for.

Internship vs Apprenticeship

What’s the difference between an internship and an apprenticeship? Although both provide rigorous training, the two vary in a number of ways. First, an internship can either be paid or voluntary. An apprenticeship, on the other hand, is a paid training program for future company employees.

In addition, internships are short-term programs that train undergraduates or students for a non-specific job role. Meanwhile, apprenticeships are long-term programs that are designed for prospective employees who have chosen a definite career path.

Another notable difference between the two is retention. By the end of the training, interns gain experience, while apprentices gain both job experience and a job offer. This is mainly because companies use apprenticeship programs to train prospective employees.

Lastly, unlike internships, apprenticeships offer training and classroom-based learning for a particular job post. On the other hand, internships provide undergraduates a chance to explore a variety of career paths before they commit to a specific role.

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