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The Difference: Internship and Apprenticeship

By Jason Jansky | CareerWise director of marketing communications

The Difference Between Apprenticeship and Internship

Many people use the words “internship” and “apprenticeship” interchangeably, while some see nuanced differences. The truth is, while both look good on a resume, the two terms are distinct and denote different kinds of experiences.

In short, internship supports career readiness through interaction with professionals in the field and exposure to a work environment, while apprenticeship prepares workers to step into a career through meaningful, productive work combined with related classroom instruction.

Internships expose students to a work environment for a short period of time, but oftentimes don’t include pay or substantive work experience. They provide the intern an opportunity to get exposure to the industry, and the employer to evaluate the potential fit. At the conclusion of an internship, there is no expectation that the intern is prepared to move into a role at the company.

Apprenticeship provides a paid and meaningful job training experience that is designed to prepare the apprentice for a career in that field. CareerWise apprenticeships combine rigorous and defined classroom- and work-based learning that map to a set of defined competencies and typically span three years. The longer duration of an apprenticeship is an important distinction from an internship; it ensures that the training received prepares the apprentice to step into a position, and it provides a return on the employer’s investment—the longer the apprentice trains, the more productive they are as an employee.

But when we talk about CareerWise’s modern youth apprenticeships, it’s even more than that: CareerWise youth apprentices have the opportunity to earn  college credit, a nationally-recognized industry certification and establish an invaluable professional network. Businesses benefit from the training provided to supervisors and coaches, the resources available to human resource  departments and CareerWise’s role as an intermediary, managing the relationships between industry, schools and districts and apprentices.