Completing an internship or apprenticeship program is almost always expected for an individual seeking employment. It is basically how you get your foot in the door and gain the skills that will qualify you for your career of choice. While the two may have some similarities, they are inherently different. It is important to learn these differences, so you can know which one suits your profession best. In this article, we shall examine an apprenticeship vs internship, the main similarities and differences. Let’s take a look.

What is an Apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship includes a long-term training program where individuals learn skills in a certain trade while earning. It originated from the Middle Ages, where the craftsmen like woodworkers and blacksmiths would train their successors to take on their trade. Now, it applies in more technical careers, like construction, manufacturing, information technology, and healthcare.

Usually, companies offer apprenticeship programs to their employees to help them quickly hone the skills needed to perform the job. Depending on the industry and job, this can take as long as six years. And at the end of it, you’ll get a license to show that will allow you to work independently.

What is an Internship?

An internship includes a short-term work opportunity offered by organizations to potential employees or college students. During this time, the intern gets to practice on assignments relating to their field of study. Employers might also assign various everyday office tasks like preparing equipment and filing paperwork.

Students mainly do internships to learn new skills, while seeing if the career fits them. A typical internship program lasts between 2-3 months. The individual can then apply for a more permanent job once they complete the program or graduate from college.

Also noteworthy, an internship is different from an externship, whereby, much like an apprentice, the student spends time shadowing a working professional. Externships are usually unpaid and don’t result in any school credits.

Apprenticeship vs. Internship

You’ll commonly hear people define apprenticeship as work-based training and internships as work-based learning. But what does this all mean exactly?

The US Department of Labor has given no official definition of internships or apprenticeships. But generally, it lists out 6 main things setting the two apart. They include:

Apprenticeship vs Internship: Duration

Internships usually take a shorter period. This should be anywhere between 3-6 months. They are ideal for college students or high school graduates interested in a certain industry and are unsure about the particular career path. Since they only take up a short time, people often take on multiple internships at different companies over the summer to get a feel of different industries.

Apprenticeships, on the other hand, can take years to finish. This should be anywhere between 1-3 years, but it can go as long as 6 years. Apprenticeships also require a full-time commitment.

Apprenticeship vs Internship: Structure

In most cases, apprenticeships will lead to formal employment in the same company. For this reason, they include training the individual to fill a particular occupation in the organization. You receive in-depth training on the role, and then, on completion, you transition into it, minus the apprentice title. Additionally, employers offer a higher salary. Since they’ve invested money and time in you, companies tend to pay competitive wages.

Internships, on the other hand, include less structure. They mainly focus on the entry-level, more generalized type of works. You’ll get an indiscriminate view of how different departments work and operate without any major responsibilities. For this reason, they are best for or students still in college or high school. Much as it doesn’t guarantee a full-time role on completion, internships can be great opportunities to build networking connections.

Apprenticeship vs Internship: Mentorship

Apprenticeships are usually done in highly technical jobs like construction and engineering, where the beginner needs hands-on direction on how things work. It also applies in the tech industry, where it is vital to become a tech apprentice or go for a software developer apprenticeship before qualifying for a full-time post.

Through the process, an experienced mentor provides constant guidance. The apprentice needs to master the skill completely to be trusted to do the job on their own eventually.

On the other hand, internships don’t necessarily include a mentor. They are more generalized, intended to introduce the individual to the corporate world. You’ll find yourself working in different departments, doing odd jobs that are not entirely related to each other.

Apprenticeship vs Internship: Payment

Despite being highly competitive, apprenticeships will usually offer payment for work done as you learn. For example, as an app infrastructure apprenticeship, you’ll get paid for applications you successfully develop on the job. Sure, this might not exactly be the six figures you were hoping for in your first year, but it will be significantly more than an internship.

In most cases, internships don’t pay at all. You’ll maybe get some college credits or something you can add to your resume. In some cases, they’d maybe give a small stipend. Also, you might not get full-time employment at the end of it.

Apprenticeship vs Internship: Credentials

At the end of an apprenticeship, one is usually granted an industry-recognized credential. This should prove that you have attained the skill necessary or are proficient enough to do a particular job. Though the apprenticeship program may lead to a job offer, use those very credentials to work in other firms.

For this reason, apprenticeships can be great alternatives to going for college degrees. In fact, most of them even take nearly as long as a bachelor’s program. At the end of it, apprentices end up being even more qualified to fill the role than a college graduate, who will probably, still have to go through the program. For this reason, there are a couple of national measures set in place to support apprenticeship.

Internships don’t result in any credentials. There’s really nothing that will show that you are competent in a particular job.

Apprenticeship vs Internship: College Credits

Because man colleges recognize internships and apprenticeships programs, they earn some level of credits. Some apprenticeship programs even collaborate with educational institutions to sponsor your education, meaning you can learn debt-free. The employer goes the extra mile training you and even gives you a full-time job offer at the end of it.

Both apprenticeships and internships are important tools for building a trained pipeline of skilled labor to fill the needs of our current and future workforce in a variety of industries, including the trades, beauty, and technology

So whether it’s that java apprenticeship or software developer apprenticeship, you needn’t shy away from committing yourself to the program for a few years.

Working closely with global leaders in technology and national universities, the WOZ Nationally Registered Apprenticeship program provides immediate benefits to both job seekers looking to start their careers in tech and technology companies looking to increase the quality of candidates for in-demand jobs. Apply for apprenticeship opportunities at