8 Benefits of Internships
Before you enter the working world, you hear a lot about internships and apprenticeships. What’s the difference and why do these opportunities matter?
The U.S. Department of Labor does not have an official definition of internship but recognizes the difference between internships and apprenticeships including:
- Length of Time: Internships are usually short term (1-3 months) and apprenticeships are longer term (1-3 years).
- Structure: Apprenticeships include a structured training plan, with a focus on mastering specific skills an employer needs to fill an occupation within their organization. Internships aren’t structured and often focus on entry-level general work experience.
- Mentorship: Apprentices receive individualized training with an experienced mentor who walks them through their entire process. Internships do not always include mentorship.
- Pay: Apprenticeships are paid experiences that often lead to full-time employment. Internships are often unpaid and may not lead to a full-time job.
- Credential: Apprenticeships lead to an industry-recognized credential. Internships typically do not lead to a credential.
- College Credit: Internship and apprenticeship experiences may both lead to college credit, although some apprenticeship programs will lead to a debt-free college degree.
Freemont University says main difference between an apprenticeship and an internship is that internships are not usually as focused. An intern is not bound to work for the employer after the internship is over, though many do. An internship also offers students a chance to “try out” a job or industry to determine if it is the right choice for them. Apprentices know which field they want to go into, and work with a master in that field to learn it first-hand.
Freemont University also lists out the eight benefits of internships:
Here are 8 benefits of an internship:
- Gain valuable work experience
The hands-on work experience interns receive is invaluable and cannot be obtained in a classroom setting, making this one of the most important benefits of internships.
- Explore a career path
Exploring is an important part of the college experience, and internships are a great way for students to acquaint themselves with the field they are interested in.
- Give yourself an edge in the job market
One of the most important internship benefits is that college graduates who already have some work experience in the form of an internship stand out to potential employers. Internship experience makes a college grad more marketable as they usually require less training and can handle more responsibilities. You may also receive a higher starting salary than those who do not have internship experience and are entering the workforce or starting a new career.
- Develop and refine skills
You can learn a lot about your strengths and weaknesses during an internship. Internships allow for feedback from supervisors and others who are established in the field and offer a unique learning opportunity that you may not have again as a working adult. Embrace the mistakes you make as an intern and the many things that you won’t know. Ask questions, observe, and take risks to get the most out of your internship training experience.
- Receive financial compensation
Many internships are paid which means you can gain valuable work experience and make money at the same time. A paid internship will provide money to fund your college tuition and expenses.
- Network with professionals in the field
In the working world, it’s all about who you know. As an intern, you will be surrounded by professionals in the industry. Internships are more than just about earning credit, getting a grade, or making money; internships provide an opportunity to learn from the people around you, ask questions, and impress. The professionals you encounter during an internship can be your future colleagues or the connection to your first job.
- Gain confidence
Internships allow you to test out specific techniques learned in the classroom before entering the working world. It’s an opportunity to apply what you have learned in a safe environment where mistakes are expected – rather than learn the hard way in your first job out of college.
- Transition into a job
Many companies use internships as a way to enhance their recruitment efforts. In some cases, a company may decide to hire an intern at the end of the assignment. Even if a job offer doesn’t happen right away, an intern who makes a favorable impression could receive an offer down the line when an opening occurs. It’s a way for companies to test out an employee before committing to hiring them.
Putting the work in to find the right job begins early and sometimes long before you even graduate.