Apprenticeship vs Internship: What’s the Difference & Which One to Pick?

You get hands-on training with both an internship and an apprenticeship, but learn the finer details and differences between an apprenticeship vs internship in this post below!

If you’re nearing the end of your college career, you’re likely thinking about your next steps.

Job hunting has become a competitive process. These days, you need more than a college degree to stand out and get that dream job.

This is where pre-professional opportunities come in. You may have already considered doing an internship during your studies. You may have also seen the word “apprenticeship” a few times. But how are they different?

If you’re debating whether to apply for an apprenticeship vs. internship, you’ve found the right article. Read on to learn more about the differences and benefits, as well as which one is right for you!

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The Benefits of Pre-Professional Opportunities

Apprenticeships and internships are pre-professional opportunities. They are usually completed during or immediately after your studies. But what is the actual value of completing an apprenticeship vs. internship?

While there are many differences between the two, they both increase your chances of landing a full-time job. If you’re a fresh college graduate, you might not have a lot of professional experience. Apprenticeships and internships fill that gap and make you more attractive to employers.

Professional experience in your field is what sets you apart from other applicants. Almost 91% of employers would prefer to hire someone with experience. It’s clear to see that completing an apprenticeship or internship is key.

What’s an Apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is very useful and often required, for skilled trade careers. It combines hands-on training with classroom time to prepare apprentices for their fields.

Skilled trade careers like plumbers, chefs, electricians, and butchers need practical training. Apprenticeships provide that experience, while still allowing them to study in the classroom.

An apprenticeship can also help you earn the credentials required for your career. These credentials are often impossible to get any other way so an apprenticeship is a must!

Who Needs an Apprenticeship?

Simply put, careers that need detailed work done with your hands will often include an apprenticeship. Some skilled trades that require an apprenticeship include:

  • carpenters
  • plumbers
  • electricians
  • chefs
  • ironworkers
  • millwrights

These are some of the more traditional jobs requiring an apprenticeship. But these days, you can also find them in other fields like technology and engineering.

If you’re thinking about one of these careers, you probably need to start looking for an apprenticeship

How Do You Get an Apprenticeship?

In 2020, there were more than 221,000 new apprentices in America. That’s some tough competition. So what do you need to do to find an apprenticeship?

First, you need to narrow down your career path. If you’re at the end of your college studies, you may already have a clear idea. But if you’ve just begun your degree, no need to worry, you have time to research and plan.

Apprenticeships are available through the employer or apprenticeship programs. You can search for both of these online or through your college system. A good place to start is the official government website for apprenticeships.

Once you’ve found the apprenticeships you want to apply for, it’s time to fine-tune your resume. This can be a time-consuming process but a strong resume will ensure you stand out amongst other applicants.

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Apprenticeship Benefits

Did you know that 94% of successful apprentices receive a full-time employment offer? This incredible statistic shows just how beneficial apprenticeships are!

One of the biggest benefits of completing an apprenticeship is the pay. College is expensive and student loans are a major source of stress for new grads. Every apprenticeship is a paid opportunity.

Think about it – you’re getting paid while you learn. Additionally, the average full-time salary post-apprenticeship is $70,000 a year. Not a bad way to start off your career!

Another major benefit is the mentorship aspect. Throughout your apprenticeship, you will work with a mentor assigned to guide you. They will be your biggest resource for learning all the practical skills you need.

Not only will you have a mentor but the apprenticeship program has a defined structure. You always know what to expect and what your learning outcomes are. There are no surprises or last-minute requirements.

Finally, apprenticeships take time. They can last for several months but more commonly, several years. Despite the commitment required, this can actually be a benefit!

Completing an apprenticeship means you have several years of work experience before you even begin your career. This shows potential employers that you are well qualified and properly trained.

What Is an Internship?

Unlike apprenticeships, internships are not mandatory for any career field. They are also not needed to gain credentials. But internships are still an important addition to your resume.

Companies are always looking for experienced employees. It can be difficult to gain the required experience when you’re a new graduate. Therefore, internships are an amazing resource for students.

Interns are usually placed at the assistant level and their daily work varies quite a bit. This is a great way to see the inner workings of a company. It can help you decide what type of company you want to work for and how to achieve your goal.

Who Needs an Internship?

Internships are generally not mandatory, except in cases where your degree program requires it. But internships are often an important tool used by companies to find and hire talent.

In many industries, applicants are expected to have internship experience. Practical experience proves that you can relate what you learned in the classroom to a job setting. Employers know this and it can make a big difference when applying for entry-level jobs.

So while you don’t need an internship unless your college requires it, it’s still a crucial part of your professional career.

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How Do You Get an Internship?

Internships are easy to find but good internships can take a little digging. Online job boards are a good place to start because they always have a variety of options for every field.

If you’re looking for a very specific or niche internship, it’s best to search for an organization associated with your field. For example, if you want a career in art restoration, you may have to look into specific art organizations.

But sometimes it’s all about who you know. Word-of-mouth is still a popular way to gain an internship. If you know someone working in your field of interest, talk to them about their experience. They may just help you gain some experience of your own!

Your college or university can also help you find an internship, especially if it’s a degree requirement. Check out your school’s Career Services office, you may find some amazing opportunities!

Internship Benefits

The benefits of internships are all about learning and experience. They are one of the best ways to gain both knowledge and skills for your chosen field.

Since internships aren’t strictly regulated, payment is not mandatory. For paid internships, the average hourly pay for undergraduates in 2018 was $18.50 an hour. So you might be able to find some rare internships that also offer a salary or honorarium.

Another great benefit of internships is that they are usually short-term. Most internships last three to six months, making them easier to commit to. Many students can complete their internships over college vacation.

A recently new benefit of internships can be remote opportunities. Over the past two years, remote internships have become very popular. This is a great option if you don’t want to or can’t afford to move to a new city.

Finally, internships are an excellent way to build or develop your portfolio. If you’re interested in a field that relies on portfolios to land employment, you know it can be tough to stand out. An internship allows you to create portfolio content in a professional setting.

Apprenticeship vs. Internship

Both of these pre-professional opportunities have amazing benefits. But there are also three differences to consider when choosing an internship vs. apprenticeship. These are time, money, and job assurance.


Apprenticeships can last for several years while internships are short-term. Additionally, many apprentices work full-time while learning their craft. Interns can work full-time or part-time. Some interns even work on a freelance basis.


Apprenticeships are always paid while internships are sometimes paid. After completing an apprenticeship, your annual salary is usually higher than the median pay. Post-internship salaries vary across industries and locations so money is not guaranteed.

Job Assurance

An apprenticeship almost always concludes in attaining a full-time position. It also leads to certifications that your field may require to gain employment. There is no job guarantee with internships, but full-time job offers are common.

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Which One Should You Choose?

Now that you’re well versed in the differences between an apprenticeship vs. internship, you can choose the right one for you!

In the end, the choice depends on your field of interest and the career path you want to pursue. But regardless of which one you choose, it will be a very valuable addition to your resume.

Need help finding the perfect internship or job opening? Check out these articles below to read more in-depth on both jobs and internships!

Further Reading on Internships

Further Reading on Careers

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Goodwall Team
Written By Goodwall Team
This article was written by the Goodwall team or by a contributor for publication on Goodwall. Goodwall is dedicated to helping students, entrepreneurs, and young professionals reach their full potential. We'll share thought-provoking and supportive articles on career advice, self-improvement, navigating the college landscape, climate action, social impact, and more. On the business side, we'll talk about SMB subjects related to community, diversity, talent acquisition, case studies, and enterprise.

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