25+ Types of Internships to Understand Before You Make Your Choice

Wondering about all the types of internships available to you and which one to choose? We've got the full breakdown on internship types here.

You have an idea of what internships are and what they are not.

Now— 

The next question is: which type of internship is right for you?

In this short article, we’ll outline all the types of internships you’ll come across, glossary style, from unpaid internships to CYOI. Then, we’ll highlight a few of the best internship fields to consider, from IT internships to finance programs. Finally, we’ll help you decide on which type of internship you should choose for yourself.

So, let’s get to it!

Related Read: Internships 101: Everything You Should Know About Internship Programs

First, here are the common types of internships you’ll happen across:

25+ Types of Internships

To keep these organized, we’ll treat this section as an internship type glossary of terms, meaning they’ll be in alphabetical order. Also, you’ll find a few non-internship vocabulary terms that are often confused for internship types thrown in for good measure. 

Apprenticeship – An apprenticeship is a type of one-on-one training program in which an apprentice learns the particular profession or trade through dedicated oversight, hands-on labor, and sometimes classwork. An apprenticeship is not an internship, as it is usually much more intense and requires a greater commitment than the standard intern program.

Co-Op EducationCooperative education, sometimes referred to simply as a co-op, is a blended program of standard learning in a classroom mixed with actual work experience. A co-op program is similar to an internship, but is usually integrated into the school experience and curriculum more seamlessly.

College Internship – A college internship is an intern program designed for or undertaken by a university student.

Externship – An externship is an educational program for giving students short experiences of actual industry work through a partnership between the school and the business. Known also as job shadowing or work shadowing, an externship is usually shorter than an internship, but they both could lead to an employment contract upon completion.

Fellowship – A fellowship is an award program, usually consisting of a monetary benefit, that is given to graduate students in various fields to allow them to continue or take on new research. They are often sponsored by a specific medical institution (for medical fellowships), research organization, or company.

Field ExperienceField experience is the chance given to take knowledge received in the classroom and apply it hands-on in the actual respective environment under supervision. It is not an internship, but similar, and some examples are when teachers need a certain number of hours before they can teach on their own or when pilots need a certain amount of supervised flying time before they can earn their full license.

For-Credit Internship – A for-credit internship is a special intern program related to a specific academic topic and offering college credit for taking part. A for-credit internship is often part of university coursework or a particular class.

Full-Time Internship – A full-time internship is one where the intern works at or above the threshold for full-time employment, usually over 30 hours per week.

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High School Internship – A high school internship is an internship available to and/or taken on by a student who is still finishing up high school. As an early internship program, high school internships are harder to find, particularly in the corporate world.

Internship Abroad – An internship abroad is an internship program in a country different than the prospective intern’s home country or country of study.

No-Credit Internship – Most internships don’t offer college credit, and so a no-credit internship is the default. If you want university credit for an internship, search for for-credit internships.

On-Location Internship – A standard internship will be on-location, meaning you’ll have to be physically present to be hired. If you want to intern from home, try to search for a virtual internship

Online Internship – See virtual internship.

Paid Internship – Because an internship is a job, essentially, compensation is usually expected and provided in the form of a paid internship. However, unpaid internships are pretty common, as well.

Part-Time Internship – A part-time internship is one where the amount of time required to come in is less than that of regular full-time interns and employees, usually under 30 hours per week. A part-time internship is ideal for college students balancing a larger load of coursework and unable to take on a full-time internship.

Practicum – A practicum is a course at the graduate level of university aimed at giving grad students practical, hands-on experience in a topic which had only been discussed academically up to that point. A practicum is not an internship, as it involves more observation than actual work.

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Quarterly Internship – A quarterly internship is an internship program lasting a full quarter-year in length (3 months).

Remote Internship – See virtual internship.

Semester Internship – A semester internship is an internship program lasting and corresponding with a full college semester.

Service LearningService learning is a type of educational approach where students get learning experience through performing some community service. Though not an internship, it’ll look great on any college student resume, especially since society as a whole benefits from this form of real-world education.

Startup Internship – A startup internship is an intern program in a startup environment. Startup internship programs are usually in higher demand than average, especially for tech and digital marketing interns.

Stipend Internship – A stipend is a type of financial reimbursement to help offset expenses related to an internship. A stipend internship is usually an unpaid internship where, though the intern doesn’t get paid like a regular employee, receives some compensation for internship-related expenses, such as transportation, food, or equipment. Some paid internships may also offer a stipend in addition to the standard internship wages.

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Student Internship – Most internships are student internships, which are internship programs designed for and given to university students. However, there are also internships for career changers or those recently graduated, as well.

Summer Internship – A summer internship is an internship program lasting during the (usually) class-free summer months between school years. 

Unpaid Internship – An unpaid internship is one which is not compensated. Though a student may prefer an unpaid internship, an unpaid stint as an intern may provide invaluable experience and skills for their future career. Most places have laws limiting how much work and what types of tasks an unpaid intern is allowed to perform, so be sure to know your rights!

Virtual Internship – A virtual internship, sometimes called a remote internship or an online internship, is an internship program which does not require physical presence to participate. A virtual internship may be perfect for jobs where all work is completed online, such as in IT or digital marketing jobs. 

Related Read: What’s the Difference Between a Job and a Career?

15 Best Internship Fields to Consider

Now that you have an understanding of the various types of internships out there, here are a few of the most popular internship fields or industries to choose from:

  • Arts Internships – fine arts, performing arts, internships at museums, etc.
  • Business Internships – focuses more on the operations side of things, such as supply chain, logistics, or administration.
  • Business Management Internships – focuses primarily on the leadership side of a corporation.
  • Design Internships – interior design, architecture, graphic design, etc.
  • Engineering Internships – civil engineering, industrial engineering, etc.
  • Fashion Internships – photoshoots, production management, etc.
  • Finance Internships – accounting, corporate tax, etc.
  • HR Internships – human resource analyst, researcher, generalist, manager.
  • IT Internships – web development, cybersecurity, mobile app dev, etc.
  • Law Internships – paralegal, environmental law, international law, etc.
  • Marketing Internships – digital marketing, advertising, etc.
  • Medical Internships – psychiatry, clinical research, etc.
  • Nonprofit Internships – NGO, human rights, etc.
  • Political Internships – legislative aide, White House internship, etc.
  • Sales Internships – commercial sales, consumer sales, market intelligence, etc.

Related Read: 15+ Great Quotes About Internships to Motivate You

How to Choose an Internship?

After you’ve become acquainted with the various internship types and the various fields internships are spread across, which one to choose?

First, consider your objective. What do you want to get out of the internship? Is it only work experience for your entry-level resume, or do you want something specific? Paid or unpaid?

Next, take your availability into consideration. How much time can you allocate to an internship program? Remember—if you don’t think you’ll be able to balance your internship and your university coursework, cross this particular internship off your list. 

Experiment! Don’t be afraid if it turns out you want to change your focus after giving a particular industry a try—this is one of the best advantages of starting an internship in the first place! 

Related Read: What to Bring for an Internship Interview

Well, that’s our guide on internship types, and we hope you found it illuminating and useful!

Next stop: Learn how to get an internship for yourself!

Got any questions, feedback, or other types of internship programs we forgot to add to our list above? Let us know in the comment area below, and thanks for reading!

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Christian Eilers
Written By Christian Eilers
Christian Eilers is a writer and expert on the topics of education, entrepreneurship, career advice, travel, and culture. At Goodwall, he covers topics including self-improvement, social impact, college preparation, career development, climate action, and more. Christian is originally from New York City and now resides in Warsaw, Poland. At his desk, you're sure to find Pickwick, his Devon Rex cat, either attacking his fingers as he types or the monitor as the mouse pointer moves around.

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    1. Hi Naluyima, thanks for writing in! I’m so glad if you found the info on this page about internship types useful, and we welcome you to join the Goodwall community! Just click on the links just about this comment section for either Apple or Android, and download and sign up. It’s free!