Internship vs. Externship: What’s the Difference?


In the journey of shaping your career and selecting the most suitable path, practical experiences play a pivotal role. Internships and externships are two such opportunities that provide a real-world glimpse into different professions, offering invaluable insights that can significantly impact your career decisions.

However, understanding the difference between an internship and an externship, often marked by variations in duration, depth of experience, and objectives, can be the key to identifying which of the two aligns better with your current career goals.

In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the nuances of “Internship vs. Externship,” shedding light on their distinct characteristics, benefits, potential drawbacks, and ways to optimize these experiences to better inform your career choices.

Whether you’re just beginning to explore the professional world or looking to gain in-depth knowledge in a specific field, this guide aims to clarify your queries and assist you in making a well-informed decision. Let’s embark on this journey to decode the intricacies of internships and externships.


Internships are temporary jobs that are paid. They’re also an opportunity to work with a company, learn about them, and get real-world experience.

Internship placements can be in any industry, but they’re most common in the tech sector (as well as other industries like law and marketing).

Internships are a great way to start your career, but they’re not always easy to find. If you’re looking for an internship placement, consider these tips:

-Know the company’s culture before applying – Research the company name and its products/services -Make a list of what you want to get out of an internship, then tailor your resume and cover letter accordingly


An externship is a paid, part-time job in a professional setting. You are an employee of the company but you do not receive any compensation for your time.

Externships can be performed during any part of your college career, so long as you have completed at least one semester before applying. The work experience will help prepare you for future internships and employment opportunities after graduation.

The benefits of an externship include: -Professional experience in your field of study -Networking opportunities with professionals in the company and your industry -A letter of recommendation from a supervisor or manager.

When Should You Do an Externship?

An externship is a great way to get practical experience, learn about your company and make connections.

  • You might be able to find an internship that would interest you, but it’s unlikely that you’ll get the same level of hands-on learning and real experience with the company’s business operations.
  • By interning with a firm in a different industry than yours, you’ll gain insight into how people work outside of your own field—which will help when applying for jobs later on down the line.

What Are the Benefits of an Externship?

  • Earn money. An externship is an opportunity to earn money, which can be used for school expenses and other costs.
  • Gain experience in a particular field of study or work experience that’s not available through a regular internship program at your university or company. You might also get paid by the hour and have flexibility with assignments, allowing you to spend more time on tasks that interest you most (and less time doing tasks that don’t).
  • Get hired by a company after completing an externship program—or even if they don’t hire anyone else from their office staff at all!

Difference Between Internships and Externships

You may be wondering why the difference between an internship and an externship. Internships are usually more academic, while externships tend to be hands-on. They also differ in terms of duration, compensation, and other elements such as location or time frame.

Internships typically have a specific end date; for example: “Expected Completion Date” or “Ending Date” on some websites that list them. An intern will start working at one company and then move on to another after their internship ends if they don’t find any job opportunities elsewhere first (i.e., you don’t get paid until you’re hired).

Externships can last anywhere from six months up to two years depending on how long it takes for your skillset to gain experience in what you want out of life/career path during this time period.

The main difference between an internship and an externship is that an intern is basically a student who does work for free, while an extern is someone who has paid experience in their field of study.

An intern’s role is usually more focused on the job. You’ll be expected to do what you’re told and make sure your work reflects the company’s values.

An extern’s role is broader, with less supervision or direction from an employer. This can be an advantage if you want to get a better feel for different types of businesses or industries before deciding on your career path—but it could also mean that you don’t learn as much about one area as an intern would have learned during their time at the same company.

If there are any skills gaps between what employers are looking for in interns and externs (e.g., teaching vs research), then this may also impact how much work experience each has gained by completing both roles within a year period

Which is better?

Internships are more structured and rigorous. They require students to attend lectures, complete assignments, and projects, and participate in team projects. Externships are more flexible than internships because you can choose when you want to work on them (even if it’s just one day). They are also a great way to explore different career options in your industry.

Both internships and externships are jobs that provide new or aspiring professionals with valuable experience to boost their resumes and make them more desirable to potential employers.

It’s important to note that there are pros and cons to both types of programs—so make sure you know what makes sense for your career goals before committing yourself!

Differences in Terms of Payment, Employment, and College Credit

Internships are usually paid, while externships are unpaid. The length of the internship depends on your industry or organization and is typically longer than an externship. Externships can be one month or up to one year long, but internships should last at least three months (and many last four).

Internship positions can be found through organizations such as colleges and universities that offer them as part of their curriculum, as well as through employers who hire graduates for specific employment opportunities in their industries. Interns often work alongside professors or other staff members on research projects related to their field of study. However, some internships may require no formal instruction from faculty members but instead focus solely on practical skills such as research techniques and writing reports based on those projects’ results.

Internships are great ways to get a feel for your industry, make connections and gain valuable skills. They’re also a common way to earn academic credit toward your degree. If you don’t have an internship lined up before graduation, it’s important to start looking as soon as possible.

Final Thoughts

There are many benefits of doing an externship, but it can be a great way to learn about a specific area of business and get hands-on experience. In addition, internships can be very beneficial for students who want to gain skills for future employment.

At the end of the day, there are differences between an externship and an internship that you should consider before committing to one or the other. Whichever option you choose will be a great learning experience, but it’s best to know what you’re getting into so that you are fully prepared for it.


Q: What is the main difference between an internship and an externship?

A: The primary difference lies in the duration and depth of experience. Internships are generally longer and involve more hands-on work, whereas externships are shorter, often observational, and provide a broader overview of the field.

Q: What is the typical duration of an internship vs. an externship?

A: Internships usually last for a few months, often during the summer or an academic semester. Externships, on the other hand, are much shorter, typically lasting from a few days to a few weeks.

Q: Which one offers a more hands-on experience, an internship or an externship?

A: Generally, internships provide more hands-on experience, as interns often work on projects and tasks similar to full-time employees. Externships are more observational, allowing participants to shadow professionals and gain insight into a career.

Q: Can I earn academic credit for both an internship and an externship?

A: It depends on the school’s policy, but often both internships and externships can earn academic credit, provided they meet certain criteria defined by the educational institution.

Q: Do I get paid for an internship or an externship?

A: Some internships are paid, while others are not. Externships, due to their short duration and observational nature, are typically unpaid.

Q: Which is better for career exploration, an internship or an externship?

A: Both can be valuable, but an externship is often a better fit for initial career exploration, as it allows you to explore several fields in a short time. Internships are more suited for gaining in-depth experience in a specific field.

Q: How do I apply for an internship or an externship?

A: Application processes vary, but generally involve submitting a resume and cover letter, and sometimes undergoing an interview. Check with your school’s career center or the company’s website for specific instructions, and see best practices for in-person or digital interviews.

Q: Can I do both an internship and an externship?

A: Absolutely. Many students do externships for initial exploration, and then pursue internships in the fields they are most interested in.

Q: Can an internship or an externship lead to a job offer?

A: Yes, successful internships can often lead to job offers, as companies use internships as a way to evaluate potential employees. While externships are less likely to directly result in a job offer due to their short duration, they can provide valuable networking opportunities.

Q: What kind of responsibilities will I have during an internship vs. an externship?

A: In an internship, you might be given responsibilities similar to those of entry-level employees. In an externship, you’re more likely to be observing and learning, rather than completing tasks or projects.

Remember, these are general answers and specifics can vary based on the field, company, and educational institution. Always verify details with the offering organization or your school’s career center.

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