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Internship and Apprenticeship - What makes them different

Internship and Apprenticeship - What makes them different

Internships and apprenticeships both aim to provide learners with hands-on work experience. Yet, there are some subtle differences between the two. If you want to learn about those distinctions, checkout this post.

How Internship Is Different From An Apprenticeship? Let’s Take a Look

As the need to improve the employability of talented individuals grows, we are becoming accustomed to the buzzword- apprenticeship. An apprenticeship training program is simply a way for talented people to gain theoretical knowledge and hands-on experience in their chosen trade. Another word with a similar meaning is an internship. It is typically offered to students who have completed their conventional education course. Internships allow students to embark on a hands-on learning experience in the field of their choice.

These systems are ways to gain industry experience to perform better in the real world. There are, however, subtle differences between the two concepts. Therefore, selecting the appropriate training path- apprenticeship or internship- is always advised based on career requirements.

This post is for those who have finished their traditional degree or education program and are interested in enrolling in a work-based learning program. This post highlights the differences between an internship program and apprenticeship training.

Understanding the Concepts

It is worth understanding both concepts before delving deep into the key differences between internship and apprenticeship programs. Hence, here is a short definition for those new to these on-job training programs. The definitions will help give a perspective on the post's subject matter.


Let's start by analyzing what an internship is.

Most of us, if not all, are pretty familiar with the term 'internship.' This term is especially popular among students about to finish their degrees and seek industry exposure. An internship is an on-the-job learning method wherein students receive training and first-hand encounter with a specific job.

An intern is hired as a trainee in a company and works for free or for pay to gain practical experience. These programs play an important role in preparing students for employment. They are given opportunities to apply their theoretical knowledge in the real world. It would not be incorrect to describe an internship as a way to "try out" a particular profession.

Apart from learning the nitty-gritty of the chosen trade, an intern also learn a wide range of personal and professional skills. These skills can help them build their career prospect better. An internship may last for 3- 6 months, depending on the employer's needs.


An apprenticeship is another type of on-the-job training system. An apprentice receives practical training in their chosen field for a set period, as specified in their apprenticeship contract. It is a learning and earning concept in which the apprentice is paid a minimum wage for their duties. The Indian government enacted the Apprenticeship Act of 1961 to provide a systematic framework for apprenticeship training programs.

Currently, the apprenticeship scheme is available in five categories.

● Technician Apprentices

● Graduate Apprentices

● Technician (Vocational) Apprentices

● Optional trade Apprentices

● Trade Apprentices

The minimum age to enter an apprenticeship program is 14 years old. It would be beneficial to consult the National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme, or NAPS, to learn more about our country's current apprenticeship schemes and programs.

A Tabular Comparison

Here is a table that compares Internships and Apprenticeships. The table would be useful in clarifying both concepts and how they differ from one another.





Typically, short term- from 3-6 months

Long term- up to 4 years


Not necessarily paid



Not typically structured

There is always a structured training plan


Not always available

No one-to-one mentor


College credits

This could result in college credit



May not necessarily lead to an industry-recognized certification

It would lead to an industry-recognized certification

Suitable for


Potential employees

Trainees are called






Ends with

Experience to the trainees

Job to the trainees

 The 6 Key Differences between Internship and Apprenticeship

This is the key argument of this post. This section will go over the differences between the two on-the-job training programs. This section would help prospective candidates decide when selecting an internship or apprenticeship training program.

  1.   Duration

The first distinction to be made is the difference in duration. An internship is typically a short-term program, whereas an apprenticeship training program is usually time-consuming. The former can last 3-6 months, while the latter can last four years. You should also be aware that some internship programs may only last a few weeks.

  1.   Learning vs. Training

While an internship is a learning program for students, an apprenticeship is a training program for potential employees. The sole aim of the latter is to make candidates job-ready and assist them in jump-starting their careers.

  1.   Payment

In exchange for their services to the hosting organization, each apprentice receives a minimum wage. According to government policy, an apprentice should be paid a maximum of INR 8000/- per month. On the other hand, an intern may or may not be compensated for their services. However, it is always recommended to go for a paid internship program.

  1.   Mentorship

A mentor throughout their program must supervise apprentices. Throughout the process, apprentices are teamed with a one-on-one mentor. The meteor also serves as a reference, assisting the apprentice with their questions. On the other hand, an intern may or may not have a mentor. Even if they have a mentor, it is not as structured as an apprenticeship program.

  1.   Educational Qualifications

An apprenticeship program can be undertaken by anyone with the following educational qualifications.

  • An ITI pass-out
  • Graduate
  • Diploma holder
  • 10+2 pass-out

On the other hand, internships are typically undertaken by college students who have completed their degrees or are in their final year.

  1.   Structure

An apprenticeship program is highly structured. It will have a well-planned curriculum that will allow apprentices to receive both classroom and on-the-job training. It's more of a learn and earn training. Internship programs, on the other hand, are not rigidly structured. They are more of a learning program where interns get a sense of their desired career path. As a result, apprentices are more likely to find work once their training is completed. On the other hand, interns may need to look for work after their internship program ends.

Which is Better- Apprenticeship or Internship

After going over the key differences between apprenticeships and internships, one question remains: which is better? Although apprenticeship programs focus on 'on-the-job' training to prepare apprentices for employment, they are not the safest alternative. Actually, which one is better depends on the learners' career goals and needs. It would be incorrect to label one as the rightest thing while dismissing the other.

Different job fields have different requirements. Furthermore, not all professions require the experience gained through an apprenticeship program. As a result, before deciding on the best option, you should consider your career interests and targets. Furthermore, referring to the above differences would help you choose the ideal program for yourself.

The Takeaway

As our efforts to build the right talent pool expands, we focus more on making candidates job-ready. Gone are the days when classroom instruction was enough to secure a job. Instead, practical exposure to the real professional world is now taking center stage. Of course, there is no shortage of educational programs that offer internships at the end, but there are also emerging apprenticeship training programs that prepare candidates for employment. So, if you want to learn more about apprenticeships and internships, get in touch with our experts right away.

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