What is the Difference Between Internship and Externship

The main difference between internship and externship is that internships are paid or voluntary opportunities while externships are unpaid opportunities. In addition, externships tend to involve a shorter period of time than internships.

Both internships and externships are short work experiences companies offer to students. Although both provide professional training and knowledge of the working environment, there are slight differences between internship and externship.

Key Areas Covered

1. What is an Internship 
     – Definition, Features 
2. What is an Externship
     – Definition, Features 
3. Similarities Between Internship and Externship
     – Outline of Common Features
4. Difference Between Internship and Externship
     – Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms

Internship, Externship

Difference Between Internship and Externship - Comparison Summary

What is an Internship

An internship is a short work experience companies offer to students. Internships offer an entry-level experience to students in a specific industry or a field. As interns, students get the opportunity to learn practical work and make connections in their relevant fields as well. As a result, the students are able to develop both hard skills and soft skills. Sometimes, students may get the chance for full-time job opportunities through internships.

Compare Internship and Externship - What's the difference?

There are a number of benefits an intern can gain through his or her internship period. Apart from learning about the field, an intern is able to get real work experience, making them familiar with specific job roles. The payments for internships vary from one industry to another. Although some companies offer payment to their interns, some companies do not. These unpaid internships mostly focus on learning rather than getting work experience. There are many ways for students to find internships. For example, students may find internship opportunities through university resources, online searches, and contacting specific organizations directly.  

What is an Externship

An externship is a short training program in a workplace, especially offered to students as part of a course of study. In externships, students get exposure to the working environment, and they are able to learn about the duties involved in specific job roles.

Internship vs Externship

Externships are not usually paid opportunities. Since externships take place during the academic life of students, it is also included in their curriculum. In most instances, they receive training and get the opportunity to work on small projects. Through externships, students can receive a real-world experience of the theories they have learned in the classroom. Externships give them the chance to choose the path they want to work in the future. Externships may also lead students to get internships or full-time job opportunities in companies and organizations.

Similarities Between Internship and Externship

  • Both internships and externships give experiential learning opportunities for students in a specific field.
  • Internships and externships serve as pre-career opportunities for students to widen their work-related knowledge.
  • Both internships and externships may lead to full-time job opportunities.

Difference Between Internship and Externship


An internship is a paid or voluntary opportunity offered by a company to get professional working experience for students, whereas an externship is an unpaid opportunity offered by companies for professional training.


Although internships are lengthy programs that run over months, externships are short programs and may include a few weeks or days.


Internships can be paid or unpaid, while externships are not paid. Moreover, externships only involve training.

Program Design

Although interns get the opportunity to work in job roles within the organization, externs only get the chance to work on minor projects and observe job duties within the company.

Summary – Internship vs Externship

Internships give professional training for students with hands-on experience, with payment or a without payment while externships give professional exposure to students for a short period of time. The main difference between internship and externship is that externships do not receive payment.


1. “Everything You Need to Know About Internships—From What They Are to How to Get One.” The Muse.com
2. “What Is an Externship? (And How To Get One).” Indeed.com

Image Courtesy:

1. “Internship” Image by Epic Top 10 (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr
2. “1629589” (CC0) via Pxhere

About the Author: Gerandielle

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