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Differences Between Internship and Externship

Differences Between Internship and Externship
Internship and externship are both on-the-job training programs offering short-term work experience. This CareerStint article outlines the differences between internship and externship.
Buzzle Staff
The purpose of the externship is to gain first-hand insight into a career or industry of interest. it's important that students participate in both externships and internships throughout their college career.
― Melissa Schultz, Associate Director, Career Services, Lafayette College

Internships and externships are training sessions conducted for students from all fields and faculties. They are both required in the fields of medicine, law, nursing, teaching, psychology, technology, and other sciences. They give you a glimpse of the field in which you plan to make your career. Undergoing one of these, or both, is absolutely essential for an in-depth knowledge of the work environment regarding your specialization. The following externship vs. internship comparison will help clear your doubts regarding the minor differences between both these terms.
  • It is a temporary work experience that provides an individual with all the technical skills and related knowledge so that he is ready to obtain employment in a specific field.
  • It can be described as the intermediate stage from college life to corporate life.
  • It is mostly offered to college and university students, pursuing an associate's, bachelor's, or master's degree in a particular subject.
  • It can also be offered to high school student or people wanting to gain experience in a new field.
  • After the training is over, the student can seek employment with reputed firms, or, if he is eligible enough and evaluated well by the company in which he was interning, he can be promoted over there itself.
  • It is also a temporary work experience, however, it provides just a short, practical experience for your specialization.
  • It can be described as a 'job shadowing' experience.
  • It is also offered to students from colleges and graduate schools who need a quick practical glimpse of the work they intend to do further.
  • It can also be undertaken by people wanting to gain insight into something new, however, the person should be quipped with the necessary skills and theoretical knowledge of the required field.
  • No jobs or credits are given after this session, it is just a 'mini-internship'.
Factors of Differentiation
Internship Externship
✦ It has a longer duration. It can last about 1-4 months, a semester, or even a year. ✦ It has a comparatively shorter duration. It can last for a day, a week, 3-6 weeks, or a couple of months at the most.
✦ It mostly offers some kind of payment or stipend, sometimes, even the housing and traveling costs, though some of them are unpaid. The remuneration depends largely on the field. ✦ It is generally unpaid, most of the time in fact, since it just offers students a chance to get a preview into their career.
✦ It offers very good experience, since students get to learn technical, organizational, and management skills. It offers intensive on-the-job training, and it will almost be the same as working full-time in the desired field. Students will be assigned important responsibilities and will be working on real-time projects, in most cases. ✦ It does not provide you the experience of being a full-time employee, instead it provides you with an experience of understanding what will be expected of you when you will be a full-time employee of that field. It is an experience for students to write down observations and clarify doubts.
✦ One of its primary advantages is that it offers credit, mostly, the ones that are unpaid offer academic credit. This helps while attending job interviews and even for recommendations for further studies. ✦ It does not offer any kind of school or college credit. It is just an avenue to explore your interest and understand how it works professionally.
Job Placements
✦ Since it is usually held at the end of a student's career, it offers good job placements because of the companies' advertisements for new recruits. Irrespective of that, it provides you with essential contacts and networking so that you can get a job as soon as possible. ✦ It is held anytime during the year, mostly in the middle of the semester or beginning, or during winter and sumer breaks. However, no projects are assigned or important tasks are scheduled, so you may not be given the assurance of an immediate job. Also, it means shadowing the professionals, i.e., you will be learning only about the particular aspect of the work, and this might lead to an internship with the same firm.
✦ A student graduating from management school can intern with an important financial or marketing firm for about 6 months. ✦ A student graduating from management school may have a couple of weeks off, and he may want to extern with a firm in order to only learn the basics of how the sales and advertising team works.
Both the above programs are prominent in the field of medicine. They are very essential and strict as well, since the profession requires complete dedication and expertise. Interns are carefully evaluated, and one small mistake can get them disqualified or earn them bad credits, which will affect their future.
For Doctors
  • Those aspiring to be doctors can start by becoming medical interns at private or public hospitals.
  • It is called a 'residency program', and unless you complete it successfully, you will not receive your registered medical license.
  • The duration typically lasts for a year and can be extended based on your performance.
  • If you plan to intern in your specialty, say physiotherapy or neurosurgery, the duration can vary from 2 to 7 years.
  • To qualify as an extern, you will need to participate in similar programs that hold your interest. Perhaps if a private clinic is conducting an externship of a couple of weeks for doctors interested in natural medicine, you can join in and explore your interest.
For Nurses
  • Nursing is another volatile field that requires a lot of practical experience.
  • After having completed your graduation in nursing, you can join as an intern in hospitals, nursing homes, and private clinics.
  • You have different specializations to choose from, like anesthetic, midwife, pediatrics, emergency medicine nurses, etc.
  • Your duration as an intern would be around one year (approx.), and may increase if you specialize in something more specific to support your clinical experience.
  • If you particularly want to specialize as a private nurse, or in obstetrics or HIV care, you can go in for an externship.
  • Internships in psychology can take place immediately after your graduate school, or after you complete your masters.
  • You can choose to be a mental health, sports, forensic psychologist, etc.
  • The duration and pay packet varies according to the field.
  • If you wish to extern in this field, you can go in for sub-specializations at private clinics, like teenage suicide counseling, environmental psychology, etc.
  • You can intern or extern at schools, colleges, private clinics, counseling firms, government agencies, software industries, etc.
Internships and externships are thus, very beneficial programs that can help put theoretical study into practice. They offer invaluable work experience, practical knowledge, and additional insights into professional life. Undertaking them can help boost your confidence and career, and make you more knowledgeable in your field.