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Apprenticeship vs. Internship: Which Way to Go?

Torn between an apprenticeship and an internship? Our guide helps you understand the pros and cons of each, paving your path to a fulfilling career. Discover your best fit with Blinkist!
by Rob Gillham | Feb 14 2024
Apprenticeship vs. Internship: Which Way to Go?

Are you just out of high school or college, standing at the beginning of your career journey, and wondering what’s next? Or maybe you’re considering a career change and looking for the best entry point.

Wherever you are, deciding between an apprenticeship and an internship is a pivotal first step in carving out your professional growth.

And be careful, because this choice might lay the foundation for your future. But don’t worry, we at Blinkist have your back.

In our guide, Apprenticeship vs. Internship, we’ll explore both options, helping you to make a smart decision that aligns with your career development.

What Is an Apprenticeship?

At its core, an apprenticeship is a program where you get paid to learn a job. It’s like having one foot in the classroom and the other in the workplace.

You spend part of your time working under the guidance of experienced professionals, and the other part learning the theoretical aspects of your trade in a more traditional educational setting.

The big benefit is that you’re not just learning about a job; you’re actually doing it. This hands-on training gives you a real-world experience.

You’ll be tackling actual tasks and challenges, guided by professionals who know the ins and outs of the industry.

And perhaps the most appealing aspect of apprenticeships is the “earn while you learn” model. As an apprentice, you receive a salary.

This means you can start earning an income while building the skills and knowledge for your chosen career.

How Much Do You Make in an Apprenticeship?

On average, if you’re an apprentice in the United States, you might make about $37,107 a year. This number comes from, a portal for job salaries comparisons.

But remember, this is just an average. Some apprentices might make less, around $26,000 a year, and others could earn up to $51,000.

Also, where you live can make a big difference in how much you earn. For example, apprentices in places like Alaska, Hawaii, and North Dakota tend to make more money.

In Alaska, apprentices can make around $51,422, which is quite a bit above the average.

What Is an Internship?

An internship is essentially a temporary position offered by an organization to provide practical work experience. It’s a unique opportunity, particularly for students or recent graduates, to gain hands-on experience in a real-world professional environment. 

Internships are typically short-term, often lasting a few months. This temporary nature makes them an ideal way to explore different industries or roles without a long-term commitment.

Whether you’re eyeing a role as a software engineer intern or envisioning a career in product management, internships offer a window into diverse professional worlds. 

Many internships are also flexible, accommodating part-time schedules that can fit around academic commitments or other responsibilities. One of the great benefits of Internships is that they’re not just about the work experience; they’re also a fantastic way to network.

Many interns find that their internship experience leads to job opportunities, either within the same organization or through the networks they build.

How Much Can You Earn as an Intern?

On average, interns might earn around $15 to $20 per hour. But this can go up or down depending on the industry. In high-paying sectors like tech or finance, interns can make between $20 to $30 per hour, or even more.

This is higher than many other industries, where the pay might be closer to $10 to $15 per hour.

But also where you’re interning plays a big role in how much you get paid. In big cities or places with a high cost of living, like New York City or San Francisco, interns are often paid more to help with the higher living costs.

For example, interns in these cities can sometimes earn over $25 per hour, especially in high-demand industries.

In some cases, especially in high-demand tech and finance roles at large companies, interns can earn quite a bit. It’s not unheard of for interns in these fields at top companies to make as much as a full-time entry-level employee.

This could mean earning $7,000 to $8,000 a month in exceptional cases. Here’s a list of the Internship Salaries at Top US Employers.

Unpaid Internships

It’s important to acknowledge that not all internships come with a paycheck. Unpaid internships are still prevalent in certain fields, where the emphasis is more on the learning experience and gaining industry exposure than on financial compensation.

And before we’ll dive deeper into the benefits of apprenticeships and internships, it’s essential to consider a fundamental question: Do you know which career is right for you? This decision goes beyond weighing options like apprenticeships and internships; it also involves understanding your personality and finding the right career path for you.

Blinkist offers a curated book collection to help you discover the best job based on your personality. Are you curious?


The Benefits of Apprenticeships and Internships

Now let’s explore the advantages each offers:

What Are the Benefits of Apprenticeships?

  1. Hands-On: If you prefer learning by doing and want to gain practical skills in a specific trade or profession, apprenticeships are ideal.
  2. Career-Focused: Those who have a clear idea of the trade or profession they want to pursue will benefit from the focused training of an apprenticeship.
  3. Immediate Employment: If you’re looking to quickly enter the workforce and earn while you learn, apprenticeships offer a direct path to employment.
  4. Trade and Technical Careers: Ideal for trades like electricians, plumbers, carpenters, or technical fields such as advanced manufacturing, IT, and healthcare.

What Are the Benefits of Internships?

  1. Exploratory Learners: If you’re still deciding on a career path or want to explore different aspects of an industry, internships provide a broader overview.
  2. Academic Environments: Students or recent graduates who want to supplement their academic knowledge with real-world experience.
  3. Networking: Those who aim to build professional networks and gain diverse experiences will find internships particularly valuable.
  4. Corporate and Creative Fields: Ideal for industries like business, finance, marketing, software engineering, and creative arts.
  5. Resume Builders: If you’re looking to enhance your resume with diverse experiences and skills, internships are a great choice.


Apprenticeship vs. Internship: The Pros and Cons

Each has its own good points and some not-so-good points. It’s essential to think about these carefully to figure out what’s best for you and your career dreams. Let’s now talk about what you can expect from both options:

Apprenticeships Internships
Duration Longer (1-4 years) Shorter (a few weeks to several months)
Learning Style Hands-on, job-specific training Broad exposure to a professional field
Earnings Paid, with progressive wage scale Varies; can be paid or unpaid
Outcome Often leads to direct employment Enhances resume; sometimes leads to employment
Mentorship Direct mentorship from skilled professionals Exposure to professionals; less direct mentorship
Flexibility Structured, less flexible schedule Often more flexible; can be part-time
Skill Development Focused on specific trade or skill Broad skill development in a field
Career Pathway Direct, clear pathway in a specific trade Offers a general view, good for exploring options

After reading our detailed Apprenticeship vs. Internship guide, we hope you’ve gathered all the information you need to make an informed decision about your future.

And for those of you eager to map out their professional journey with clarity and purpose, Blinkist Magazine offers a fantastic resource. Check out “How To Create A Career Map” for expert tips on setting goals and navigating your path to success.

Apprenticeship vs. Internship –  a Short Summary

In summary, when comparing apprenticeship vs internship, both offer unique benefits for career progression:

Apprenticeships focus on learning through hands-on experience. If you’re certain about the job you want, they’re an excellent starting point.

You’ll acquire practical skills, engage in real work, and earn while you learn. Plus, there’s a good chance of securing a job right after you complete your apprenticeship. You will find apprenticeships on job seeker platforms, like LinkedIn.

Internships are ideal if you’re still in the process of deciding on your career path or if you want to enhance your academic knowledge with practical experience. They are an ideal way to explore specific roles, such as a software engineer intern or a product manager internship, giving you a taste of what these dynamic positions entail.

But keep in mind, internships might not always be paid. Here are some internships for you in the USA.

If you’re still pondering which path to choose or if you’re seeking more insights to boost your career journey, we at Blinkist have just the thing for you. Dive into the world of career development with our curated collection of top books on Career & Success at Blinkist.

And the best part? You can start exploring this invaluable resource with a 7-day free trial at Blinkist. Take the leap, explore these Blinks, and set yourself on the path to career success!

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