Externship vs. Internship: How Do They Differ?

Externships and internships provide a valuable professional experience. But what’s the difference, and which should you choose to reach your career goals?

  • Externships and internships are short-term learning experiences.
  • Interns handle tasks or projects, and many internships are paid.
  • Externs follow experienced professionals to learn more about their responsibilities.
  • Each of these opportunities can help launch your career in a new field.

What’s the Difference Between an Internship and an Externship?

Externships and internships offer unique benefits. Before looking for externship or internship opportunities, ensure you know what you’ll get from these experiences.

Interns take on responsibilities and gain hands-on experience. Externs usually shadow a professional without completing job-related tasks. Unlike an internship, which behaves more like an entry-level job, an externship can be as short as one day.

Internships and externships can help your career. About 70% of interns receive a job offer from the company where they interned.

Although an externship tends to offer a less direct route to a job offer, it can still help young professionals identify a career path to pursue.


  • A short-term professional learning opportunity
  • Typically 3-4 months long
  • Most internship opportunities offer pay
  • Internships are typically advertised publicly
  • Colleges often connect students with internship opportunities
  • You can list internships on your resume
  • A short-term professional learning opportunity
  • It can last a single day to several weeks
  • Most externships do not offer pay
  • Externships may be publicly advertised or informal
  • Colleges often connect students with externship opportunities
  • You can list externships on your resume


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