An internship can be defined as a volunteer position with a not-for-profit organization or it can be a paid position with a Fortune 500 company. Typically, however, an internship is a supervised learning experience where one offers time and energy in a professional setting and role as a temporary employee.
In other words, internships extend only for a limited time. An internship is often arranged via a college degree program or other academic venue, but, not always. In addition, an internship intends to depart actual work experience to participants. In exchange, the intern is expected to provide his or her own time, talent, and pre-professional knowledge in the work environment. An internship is intended to extend the actual learning experience to other real world environments.
One thing most all internship programs have in common is oversight. The purpose of the professional supervision is to ensure that the intern is gaining the experience that is related to the education. That the position furthers the goal of gaining professional on-the-job experience is usually necessary if student will be awarded some type of experiential credit for the effort. If not, the company likely will provide some type of mentor in the actual work environment in the event of questions. There usually are certain learning objectives associated with the experience.
There are also internships, which can be attained outside the world of academia; these are typically the paid positions. They are best suited to individuals curious about a potential career change or other employment related move. Similar to temp jobs, an internship is generally of a limited time span.
This is not always the situation but does seem the general rule. An internship can be of two varieties, paid and unpaid. In academic settings, interns usually receive some type of paid compensation, except for those internships within non-profit organizations. Typically, the not-for-profit internships are designed as volunteer positions and receive no monetary compensation.
According to one academic source:
An internship can provide a different sort of classroom for expanding your learning; it can help you explore and test hunches about a career field; it can build your resume and launch your career. An internship can provide a different sort of classroom for expanding your learning; it can help you explore and test hunches about a career field; it can build your resume and launch your career.
The purpose and value associated with any type of internship is beyond the scope of this article, however, suffice to suggest everyone gains from the experience. If you are considering a career change, an internship will provide valuable insight to the actual on the job responsibilities and tasks associated with a new job or position.