September 13, 2021

Say What: Internships vs. Apprenticeships

Learn the lingo

Learn the differences, see which might be right for you

Learning, of course, is the goal of any college experience. Part of that education means familiarizing yourself with some unfamiliar terms. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

As part of an occasional series, we’ll explain phrases, lingo or topics to add to your college vocabulary. We call it “Say What?” If there’s a topic you’d like to see covered, please send suggestions to [email protected].

Today we’ll learn about internships and apprenticeships.

Internships and apprenticeships are two great ways to better understand the responsibilities of your intended career. Internships offer the opportunity for students to “test drive” a potential job, and employers get the opportunity to evaluate a possible future team member. In contrast, apprenticeships are a good fit for those who are already passionate about an occupation and are no longer in the exploratory phase.

Schoolcraft College offers paths to internships and apprenticeships. So what is the difference? See the chart below for a general comparison:

EmphasisOn-the-job learningOn-the-job training
Usual duration1 to 12 months1 to 4 years
StructureEntry-level workFocus on mastering specific skills
MentorshipNot always providedIndividualized training with experienced mentor
PayUsually paidAlways paid
Credential earned?Not usuallyYes – national credential from Dept. of Labor
College credit?PossibleYes
A table comparing internships and apprenticeships structure

Information from

Person attaching wire to plexiglass
Schoolcraft College student Logan Leinbach is the first Woodwork Manufacturing Specialist apprentice. The College and Leinbach’s employer, Burke Architectural Millwork, helped develop the apprenticeship for the Department of Labor.

Let’s take a closer look at both.


Karen Maxton is Employment and Internship Coordinator, Occupational Programs, at Schoolcraft College. In her role, she’s continuously in contact with industry professionals as well as placement and training agencies to understand the needs in the business environment. With that knowledge, she assesses students’ job skills and matches them with employer needs. To prepare students for this next step, she assists with resume building and interview prep/mock interviews.

Once the match is made, Maxton follows up as necessary to ensure a positive and productive experience for both the student and the employer. She also works with employers to develop customized rapid-response, non-credit training programs.

For more information about internships, please contact Karen Maxton by email at [email protected] or by phone at 734-462-4787.


Pamela Linton is the Apprenticeship Coordinator for Schoolcraft College. She collaborates with area businesses and the Department of Labor (DOL) to establish apprenticeship programs to meet talent needs. As part of this role, Linton assists employers in creating curriculum related to their occupations, and helps students determine if apprenticeship is the right path for them. 

Apprenticeships, which are called the “earn and learn” model, offer opportunities in a wide array of areas, covering almost every student interest.  There are currently over 1,200 apprenticeable occupations through the DOL, with more added every year. Currently, Schoolcraft College is proud to have 60 apprentices, representing 20-plus occupations, placed at over 20 area companies.

For more information about apprenticeships, please contact Pamela Linton by email at [email protected] or by phone at 734-462-7372.

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