Apprenticeship vs. Internships: Differences, Benefits, and More

If you have ever seen the TV show The Apprentice or the movie The Internship, you know how common an apprenticeship or internship is in popular culture. But, do you know why these positions can be helpful to your small business? They aren’t only beneficial to workers. Employers benefit from having an apprentice or intern in their business.

Do you know the difference between an apprenticeship and internship? Finding out information about both can help you figure out which one your small business needs.

Apprenticeship vs. internship

Maybe you think of an intern as someone who pours their heart into work without getting paid and an apprentice as someone who spends their life learning a trade from a craftsman. Or, you might use the terms apprenticeship and internship interchangeably. But what are apprenticeships and internships?

What is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a job training program that teaches skills required for a particular industry. Apprenticeships are full-time, paid positions. At the end of the apprenticeship, the apprentice is certified to work in their trade. Apprenticeships are typically necessary for skilled occupations, such as a hair stylist or an electrician.

Someone pursuing an apprenticeship signs a contract and is brought on board for at least a year. Apprenticeships involve both work experience and classroom learning. An apprentice trains under someone skilled in a particular area and may be offered a job when they complete the program.

After their program ends, 87% of apprentices are employed.

Apprenticeship opportunities

Apprenticeships are available in a variety of different fields. Some of the most common apprenticeships include carpenters, chefs, electricians, plumbers, interior designers, hair stylists, and healthcare workers.

Benefits of having an apprentice in your small business

Having an apprentice can be beneficial to employers. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, apprentices can reduce recruitment costs and turnover rates.

Apprenticeships might be the financially wise decision for your small business. Apprentices typically earn 40-50% less than an employee who already has experience. And, if you hire an apprentice, you can receive tax credits depending on your business’s location.

After an apprentice finishes their apprenticeship, you could offer them a position. They would not need training since they would have trained during their apprenticeship. Also, your new employee would be skilled in the industry as well as know how your business operates.

Is an apprentice right for your small business? If your business requires a specific skill, you might consider hiring an apprentice. Even though you will need to invest time into training your apprentice, you could earn $1.47 in productivity per dollar spent on the apprenticeship.

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What is an internship?

Internships are temporary work opportunities to learn general job responsibilities at a company. The positions are typically part-time and only last a few months to a year. Interns can do work in the field they are pursuing or light office duties, depending on where they intern.

Many colleges encourage students, specifically seniors, to have an internship for at least a semester in exchange for college credit. Completing an internship prepares the intern to handle job responsibilities in their industry. And, interns might receive full-time job offers at the place they interned.

Take a close look at your payroll budget when considering paid vs. unpaid internships. An intern can be unpaid as long as the program meets certain conditions. See the Department of Labor for more information on unpaid internships. Interns, paid or unpaid, do not replace a regular employee. An unpaid intern is not considered an employee and is not included on payroll.

Classifying your workers correctly is crucial, whether they are interns, employees, or independent contractors. Misclassification can result in hefty fines or even jail time. Our free guide for employee classification provides information about worker misclassification and how to prevent it.

Approximately 65% of students graduating with bachelor’s degrees participated in internships.

Internship opportunities

There are internship opportunities in almost every field, including accounting, marketing, chemistry, and computer science.

Benefits of having an intern in your small business

Creating an internship program can be beneficial to your small business. Having an internship program helps you recruit an extra set of hands at your small business. Also, colleges are always encouraging students to take internships, meaning you won’t run out of applicants.

Since interns are typically college students, they might learn something in school that would benefit your business. A good intern will bring fresh ideas and enthusiasm to your small business.

Interns can also turn into full-time employees. If you like the work your intern does and need a position filled when their internship ends, you can make them a job offer.

One NACE survey found that 75% of employers prefer hiring employees with relevant work experience.

Is an intern right for your business? Hiring millennials who have interned for you can save you money even after they come on board full-time. You do not have to spend time training them since they have already worked at your business. And, they already understand your mission and how your business works.

Thinking of hiring an apprentice or paid intern? Adding new employees to payroll is easy if you have online payroll software. Patriot Software lets you enter and approve payroll for each employee. Try it for free today!

This article was updated from its original publication date of 11/16/2016.

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