Both, practicum and internship provide the perfect opportunities to bridge the gap between studentship and professionalism, which somehow, a lot of students fail to connect while crossing this vital threshold of life. But what is the difference between the two?
Practicum can be described as a sort of field experience where an individual has to assist someone or, observe, or record data and take limited responsibility. A practicum involves limited exposure to the real-world scenario with limited or predetermined objectives. It can be done part-time or maybe once a week. Here an individual may or may not have to rely on his/her previous coursework to gain knowledge or experience in the related field. Since practicums are generally done part-time, or for small durations, the remuneration is also relatively low.
An internship can be termed as an on-field experience that usually involves working full-time for a duration that can range from a month to a year or even longer. An intern is required to use his knowledge of the concerned field or topic in order to carry out the responsibility that is entrusted to him/her. A student doing an internship is introduced to the actual running or functioning of his/her designated field of experience. As an intern works for an extended period on-field, he/she is paid relatively well. Besides an internship can lead to permanent employment after graduation.
Practicum or Internship?
Practicum and internship are meant to serve the same purpose, i.e. to gear you up for the industry. The only difference lies in the fact that there is a slight nuance in the approach, phase and the grooming methods. We could rather put it in this way that practicum precedes internship. Internship training requires the students to be more responsible and aware of the given environment. One should initially understand and perform well in his/her practicum sessions which are conducted during the academic tenure and try applying those skills during the internship period where he/she has to work directly under the employer. During this process, one gets to hone his craft for which he/she could avail a nominal or satisfactory remuneration called a ‘stipend’. On the contrary, a student undergoing the practicum period is not entitled to any compensation because this is simply a practical session incorporated into the academic term to provide an overview of what they precisely would be doing when hired for the actual job. However, their efforts could be acknowledged by offering them letters of appreciation or bonus points for excellent work. Also, any basic expenses incurred by the students, such as commuting costs, should be reimbursed by the supervisor.
To sum up, practicums and internships are quite similar, where individuals or students learn by working on-field. Both forms of experience require an agreement among the applicant or student, his/her educational institution, and the company or agency where the students intend to work. Another difference between the two is an internship tends to be presided over by an employer rather than a professor in case of a practicum.
In some cases a student or applicant may be required to apply for both types of job training which offer hands-on training. As a student, it can be difficult to decide which one to opt for, the smart choice would be to opt for both. An internship and practicum can be beneficial, also once the basics are learned, an internship can follow a practicum.