What is an internship or externship?  

Completing an internship or externship will give you short-term work experience in a professional setting. Both internships and externships offer great opportunities to explore your chosen profession and help you make good career choices. If you manage your time well, you’ll be able to pick and choose a mix of internships and externships to give you diverse experiences.

While either will help you gain valuable insight about your chosen career field, there are some clear differences between the two, as the chart below indicates.

Internships and Job Offers

81% of the CoB Spring Class of 2023 bachelor's degree recipients gained program-related work experience during their time at JMU with 58% of those receiving a job offer from the internship. 


Duration: Typically a semester or longer

Number: Students usually complete no more than two while attending college

Experience: Meaningful, often long-term projects, with assigned responsibilities and deadlines

Benefits: Usually paid (in businesses)

Educational Benefits: Usually college credit; academic advisor will interface with workplace supervisor

Career Benefits: Contacts, networking, possibility of leading into long-term employment

Approach: Professionalism and commitment


Duration: Usually a day or a week (can complete over a winter or spring break)

Number: Short time period allows for many, providing insights into different work environments

Experience: Generally, job-shadowing; real-life preview of a career

Benefits: Unpaid

Educational Benefits: No college credit; student makes arrangements

Career Benefits: Contacts, networking, possibility of leading to internship

Approach: Professionalism and commitment

--Comparison information courtesy of externships.com

The University Career Center at JMU can let you know more about internships, externships, and help you find either.  Their Internship Resources page is especially useful.

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