Difference Between Practicum and Internship

Many companies these days seek experiences from their candidates in order to qualify for a job. Due to this reason, many students started working in their related fields to gain knowledge and experience.

A good resume also includes related field internship experiences and practicum experiences. There is some difference between practicum and internship.

In short, both helps a student to gain knowledge and skills in their respective field and enables them to become a professional in their field.

Practicum vs Internship

The main difference between practicum and internship is that practicum is mainly organized by the educational institution. On the other hand, the internship is organized by the respective company. Another major difference is that the intern who’s under an internship in an organization focuses more on practical approaches and learning from them, whereas the practicum is more of observation and learning.

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Practicum is generally organized by the educational institution where the respective supervisor will guide the student during his or her practicum.

They are mostly pursued by paramedic students; this enables them to have a clear understanding of how to treat someone by both classroom learning as well as real-life observations.

The internship is a popular choice among many students belonging to different fields, including sciences, management, business, etc. It is usually organized and guided by the respective company.

They may hire interns based on unpaid and paid internships. A student is said to be working in a paid internship whenever he or she receives a stipend for their work.

Comparison Table Between Practicum and Internship

Parameters of ComparisonPracticumInternship
DetailsPracticum is more into learning by observation.The internship is more about learning through working in an organization.
SupervisorThe respective guide or the supervisor is arranged by the educational institution.The mentor/reporting person for the interns.
OrganizersThey are educational institutions.They are the respective company.
Paid or unpaid jobThey are mostly unpaid.They are mostly paid as well as unpaid.
PopularityThey are popular among paramedic students.They are popular among various streams.

What is Practicum?

Practicum is also a type of learning through practice and observations. They are mostly organized by the educational organization as a part of their program. Here, the students do not more often involve in the practice.

Instead, they get to watch them and learn from them. For instance, teaching aspirants may take part in classroom activities and learn more about teaching in-depth.

At first, they may prepare some educational materials for the young students, after which they work with a small number of young students, but in internships, the aspiring teacher is said to take an entire class.

Also, it is to be noted that the practicum does not go on for a longer time. They consume only a couple of hours, whereas, in an internship, the student works for the entire time the company functions.

Generally, the students involved in a practicum follow the guidance of a senior. They do not engage deeply like the interns but take part in small activities and learn from the senior person.

They are popular among paramedic students, teaching aspirants, etc. It’s more like job shadowing, wherein students get to observe the work of the professional and learn from them.

Practicum helps a student to gain skills for their future job.

What is Internship?

Internships are opted by many nowadays. They help the students to equip them with more learning from a working environment.

Normally, a student takes up an internship with an organization to gain working experience. They mostly select their related field of the organization. Unlike practicum, the internship goes on for a long period.

It can be both paid and unpaid.

The paid internship involves the student receiving a stipend at the end or the start of the month, or it can be a performance-based internship wherein the student is rewarded with a sum after completing the targets.

It helps a student to develop their professional skills.

Internships are recommended for those who are confused about what to pursue next or which field they are okay to continue with, as internships enable them to learn about a specific field.

If the student is comfortable and keen to learn more in that field, he or she can go further in that particular field.

In most internships, the intern is placed under a mentor or sometimes called a reporting person to whom he or she has to report the day’s work.

Finally, at the completion of the internship, the student may receive a certificate of completion and a letter of recommendation from the respective organization.

Main Differences Between Practicum and Internship

  1. The internship is a kind of a working experience gained by a student. On the other hand, the practicum is more of observation-based learning.
  2. The organizer of the internship is the respective company. On the other hand, the organizer of the practicum is mostly the educational institution in which the student studies.
  3. Practicum is mostly unpaid, but internships can be both paid and unpaid.
  4. The mentor or the reporting person is the supervisor in the internship, whereas the practicum guide is the supervisor.
  5. The internship is a popular choice among various streams, whereas practicum is mostly pursued by paramedic students.
Difference Between Practicum and Internship


Nowadays, many companies are seeking profiles with a good number of experiences and skills. This can be the reason why many students are majoring in their field by working in different organizations.

Be it internship or practicum, both will boost their profile and makes them look more professional.

All the amount of learning they get from working or observing helps them to look in a broad perspective in their respective fields. Internships are pursued by many students as they help them to gain more working experience.

Teaching professionals and medical professionals seek to pursue practicum as it will help them to have a clear picture of how real job practice looks and bridge the gap between their classroom learning and practice.


  1. https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/mono/10.4324/9780203927366/practicum-internship-christin-jungers-judith-scott
  2. https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1000685
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