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Difference Between Practicum vs. Internship

Internship and Practicum can be considered as the most confusing terms. Many students always get confused between the terms and end up knowing nothing. Here is the basic difference through which the student can understand the meaning of both terms. So practicum is a graduate-level or undergraduate course that is often specialized in the field of study that is designed to give the students a supervised practical application of the concurrently or previously studied theory or field. Internship, on the other hand, is a program that can be pursued by the college student in order to gain relevant working experience. The biggest difference between practicum and internship is, the practicum is unpaid, and it is a hands-off working experience, while the internship is paid or unpaid and is more hands-on working experience.

The most important difference is the scope of the work that is performed by the students in both cases. The practicums are the field assignment in which the students are allowed to observe the documents on how working for the professionals perform the job duties. The practicum helps students to understand things, while the internship is more understanding things and implementing them practically. The person working for the internship program needs to work in the office environment, while the student working for the practicum program needs to perform all the duties in the field environment that can be hard or tough.

The student, before applying for any of the programs, must understand the basic difference between both the terminologies. Here are the basic points through which the difference can be understood between the terms.


Practicum, as the name suggests, is designed to provide practical application to the subjects that are being studied. Practicums is common for mental health counselor, education, and social work. Internship, on the other hand, is a program that can be pursued by the college student in order to gain relevant working experience. The term internship is considered as the time of work experience that is provided by the organization for a short period of time. The aim of the internship is to provide a professional experience to the students.


While working for the practicum program, the student can work in a less loaded schedule. Some of the tasks can require a commitment of more time; other than this, the commitment of time duration is considerably less. While working for the internship program, the student is supposed to commit more time to perform the tasks. The internship is a full-time commitment. While working for the internship, the applicant can get many benefits that include paid time off, sick leaves, and insurance policies.


The working condition for both the terms is different. In the practicum, the applicant is asked to perform the duties in the field to gain practical working experience, while in an internship, most of the work is performed in-office. The student needs to apply everything that has been studied previously. The person is working for practicum, then all working condition is very harsh, and the student, if working for the internship program, can work in a condition that is very super cool, calm, and composed.

Supervisory Element

While working for a practicum or internship, the student is guided by the senior mentor. The person working for any of the programs will be supervised at every step and given proper guidance. But the basic difference is if the student is working for a practicum program, then the supervisor will keep a closer look at the person and will them more frequently, while if someone is working as an intern, then the student is supposed to perform the work independently with less guidance, but the student is asked to provide the report after the successful completion of the week.


The student working for the practicum program will not be provided by the stipend and is only eligible for college credit. The person working for the internship will be paid or not paid, depending upon the type of internship being pursued. The interns are provided with hourly wages as compensation because it is the training the students are receiving at an entry-level position.