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Internship vs Placement: A Detailed Comparison [2024]

Amina Ibrahim

Discover the key differences between internship vs placement and get valuable insights on how each option can shape your career path.

People often get confused between internships and placements, even though both are crucial experiences. While placements do require a longer commitment than internships, the difference is not solely about time. There is a lot more to consider when choosing between them.

Our article reveals the fine details and thoroughly analyses both programs. We want to give you the knowledge and confidence to make a smart decision. So if you are aiming for top-notch work experience at the university level, this article will provide the guidance you need.

What is an internship?

Internship vs Placement - Why internships are important

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An internship is a temporary, supervised opportunity for college students or graduates to gain real work experience but for the short term. It lets you apply the theoretical work learned in universities and other higher education institutions to real-world situations. 

Internships can go on for a few weeks or a few months and are usually pursued during the summer break of the college years. They give you a chance to understand your chosen field better and prepare for future employment. Internships also help you learn more about a particular field or industry and determine if it is a good fit for you. 


There are different types of internships, including:

  • Remote internships allow you to work from your location rather than at a physical office.


Internship vs Placement - Benefits Of Remote Internship

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  • Paid internship programs pay you a wage or stipend for your work. These can vary in terms of payment amount and frequency. However, it is much less than what a full-time employee gets. 
  • In Unpaid internships, you might receive other benefits like experience or networking opportunities.
  • Credit-based internships provide you with academic credit towards your degree in exchange for your work. These internships are often arranged through educational institutions and have specific requirements for credit fulfillment.
  • Summer internships typically align with the break in the academic calendar. 
  • Co-op internships (Cooperative Education) alternate periods of academic study with periods of full-time work experience. These internships are longer in duration and provide you with more extensive hands-on experience.

5 proven benefits of internship 

Internship vs Placement - Benefits of internship

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Internships provide a jumpstart to your career. They expose you to a long list of benefits during your college years. Here’s how it can boost your career and personal development.

1. Gain practical experience

Internships help you explore what goes beyond classroom learning. It is a bridge between theoretical learning and the practical work world. This exposure polishes your abilities and gives you insights into industry practices and day-to-day operations. 

Internships let you tangibly apply what you learned and enhance your problem-solving, time management, and teamwork skills while offering a deeper understanding of your chosen field.

2. Build your network & professional connections

Through Internships, you meet new people who become a possible link to valuable connections. These relationships you build during your internship serve as a support system as you navigate transitions in your career in the future.

Expect industry insights, mentorships, referrals, and recommendations from these professional connections you make during this short but valuable time. The confidence you build when you know you are with the right people helps advance your career at the right pace.

3. Explore different career paths & industries

Internships offer a first-hand glimpse into different career avenues. They are the testing grounds that allow you to assess your interest in diverse fields. Internships are low-risk yet high-rewarding experiments where you always end up gaining experience.

4. Develop new skills

Internships teach you skills that go beyond classroom learning. They equip you with the expertise to adapt and tackle real-world challenges – you improve your communication, solve problems, and pick up other job-related skills. 

Also, when you get into a professional setting, you gain insights into which skills are most beneficial within the organisation. This helps you identify areas for improvement so you can stay ahead of the competition and become a better employable prospect for big names in the industry. 

5. Enhance your resume & make yourself more competitive

If you want a strong resume to help you get the perfect grad job, you would need to load it with your internship ventures. The tasks, project responsibilities, and achievements from your internship become valuable entries that showcase your capabilities to potential employers. 

Having internships on your resume signals initiative, a desire to learn, and the ability to apply theoretical knowledge practically. The bottom line: employers appreciate employable prospects with internship experiences as they have a headstart on workplace integration.

3 drawbacks of an internship

Internships are great but if we look into the dynamics, they come with their share of challenges. Here’s what you need to know:

A. Limited responsibility & tasks

While basic tasks are part of the learning curve, they should be balanced with more complex responsibilities to feel fulfilled and adequately challenged in the workplace. During internships, you will often find yourself engaged in routine or simplistic tasks, hence missing out on the chance for more challenging responsibilities. 

As an intern, you are energetic and more inclined towards tasks that contribute big to your learning and skill development. However, if they don't have many challenging tasks to perform, it could be tough to learn and improve during the internship, and that might make the experience less valuable overall. 

B. Time commitment can conflict with studies

Internships demand time commitments that can clash with academic schedules. Juggling work responsibilities alongside studies becomes a challenge, and this delicate equilibrium can impact your overall academic performance.

The struggle to meet both work and study commitments causes burnout and as a result, you will not excel in either domain. This shows why it is important to think about how much time you can commit before starting an internship.

C. May not lead directly to full-time employment 

Even with experience, securing a permanent role within the same organisation is not guaranteed. Even though the skills you gain during your internship will tip the scales in your favour, moving from being interns to becoming full-time employees doesn't happen automatically. 

Getting a full-time job depends on many different factors like what the company needs and if there are job openings.

What is a placement?

Placements are year-long work commitments in a specific industry and are integrated into university programs. During placements, students temporarily step away from their regular studies to work full-time for a company or organisation. They take place between the penultimate and final year of a degree

After completing the placement, they return to finish their degree. You may have heard other words for it like:

  • A placement year
  • A year in the industry
  • A sandwich placement
  • An industrial placement

The main goal of a placement is to gain practical skills and direct exposure to a specific job or industry. Not every university offers placements as part of your degree unless a certain course requires it as a mandatory aspect. But optional or not, placement students can earn academic credits for completing this module and also boost their occupational competence. 

5 proven benefits of a placement

Internship vs Placement - Benefits of placement

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 Taking a placement year is nothing but a smart investment in your future success. Here are the top 5 benefits that placement years offer. 

I. Gain in-depth experience in a specific field

Books are great for awareness but to understand the inner workings and build connections, you need real experience – and that is what you get during your placement year.

During these 12 months of learning, you experience the daily workings of your chosen field. You step into the shoes of professionals and see firsthand how things function in an organisation.

II. Work on real-world projects and contribute to a team

During a placement year, your books are no longer your sole reliance. Case studies come to life as you become an active participant in the real-world scenarios they depict. You become part of a team where every inch of your contribution matters. 

Additionally, you collaborate closely with experienced professionals which enhances teamwork and communication skills. This practical experience, paired with your academic foundation, sets you apart from the competition and makes you truly exceptional. 

III. Increase your chances of getting hired after graduation

As a placement student, your chances of securing a permanent job from your employer become higher. Even if a permanent role isn't offered, the connections you make during the placement serve as references for future job applications. In either case, work placement significantly enhances your employability and gives you a major advantage in the job market.

IV. Potentially earn a salary or competitive stipend

Many placements offer competitive salaries or stipends which can be valuable financial support during your studies. This income helps you cover living expenses, reduces reliance on student loans, and even allows you to save for the future.

The specific amount you earn will vary depending on several factors – placement location, industry, and company size. Regardless, placement year participants often earn well above minimum wage, with some positions offering salaries matching entry-level graduate roles.

V. Build a strong foundation for your career

Placement is a true starting point of your career. Some may not like the idea of taking a year off from the academic year but a placement is an investment of your time in your future professional life – with good returns. 

The skills, networks, understanding of workplace dynamics, and exposure to the ins and outs of the industry will be the deliberate stepping stones toward your professional goals. Every brush of experience will make you more prepared to face the professional world challenges with confidence.

3 drawbacks of a placement

Here’s what you need to know in this regard.

a. Rigorous selection process

The search for placement is tough, unlike most internships. Securing a placement involves a rigorous application process. You can expect multiple rounds of interviews and assessments that demand both strong academic standing and relevant skills. 

You have to diligently prepare for the whole process and showcase your qualifications to stand out from a competitive pool of candidates.

b. Limited options depending on the program

Not all academic programs or organisations offer placement opportunities. This limitation could be because of industry partnerships, funding restrictions, or program structure. 

Before you decide on a program, do your research. Directly inquire about the availability of placement opportunities within your chosen field. If placements are crucial for your career goals, compare various program offerings and their respective placement support.

c. May involve relocating to a different city

One big downside of a placement year is that you might have to relocate. This means you will have to spend more money on living costs, figure out how to get around in a new place and adjust to a new social environment.

Even though it can be personally rewarding, these things can pose logistical and financial challenges. So plan your budget well and think about if you are ready for these changes.

Internship vs placement: 5 major differences 

Since these 2 programs are frequently intermixed, we decided it was necessary to have a parallel comparison to clear any ambiguity surrounding them.





Typically during summer break, lasting from several weeks to a few months

Usually for a year or 9 months, occurring between the penultimate and final year of a degree

Academic Integration

Separate from academic studies, voluntary

Integrated into academic requirements, mandatory for some degree programs


Introductory experience, exploring different careers and basic skills

In-depth involvement in major projects, providing comprehensive experience in a specific job


Variable payment, sometimes unpaid or with a stipend

Paid a salary or competitive stipend

Application & Selection Process

Direct outreach to employers, competitive selection process

Structured application process coordinated by university career services, stringent criteria for selection

i. Duration


Internships usually take place outside regular academic semesters (usually in the summer break) that span from several weeks to a few months. They offer a relatively short-term exposure to the work environment.


Placements are usually for a year but some might last for 9 months. They take place between the penultimate and final year of a degree.

ii. Academic integration


Internships are usually something you choose to do on your own. You do them because you want to, not because you have to. They are separate from your academic studies and the experience might or might not relate directly to their academic needs.


These are tightly woven into academic requirements, hence the name sandwich placements. They are a mandatory component of some university degree programs and count towards your grades. Placements are a big part of the overall curriculum.

iii. Focus


Internships are meant for beginners. They give you a feel of a certain job or industry. During internships, you can try out different careers and learn basic skills that are important for that field.


During placements, you get deeply involved in major projects and fully experience what it is like to work in a specific job every day. They give you a complete experience that could help you get a job after you graduate.

iv. Compensation


Interns might get paid differently, sometimes not at all, and other times with a stipend. Usually, the main focus is on what you learn rather than how much you earn.


On the other hand, placements pay you a salary or a competitive stipend. This acknowledges the longer commitment and deeper involvement expected during placements.

v. Application & selection process


Internships are known for being diverse and competitive. That is why you have to directly reach out to the employers. The selection process can be rigorous and you have to actively showcase your skills and enthusiasm.


Placement opportunities have a more structured application process. They are coordinated by university career services and the criteria for selection are often more stringent. This is to ensure a strong alignment with academic goals and program requirements.

Prosple: Your gateway to internship & placement success

Prosple Australia


Prosple specialises in bridging students, graduates, and young professionals with internship and placement opportunities across various industries and locations in Australia. Our platform makes it easy to discover new opportunities – one profile is all you need and our systemised application process will take care of the rest. Yes, it is that easy. 

Let's explore how Prosple can simplify your search for internships and placements:

1. Diverse pool of opportunities

Prosple has a comprehensive database of internships and placement opportunities spanning various industries and sectors. This gives you access to a wide range of opportunities, from entry-level positions to specialised graduate programs.

2. Tailored matching system

Our platform employs a sophisticated matching algorithm that considers your profile, skills, education, and preferences. It suggests internships and placements that align with your qualifications and career aspirations.

3. Personal profiles & resumes

With Prosple, you can create detailed profiles to showcase your education, skills, work experience, and interests. It allows you to upload resumes and portfolios so that employers can easily gain insights into your qualifications.

4. Opportunity listings and alerts

Regularly updated with new internship and placement listings, Prosple allows you to browse opportunities and filter them by industry, location, duration, and work rights. You can also set up alerts to receive notifications about new opportunities that match your criteria.

5. Efficient application management

Prosple streamlines the application process. You can submit applications directly to internships and placements you are interested in. This means you don’t have to navigate various company websites. Prosple's intuitive dashboard keeps you informed every step of the way so you can focus on preparing for potential interviews with confidence.

6. Job eligibility for international students

For international students seeking internships or placements in Australia, Prosple's Work Rights feature simplifies job eligibility. You can find opportunities that match your visa eligibility so you apply only for positions you qualify for.

7. Resources hub & insights

Prosple offers helpful resources to guide you through finding internships or placements. Our articles, guides, and tips cover everything you need to know. Learn how to ace interviews, write a great resume, and get insights specific to your industry. With Prosple, you have the tools to succeed in your search and land the perfect opportunity for you.


Having university-level experience on your resume can make a big difference. This is where you have to make smart choices when it comes to deciding between internship vs placement.  

Prosple is your all-in-one platform for securing internships and placements in Australia. It streamlines the application process and maximises your chances of success. Whether you are an international student or a local university graduate, Prosple has a vast database of exclusive opportunities for you. Register now and find one that fits your interests and goals perfectly.