What is an Externship?

When students start looking for ways to learn outside of the campus and classroom, they most often consider finding an internship to gain crucial skills in the type of workplace they plan to dedicate their working lives to. Though an internship can be beneficial to a student’s education, there are other ways to learn that provide a student with one-on-one time with a person in a certain position.

What is an Externship?

Externships are job shadowing opportunities where students observe and learn from experienced and respected individuals. Students most often pursue externships in the field they intend to work in, typically shadowing someone in the type of position they aspire to occupy. For example, if a student is studying business with the intent of becoming a CFO, they may seek an job shadowing opportunity with a well-known CFO to see how a successful professional conducts business. Externships are short-term programs that last for a handful of days during a break from regular study.

Internships Vs. Externships

There are some big differences between internships and externships. Firstly, externships are usually unpaid. This is because the student is not actually doing a job, they are simply monitoring the person who is. This is an extended learning opportunity rather than a position of employment. Secondly, externships do not count for credit towards a degree for the same reasons they are unpaid.

Related: What is the Best Way to Find a College Internship?

What externships lack in college credit and a paycheck they make up for in great experience. An externship allows for a student to investigate the inner workings of positions they are interested in pursuing on their career path so they can better hone their skills for internships and post-graduate jobs to come.

How To Find The Right Externships For You

Externships are quickly becoming a critical “must-have” for many of the top companies in the country. How can you get your hands on one of these great, short-term learning opportunities? Once a student has narrowed down the list of jobs they may be interested in pursuing, those seeking job shadow programs can:

  • Research different corporate externship programs
  • Network with contacts for connections
  • Reach out to a company or professional via social media
  • Talk with an academic advisor about any programs affiliated with your institution
  • and most importantly, always keep your eyes open for new opportunities!

Are Externships Right For You?

If you are a recent high school graduate, you may already know about the benefits of the job shadow or work shadow opportunities provided by programs like externships. Many law schools, medical schools, and business schools are now strongly suggesting or even requiring that students participate in at least one job shadow program to immerse themselves in the type of work they imagine themselves doing, if for no other reason than to see if it is the right environment for them. The unpaid aspect of externships may seem like a deal-breaker for many busy students, but the real life experience and one on one time with a seasoned professional is worth its weight in gold.