Internships, Apprenticeships, & Other Work-Based Learning

How to gain experience while still in school

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There are many ways to gain experience, make business connections, and even make money while you study.

Informational Interviews –  Employers aren’t the only ones who can line up interviews to find a potential match for their company.  Students can often arrange a “reverse interview” with employers to help determine with a job or company is a good fit for them.




Job Shadowing

Job shadowing allows students to observe and learn from industry professionals in their workplace. Students gain can better envision the respective role by witnessing real day-to-day activities and situations that come up on the job.


Career Fairs

A career fair or job fair is an event in which multiple employers and recruiters gather in one location to provide information about their company or organization to dozens, or even hundreds, of potential workers. Job fairs are common in high school and college settings. Typically, employers are hiring for entry-level positions.


Field Trips / Worksite Visits

Field Trips or worksite tours are a great opportunity for students to explore new career paths by visiting worksite locations. Field trips or worksite tours are a short-term visit that allows students to engage with specific subjects or areas of interest applicable to the classroom curriculum.



Mentoring takes place between individuals with lesser experience, most often a younger person (i.e., mentees) and typically an older and/or more experienced person, (i.e., mentors) who  serves in a non-professional helping role to provide relationship-based support to benefit one or more areas of the mentee’s development.


Mock Interviews

A mock or practice interview is a simulation of an actual job interview. It provides the jobseeker or student with an opportunity to prepare for an interview and receive feedback for way to improve. This process teaches individuals how to answer difficult questions, develop interview strategies, improve communication skills and feel more comfortable when they have an actual job interview.


Service Learning

Service learning is a teaching and learning strategy that mixes meaningful community service with instruction and reflection.  The goal is to strengthen the learning experience, teach civic responsibility and build communities. This form of work-based learning allows students to engage in hands-on experiences to increase understanding of the classroom curriculum, learn about various career opportunities and learn more about numerous social issues while developing a network of industry professionals who can assist with personal and professional development.



An internship is offered by an employer to potential employees Interns work either part time or full time at a company and gain practical work or research related experience. Typical internships are paid and last one to four months.



Apprentices in North Carolina are training in more than a thousand occupations, in traditional fields as well as newer ones, including mechatronics, computer simulation, banking, medical coding, and pharmacy operations. Participants are paid an hourly wage by employers during training, a wage that increases over time as new skills are learned. Employers and their training partners, often a local community college, university or K-12 school system, provide on-the-job learning and job-related classroom or technical instruction. The training results in an industry-recognized credential that certifies occupational proficiency.


Youth Apprenticeship

A registered youth apprenticeship is an industry-driven education and career-training program based on recognized industry standards. It allows employers to address current and projected employment needs through partnership with industry, education, and government partners along with parents and youth apprentices. Youth apprentices are often identified as individuals ages 16-24 who are eligible under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) for training and employment services.



Cooperative education or a co-op allows students to preview their career path to ensure they are heading in the right direction and avoiding costly mistakes. Co-ops bring together classroom teaching with real-work experience. This method gives students the opportunity to spend traditional academic semesters working full time in a related industry. At the conclusion of a co-op, students receive at least a year of professional experience. The experience provides first-hand knowledge of a job and helps the student stand out amongst other applicants. High quality co-ops are paid, full time, major-related, supervised, and evaluated.


On-the- Job-Training (OJT)

On-the-Job-Training is defined as training of a new or newly promoted employee while he or she is doing the job he or she was hired to perform.  OJT can take place at the place of employment or in a dedicated training room/workstation with the same equipment used in the regular work environment. Typically, an experienced employee trains the OJT employee by using hands-on training experiences supported by equipment and materials needed to teach the employee how to effectively do their job.