Despite the time and time again proven success of apprenticeships, there is a negative perception among many people that they are somehow a lesser alternative to traditional education. That likely comes from a lack of information and many misconceptions about what an apprenticeship really is. The most common misconception is that apprenticeships, internships, and co-ops are more or less the same thing.
To the contrary, apprenticeships are very different and more intensive than internships. An apprenticeship is typically formal training for a job, where the employer plans to hire the apprentice. And apprenticeships last longer and pay better than internships. In today’s competitive job market, apprenticeships offer unparalleled job training and security. A co-op, on the other hand, like the program at Northwestern University, is where students combine classroom studies with full-time work for six months. Northwestern’s co-ops are with 2,000 partner employers in 69 countries.
The apprenticeship is especially pertinent for future engineers. To be able to learn, hands on, from someone in the field is invaluable. If you are preparing for higher education or re-entering the workforce, this article on the modern apprenticeship and the institutions that offer them is worth the read— because the payoffs for students, employers and colleges are too much to ignore.