Students can gain skills and knowledge in the classroom from textbooks and lectures. But hands-on experience in the lab and outside the classroom is a key part of training for a new career.
Many programs at Virginia College offer hands-on lab experience in addition to classroom training. Some programs also require students to complete an externship before graduation. Externships allow students to gain experience in real workplace settings. They also provide the opportunity for students to become confident in their abilities before they seek employment.
“Externships are great opportunities for students to gain real-world experience that can help them stand out in a competitive job market,” says National Trainer of Career Development Christian Lara. “Students are able to put their newly acquired education and skills to work with local employers in what is basically an extended job interview.”
What is an Externship?
An externship is a temporary training program in a workplace. Typically, externships are coordinated by the school and offered to students as part of a course of study. This means students get to step outside the classroom and use the skills they have acquired in school in an actual professional setting.
Externships and real-world experience are valuable because they may enable students to:
- Learn more about the field
- Impress future employers
- Identify their own strengths and weaknesses
- Connect with professionals in the field
- Use what they learned in the classroom
- Confirm what they are studying is what they want to do
- Be considered for a job
Read more about how you may be able to turn your externship into a job.
The Center for State and Local Government reports that respondents in a survey said that job-specific, technical or professional skills were in short supply.1 Externships may help bridge gaps for students seeking real-world experience. They also provide an opportunity for students to network with other professionals in the industry.
“Completing an externship is a great opportunity for a student to gain experience and practice their skills in a real work environment,” says AVP of Career Development Chris Joyce. “Externship also helps students connect with potential future employers as they seek a permanent position after graduation.”
*Virginia College does not guarantee employment or advancement.