Should teens pursue an internship or volunteering? The short answer is it depends on their goals, interests, and time. Both are valuable for gaining experience, learning new skills, and contributing to your community. Volunteering and internships stand out as two valuable avenues for teenagers to explore their interests, develop professionally, and make a positive impact.

Benefits of Both

  • Powerful way for teens to give back to their communities while developing essential life skills and values
  • Make a difference in your community
  • Gain experience in a professional environment
  • Gain hands-on experience in a specific field or industry
  • Build a network and practice communication skills
  • Explore potential career paths and passions
  • Step out of your comfort zone
  • Practice problem solving and decision making
  • Can stand out on college applications
  • Acquire industry-specific skills, technical knowledge, and professional competencies
  • Build your resume


Internships usually last for a set period of time such as one quarter or one month may or may not be paid. Whereas a volunteer opportunity could be from a couple of hours to a month or more and is not paid. Internships will take more effort on the student’s part to obtain. Whereas volunteer opportunities are commonly posted in various places. Lots of local events are always looking for volunteers.

How to Get the Best Experience

Use our Volunteer and Internship Guide Book. There is lots of information on how to be intentional with finding and choosing the opportunity that suits you. Including how to communicate with professionals and organizations. Do not settle for an opportunity just because you need volunteer hours for graduation. Be intentional! The experiences are out there that match your interest, passions, etc. Don’t be afraid to send an email or make a phone call to see if an opportunity is available. Not all organizations and companies post every opportunity. You have to be professionally persistent!

You Got This

Ultimately, the decision to volunteer or pursue an internship depends on a teen’s interests, goals, and aspirations. By actively engaging in both experiences, teens can broaden their horizons, discover their passions, and embark on meaningful journeys towards adulthood.