Similarities and Differences between the practicum program, internship program, and fixed-term individual employment contract

The labor market is in a constant state of change. However, there are various options available through which young people can gain experience in a specific field and prepare themselves for entering the job market. Three such options are the practicum program, the internship program, and fixed-term individual employment contracts. Each of these options has distinct characteristics and offers different opportunities for skill development and gaining necessary experience in a particular field.

Practicum Program

This represents an activity carried out in accordance with the educational plan and aims to verify and consolidate the theoretical knowledge acquired during studies. It is organized by the educational institution and involves three parties: the organizer (the educational institution), the practitioner (the student), and the practice partner (a commercial company, a central or local institution, or a legal entity).

Through the practicum program, the practitioner has the opportunity to apply theoretical knowledge in a real work environment and develop specific skills in their field of study. The program takes place based on a framework contract or an agreement between the organizer and the practice partner, which regulates aspects such as the program’s duration, working hours, and the responsibilities of the parties involved.

The practicum student must adhere to the educational plan and fulfill the activities specified in the practicum contract, under the guidance and supervision of the practice partner. At the end of the program, the practicum student receives a certificate that verifies the duration and the activities undertaken during the program.

Internship Program

The Internship Program is regulated by Law no. 176/2018 and involves the establishment of a written contract between a hosting organization and an intern. The purpose of this program is to develop the interns’ professional skills and facilitate their transition from the education system to the job market.

Interns must be at least 16 years old (or 15 years old with parental consent) and are involved in specific activities related to the hosting organization’s field. The contract between the intern and the hosting organization establishes the duration and conditions of the program.

The maximum working hours for an intern, under an internship contract, are 40 hours per week, as established in the contract. Exception: For interns under the age of 18, the maximum working hours under a contract are 30 hours per week, with no more than 6 hours per day. Overtime work is prohibited.

The hosting organization must provide interns with a safe working environment and offer them opportunities for learning and professional development.

The allowance for this activity is established in the contract and can be at least 50% of the minimum gross national base salary guaranteed by law, granted proportionally according to the number of hours of activity performed (1500 RON for 2023). This allowance is subject to the provisions of Article 61, letter b), and Article 76, paragraph (2), letter s), of the Fiscal Code, and is considered to be income assimilated to salaries, for which the following are due:

  • Social Insurance Contribution (CAS) – 25% – according to Article 137
  • Health Insurance Contribution (CASS) – 10% – according to Article 155
  • Income Tax – 10% – Article 61
  • Labor Insurance Contribution (CAM) – 2.25% – according to Article 220^2

At the end of the program, the intern may receive a certificate or a recommendation attesting to the activities carried out and the experience gained.

Fixed-term Individual Employment Contract

The fixed-term individual employment contract is a form of employment used when there is a need for temporary labor or for projects/tasks with limited timeframes. This contract is concluded between the employer and the employee and establishes the duration, salary, and working conditions.

The employee with a fixed-term contract has the rights and obligations provided by law for the duration of their employment. However, they are aware that the employment relationship will automatically terminate at the end of the period specified in the contract, without the need for notification or additional agreement.

It is important for employers to respect the limits imposed by labor legislation and to provide the same rights and benefits as those with indefinite-term contracts.

Similarities and Differences Among the 3 Types of Employment

There are both similarities and differences among the internship program, practicum, and fixed-term individual employment contract. Here is a comparison among the three:


  1. Professional Experience: All three modalities offer the opportunity to gain experience in a professional environment and apply theoretical knowledge into practice.
  2. Relationship with the Hosting Organization/Employer: In all cases, there is a formal relationship between the person participating in the program (practicum student/intern/employee) and the hosting organization/employer.
  3. Legal Regulations: Both the practicum program, internship program, and fixed-term individual employment contract are regulated by specific laws and ordinances.


  1. Purpose and Duration: The practicum is designed to verify the applicability of theoretical knowledge and typically lasts between one week and 12 months. The internship program aims to develop professional skills and provide experience in a specific field, with a variable duration. The fixed-term employment contract is concluded for a defined period, with a maximum duration of 3 years, which may be determined by the employer’s needs or the temporary nature of the project/work.
  2. Parties Involved: In the practicum program, there are three parties involved – the organizer, the practicum student, and the practice partner, while in the internship program, there are only two parties – the hosting organization and the intern. The fixed-term individual employment contract involves only the employer and the worker.
  3. Remuneration: Generally, the practicum program may offer a monthly allowance or other benefits, but it is not mandatory. On the other hand, in the case of an internship program and the fixed-term individual employment contract, the intern or employee is entitled to remuneration (internship allowance/salary).

In conclusion, the practicum program, internship program, and fixed-term individual employment contract are distinct ways through which young individuals can gain experience and integrate into the job market. Each has its own rules and objectives, and the suitable choice depends on the individual goals and needs of each person. All three forms of employment offer opportunities for skill development and experience accumulation in a specific field. Each option has its advantages and peculiarities, and the choice depends on individual objectives and the needs of the hosting organization. Regardless of the chosen option, active involvement and taking on responsibilities will contribute to building a strong and successful career.

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