So you are in an online psychology degree program and you need to complete a psychology-based internship before graduating – where should you start? Well, it is your lucky day because this article will teach you how to find a psychology-based internship in no time at all. Even if a psychology-based internship is not a requirement for your online psychology degree, you can still apply for one of these internships. A psychology-based internship will look good on your resume when you seek employment in the field. Moreover, an internship will give you a glimpse of what to expect when you become a psychologist.
It is important to note that most online undergraduate, graduate and doctoral psychology programs require a clinical internship in a field of psychology. Your internship hours are logged and sent to your online degree program. Once you complete your internship (usually 6 months to a year), you are granted college credits that are applied to your program requirements. The purpose of a psychology-based internship is to give you access to professionals and mentors in your chosen field of psychology. A psychology-based internship also provides you with real-world experience in the field of psychology.
Listed below are some valuable tips on how to find a psychology-based internship:
• Start Looking Early
The first and most valuable tip associated with finding a psychology-based internship is to start looking for one as early as possible. In other words, you will want to start looking for your internship your junior year of college (i.e. undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs). In most cases, you will not actually start your internship until your senior year, but you want to have your internship picked out by the end of your junior year so that you can relax. If you wait too late to pick out an internship, you may not get the one that you want. The best way to search for a psychology-based internship is to look online. In other words, search online databases such as the: American Psychology Association (APA).
• Consult with Your Psychology Professors
Next, you will want to consult with your psychology professors. In other words, ask professionals in the psychology field for their suggestions. Psychology professors and professionals can share with you where they completed their psychology-based internships. They may also be able to help you get your foot in the door at mental health facilities, private practices and/or social service agencies. Moreover, many psychology professors keep a list of internship opportunities and reputable agencies. Schedule an appointment with one or two of your psychology professors to discuss your career path (i.e. teaching, researching and/or counseling).
• Visit Your School’s Career Center
While you are researching various internship possibilities, you may want to visit (online and/or in person) your school’s career center. Most colleges and universities have a career center that offers information on graduate schools (i.e. online and traditional), internships and job opportunities. If you have questions or want suggestions on psychology-based internships – contact the career center director and he/she will be able to guide you in the right direction. The director will not only offer you invaluable advice, but he/she will also be able to help you create a resume that highlights all of your experience, education and accomplishments.
• Join a Psychology Association
If you are trying to find a psychology-based internship, you may want to join a psychology association like the American Psychological Association and/or Association of Psychological Science. Many times psychological associations offer a list of approved psychology-based internships for every state and/or city. In addition, these associations will help you find career opportunities once you graduate from your online degree psychology program. Furthermore, having professional psychology associations on your resume will look good when you start searching for jobs in your field.
• Research Internship Possibilities
Another helpful suggestion is to research mental health and social service agencies. Decide what area of psychology interests you and research their focus, mission state, services and values. In addition, choose a couple of possible agencies to visit. Research counseling centers, domestic violence shelters, social service agencies, psychology-based research laboratories, schools, mental health private practices and/or VA hospitals.
• Submit Your Resume
Once you have chosen one of two possible internships, it will be time to apply and submit your resume for consideration. The agencies that you choose will probably request that your resume contain any previous psychology-based courses and/or experience (including volunteer work and/or previous internship experience). Complete the applications and fulfill any requirements such as: an essay and/or reference letters. Make sure you submit your application packets as soon as possible. Most agencies have a deadline for internship applications. If you have not heard anything within two weeks – call the agencies and ask them for a status update on your applications.
American Psychological Association. (2014). Undergraduate research opportunities & internships. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/education/undergrad/research-opps.aspx