Internship Q & A

Common internship questions

Internship Q & A

1.    When should I start preparing or visiting possible internship sites?

Preparing for an internship requires careful planning.  For this reason, it is recommended that students begin looking at internship sites two semesters prior to beginning internship.  Certainly, students should conduct on-site visits to potential internship sites at least one semester before they anticipate beginning internship.  Reviewing the Internship Manual is a good plan to begin and, as with other academic/career matters, students should always meet with their individual academic adviser.

2.    How do I go about finding information concerning various sites?

Information on nearly 300 internship sites is available at: http://www.ed.psu.edu/internships/Default.asp.

3.    How long will it take me to finish my internship?

Internships are full-time endeavors requiring approximately 40 hours work per week for 15 weeks (600 hours).  Rehabilitation and Human Services students pursuing summer internships will follow the adjusted University schedule.  Rehabilitation Counseling master's students pursuing summer internships must continue with internship until they complete all 600 hours, although they will still graduate in August.

4.    Can I complete other courses while I am pursuing internship?

Students must have completed all coursework prior to internship.  Under unusual circumstances, students may be permitted to complete one course.  This must be approved by the student's academic advisor and the Internship Coordinator.  Under no circumstances will students be allowed to complete more than one course during internship.

5.    Will my internship site provide me with housing?

Interns are responsible for making their own living arrangements.  A few sites provide room and/or board, but this is not common.

6.    After I complete the internship application can I register for this course?

No.  After reviewing the internship application the Internship Coordinator will take responsibility for registering students for internships (REHAB 495A or CNED595C).

7.    How do I know if my internship has been approved?

Students will receive a copy of the confirmation letter sent to the site supervisor.  This letter confirms that the internship is approved and that students have been registered for internship.  Typically this letter is mailed 2-3 weeks after the internship paperwork deadline.

8.    Do I need to provide the Internship Coordinator with a copy of my child abuse clearance forms or proof of malpractice insurance?

It is not necessary to provide copies to the Internship Coordinator; however, if the site requires clearances, students must provide proof before starting the internship.  It is recommended that students make copies for themselves in the event any of the documents get lost.

9.    When are the starting and ending dates for internship?

The starting and ending dates are the same as the regular fall and spring semester and the summer session schedule (including both summer sessions).

10.    Can I “bank” hours during prior to the beginning of the semester?

No. Although in a few instances a student may be required to start the internship date different from the University schedule, outside of this reason, students can not begin their internship earlier than scheduled. It is also not permitted for recommended for students to work more than the required time period (40 hours) and use these hours in order to finish earlier. Numerous studies have indicated that professional burnout can often occur when human services professionals work long hours. As a result, we do not endorse and will not accept practices where students work longer hours than expected. If this situation occurs, you should contact the Internship Coordinator.

11.    After I have selected an internship site do I need to contact the other sites I interviewed at even if I am not doing an internship there?

Students should at all times remember that selecting the internship is a professional endeavor and that they represent not only themselves but the Program and the University as well.  One specific point of professional conduct warrants noting.  The student must reach closure with every site contacted.  A call or letter thanking the contact person for his/her consideration and providing feedback as to the student's plans is essential.

12.    If I cannot finish my hours in the semester I am registered for internship may I complete them during the break between semesters?

All internship assignments must be completed by the last day of classes during the semester of the internship.

13.    Can I do an internship at a current place of employment?

Although students are permitted to intern where they are currently working, in general, this practice is not encouraged. The expectations as an intern versus an employee are quite different. When these roles are mixed, it can sometimes lead to problems in supervision (e.g., frequency, intensity, and focus) and, as a result, can negatively affect the internship.

14.    Can I take internship as pass/fail?

Internships must be taken for a letter grade.  Students must earn at least a C in internship to graduate.  If a student intends to drop/add, it must be completed during the legitimate published drop/add period.

15.    Can I complete my internship outside of Pennsylvania?

Yes, but most internships are completed within Pennsylvania.  Depending on individual circumstances, students may pursue out-of-state placements.  Rehabilitation Counseling students approved for out-of-state placements should be supervised by Certified Rehabilitation Counselors.

16.    Is it possible to get a paid internship?

Remuneration or stipends are offered by several agencies/facilities, but internship sites should not be selected solely on this basis.

17.    Do I get a fall and spring break when I am on my internship?

The decision to grant a fall or spring break is between the student intern and the on-site internship supervisor.  In some cases, on-site supervisors believe granting a semester break is disruptive to client care.  In other cases, allowing a break is permissible.  Consequently, the Internship Coordinator at the University will support the decision made between the student intern and the on-site supervisor.

18.    Will the Internship Coordinator also provide supervision?

No.  The role of the Internship Coordinator is to make sure that all of the necessary paperwork and contractual agreements are in place prior to internship.  Further, the Coordinator monitors each student’s progress and should problems arise, addresses them with the student and on-site supervisor.  It is the responsibility of the on-site supervisor to provide direct supervision.

19.    What if I am having problems with my on-site supervision?

Students should contact the Internship Coordinator immediately if problems arise.

20.    Will the Internship Coordinator visit me at my internship site?

In general, the coordinator cannot visit students on-site.  Because most students complete internships throughout Pennsylvania and the eastern United States and given the number of students registered each semester it is not possible for on-site visits.  For this reason, it is critical that students complete and upload weekly internship reports to the Internship Coordinator in a timely fashion.

21.    When should I forward my internship weekly reports?

At the end of each week students will upload weekly reports to ANGEL.

22.    What should I write about in my weekly internship reports?

Students should describe the intern activities they are involved with and how these activities affected them professionally.  Often, internship provides experiences that affect students' learning.  Describing these experiences as well as what students have learned or gained during on-site supervision should be included.  Since these reports are read by the Internship Coordinator, it is important that students provide candid remarks. Examples of weekly session reports are provided in the Internship Manual.

23.    Can I change internships after I have already started one?

Depending on circumstances it is possible (although highly unusual) to change sites.  If students are experiencing problems and are seriously contemplating changing internship sites, they must discuss it with the Internship Coordinator prior to making any final decisions.

24.    Who assigns the final grade for internship?

The Internship Coordinator assigns the final grade, with input from the on-site supervisor.