Internship Frequently Asked Questions

What is the internship program?

The Internship Program is designed to assist you in gaining pre-professional experience and in establishing a professional identity in the Human Services area to enhance your appeal to potential employers. The internship is your opportunity to apply the theoretical concepts learned in the classroom to a real world setting.

What types of positions are available for internships?

The HDFS department has relationships with many different human service agencies within Pennsylvania and throughout the United States . Students are able to select internship sites from these agencies, or we will work with students to form a relationship with an internship site that better meets their interests. The kinds of positions include, but are not limited to:

  • Social casework trainee
  • Counselor
  • Rehabilitation counselor
  • Early childhood development intern
  • Child care assistant
  • Assistant teacher
  • Guidance assistant
  • Parent educator
  • Recreation therapist assistant
  • Aging care manager
  • Funding coordinator
  • Prevention interns
  • Research assistant

What courses do I need to take for the internship?

There are three required courses for the internship program:

  • HD FS 490 - Introduction to Internship - 2 credits
  • HD FS 495A (Internship Experience) 9 credits
  • HD FS 495B (Assignments) 3 credits

TOTAL CREDITS = 14

When should I schedule HD FS 490?

At University Park, you should schedule HD FS 490 one semester prior to your internship. At University Park, HD FS 490 is only offered in fall and spring (example: for a spring 2008 internship, schedule HD FS 490 in fall 2007). Students at campuses other than University Park should consult their academic advisor and the internship office regarding when HD FS 490 is offered and plan accordingly.

When should I schedule HD FS 495A and 495B?

Students take HD FS 495A and 495B during the semester they are on internship. It is generally recommended that students schedule 495A and 495B as early as they can during the semester immediately prior to their internship. It is a policy of the College of Health and Human Development that all students must be fully registered (tuition paid) BEFORE they can start an internship. Students should make arrangements to have their tuition paid in full at least several weeks prior to the start of their internship. Students who have not paid tuition are required to delay their internship, which, in some cases, may delay graduation.

What role does the Internship Office play in developing/helping me find an internship and will the Internship Office place me at a site?

During HDFS 490 you will receive information and guidance about possible internship sites including: individual advising, access to our past interns’ agencies, and contact with over 20 presenters from human service agencies who are available to explain opportunities for internships at their organizations. Students are encouraged to consider and visit at least three internship sites to find the best match with their interests in terms of type of agency and clients served. Goodness-of-fit between the agency and the student is very important since you will be working in that agency at least 35 hours per week for an entire semester. The Internship Office does not place you in an agency, but we do provide you with alternatives and support to contact agencies, interview, and secure an appropriate internship.

What is and Internship Agreement?

In HDFS 490, you will select a site and develop an Internship Agreement which will outline your rights and responsibilities as an intern. Among other things, it will contain the details of your expected duties and hours to be worked at your site. It is an agreement between you, your internship site, and HDFS regarding the experience you will gain and the academic work you will complete during your internship. See the Internship page for more information.

What is an acceptable resume for an internship placement?

Resumes should be complete and of professional quality. Students are instructed in resume writing in HDFS 490 prior to their internship search. Additional assistance regarding resume writing, including assistance in writing or revising your resume, can be found at Career Services.

When do I complete my internship?

Your internship should be done as near to the end of your undergraduate program as possible. Most students schedule the internship for their last semester and graduate at the end of their internship semester. A minimum of 35 hours per week is spent working at an internship site. Many students are offered jobs at their internship sites. If a student needs to complete his or her internship prior to their last semester, they must have taken certain course prerequisites, and have the approval of the Internship Director, Dawn Taylor, dgt12@psu.edu, 863-0310.

What should I do to prepare for my internship?

There are several things that HDFS students can do to help them prepare for and get the most out their internship experience:

  • Volunteer at human service agencies.
  • Take HDFS 490 one semester prior to your internship.
  • Take courses that will prepare you for working with the population you are interested in (e.g. child development, adult development and aging, family development).
  • Maintain at least a C average to be a degree status student in HDFS.
  • Initiate relationships with work and volunteer supervisors as well as professors who can later serve as references.
  • Take HDFS 312W, HDFS 414, and HDFS 411 before registering for HDFS 490. (note: HDFS 411 may be taken concurrently).

Are there paid internships available?

Yes, although it is the responsibility of the student to secure a paid internship, and very few internships are paid.

What are the starting and ending dates of the internship?

The internship period coincides with the semester system, running from the first day of classes to the last day of classes. For all semesters, students must work a full-time work schedule at their internship site. Interns are expected to follow the same attendance and scheduling requirements that other newly-hired full time employees follow. This applies to holiday, snow days, vacation, sick time, and Spring and Fall breaks. If other employees do not receive Spring/Fall breaks, then students should not expect to receive such breaks or vacations.

Can I take classes during my internship?

Taking extra classes during your internship is strongly discouraged since the internship is very demanding and requires writing several papers during the semester in addition to the full time work position the intern must fulfill. If you decide to ga against this advice, you must provide the Internship Office with a copy of your schedule.

Where can I get more information about the HDFS Internship Program?

Please visit our Internship Office in 302 HHDev-East, 8:30-3:30 M-Th, or our website at http://www.hhdev.psu.edu/HDFS/undergrad/intern.html