How to Land an Internship in Psychology

Internships can give college students valuable insight into the psychology field and receive a critical leg-up when it comes time to present their resume to employers.

Students can receive hands-on experience that transcends the typical classroom instruction by giving students a way to merge what they’ve learned in theory with real-world scenarios that both test and validate the skills they have obtained.

Similarly, internships offer direct interaction with skilled professionals who can see first-hand the tools a student possesses and could potentially lead to employment in the future.

Securing an Internship in Psychology

Technology now enables people to identify and apply for internships in any career field they choose.

For students seeking hands-on training in psychology, the first step is to research online various job listings websites, where they can perform searches for openings and available opportunities. New England College also has an online portal for students seeking internships.

Gaining clinical experience at a mental health treatment center, working on a behavioral analysis treatment plan, observing psychology professionals in a counseling center, conducting research and helping counsel youth and families at a nonprofit agency are among some of the opportunities available for psychology interns to apply what they’ve learned.

Students can see what agencies and organizations currently operate in the psychology field and then contact those directly to inquire about possible intern positions.

Many listings not only include pertinent details, such as a detailed description of expected job responsibilities and potential salary amounts, but some have user reviews about the work environment and overall employee experience, which can be invaluable when researching the best places to work and learn.

Seek Input from Trusted Sources

When researching internship opportunities, it’s a good idea to talk to an instructor or college adviser, someone the student trusts who has experience in a specific field. Instructors can offer advice and guidance, as well as feedback on the scope of work and job responsibilities, so a student knows if it’s a good use of their time.

Many schools, like New England College, view internships as an opportunity for students to earn course credit, and have specific guidelines related to the student’s status and academic standing. Some require approval prior to the student starting the internship and can vary in the number of academic credits awarded upon successful completion. Most colleges and universities offer a detailed explanation of internship requirements online.

Prepare Your Resume

Every employer is different when it comes to what they seek in an intern and students need to best represent their skills, training and education. Resumes can highlight work experience, personal and professional accomplishments, and relevant extracurricular activities.

Applying for an Internship

Internship opportunities typically don’t just fall into a person’s lap. Securing an internship takes work and determination. Often, it may take several tries to land the right opportunity; students should not become discouraged if their first few applications are denied. Here are some tips to increase your chances of success:

  • When applying, students should have a concise yet detailed explanation of what they can offer to an organization that can distinguish themselves from other internship candidates.
  • Students should be able to answer questions about their chosen career field and the organization.
  • Practice, practice, practice what you’d say in an interview. Ask peers and trusted advisers to participate in a mock interview, which can be a great way to manage nerves and ensure your answers are both specific and concise.
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