ST. CLOUD STATE UNIVERSITY
"HOW TO FIND AN INTERNSHIP"
R.J. Karasik, Director, Gerontology
The Internship Experience:
The internship component of the gerontology program is designed to help students bridge their academic studies with a professional experience. Internships are individually designed to enhance the learning needs and career goals of each student. Placements have included such arenas as:
Senior service organizations
Area and state agencies on aging
Public, non-profit and corporate settings
Health and long term care facilities
Internship experiences are required of undergraduate gerontology minors and gerontology graduate students. Currently, there is no internship requirement for students in the Gerontology graduate certificate program.
GERO 444: Undergraduate Gerontology Internship (3-12 credits)
Gerontology minors are required to take a minimum of 3 credits of internship, although it is recommended for a more full internship experience that at least 6 credits be taken. Attendance of the internship seminar concurrent with the internship is also required.
Note: With approval of the Gerontology Minor Advisor, students doing 12 credit internships with their major program may substitute another 3 credit elective for the gerontology internship -- providing that at least 3 credits of their major internship involves an older population.
GERO 644: Graduate Gerontology Internship (3-6 credits)
Gerontology graduate students are required to take 3 credits of internship, although it is recommended for a more full internship experience that at least 6 credits be taken. Attendance of the internship seminar concurrent with the internship is also required
Internship Credit Hours:
Students take a minimum of 3 internship credits (150 hours or 10hrs week for 15 weeks). One credit equals approximately 50 hours (e.g. 3 credits = 150hrs; 4 credits =200hrs...). A full time (12 credit internship would be 40hrs a week for 15 weeks).
Preparation for Internship Placement:
- During the semester before the internship, the student is expected to contact the Gerontology Internship Supervisor and indicate his/her interest in planning a Gerontology Internship. This should take place as early as possible during the previous semester. At this time, the student's needs and career goals will be discussed, as well as the number of credit hours desired.
- Following discussions with the internship advisor, students will be instructed to contact potential internship sites. It is often helpful at this step to talk to several agencies to find out what types of internship opportunities they might have available. Remember: the internship experience is intended to be a learning experience. Students should carefully consider what types of skills/opportunities each site is likely to provide.
- In conjunction with the internship advisor, students select/accept an internship
a. Discuss selection with internship advisor.
b. Notify internship site(s) of your decision.
c. Register for internship credits (GERO 444/644). You will need to see your internship advisor for a form to do this. You will need to know 1) number of credits you will be taking; 2) the name of the internship site; and 3) the name of your internship site preceptor (supervisor).
d. Complete the "Agreement Between Gerontology Program and Agency" (see page 6). A copy is due to the internship advisor by the end of the first week of your internship. This form needs to be signed by both your agency preceptor and the internship advisor.
e. Prepare a draft of your "Internship Contract". (See page 7 for details). A final signed copy is due to the internship advisor by the end of the first week of your internship.
Advice from Previous Interns:
- Have most of your GERO coursework completed before doing internship in order to get the most out of the internship
- Research what the agency does before signing on as an intern
- Choose a facility you have not worked with/at before to broaden your experiences
- Ask in advance about the type of opportunities the agency has available.
- Ask if increasing levels of responsibility will be possible as your internship progresses
- Make sure the internship site is open to allowing you/helping you to reach your goals (a good match is important)
- Contact former interns from that site for suggestions/more information
- Plan ahead – don’t wait until the last minute to choose a site
- Research at least 2 (or more) sites before selecting one
- When you start your internship, be sure to ask about policies and procedures (e.g., “what to do if…” up front.
- If you have done a good job, ask for a letter of recommendation be put on file (so that it is available when you need it and written while they remember you).
- Have fun – it goes by fast!