Why choose to do a psychology related internship?
- Learn from personal experience what you like and dislike about psychological services or a profession that likes to hire psychology majors.
- Psychology related work experience for your resume/vita.
- Qualify for a good letter of recommendation for after graduation employment or graduate school.
- Establish good professional network contacts.
- Increase graduate school application/admission competitiveness.
Internship experience can be obtained in three basic ways, each with some different advantages (or limitations) for you:
- You can register for between 3-12 credits of internship experience with any psychology related organization of your choice. There is tuition cost for this option, but the advantage is that you will be formally supervised and evaluated, and you will receive a credit in the form of “satisfactory” (does not count toward your GPA) on your SDSU transcript. Another advantage is that because of having your work performance formally supervised and evaluated, your work experience is most likely to be better organized and diverse.
- You can apply to be hired by any psychology related organization on your own. Of course, the organization needs to have the type of jobs that an undergraduate psychology major can do, and there needs to be those positions to be filled by the organization. It is probably true that being hired by a psychology related organization is the best form of “internship” in terms of being valued by the organization. This experience is probably recognized as the most valuable type of internship by graduate schools and other psychology related organizations which you may want to apply to after graduation.
- You can volunteer to work for any psychology related organization on your own, for any period of time that is suitable for your life conditions. The advantages are no tuition cost, no academic evaluation of your performance, no time constraints on how much time you are to do work for the organization, you can qualify for a good letter of recommendation, and you can still include your experience on your resume/vita.
As you arrange for doing an Internship and while you are doing it, you will have the opportunity to observe and learn firsthand the following important things about the psychology related organization/work that you have chosen to intern for:
- Specialized education or skills needed to be more competitive for success in being hired and for advancement in the organization/career.
- Starting salary range and highest salary possible.
- Locations of similar organizations/career opportunities in other cities and states.
- The details of the major work tasks at different levels of the organization/career.
- The normal pace of advancement and opportunities for advancement in this organization/career.
- The positive and negative things about the work setting and about typical organizational members.
- The hiring demand (top cities and states, bottom cities and states).
- From your perspective, the advantages and disadvantages of working in this organization/career.
- The personal traits of a very successful person in this organization/career (this reveals how well you might fit or what you need to develop to fit better in this type of organization or career).
If you do not plan to attend graduate school to earn an advanced degree in psychology (M.A., M.S., Ph.D., Ed.D., Psy.D.), but you do want to prepare for a career in psychology related work after graduation, then an Internship will improve your competitive advantage in the following entry level positions that are commonly obtained by psychology majors.
Entry Level Positions (Psychology Major-Undergraduate Bachelors Degree)
Business Area (getting a minor specialization in business in addition to your psychology major would be helpful)
Mental Health/Social Services Area (getting a minor specialization in sociology, aging studies, child/family studies, justice studies or health studies in addition to your psychology major would be helpful)
Other Areas (getting a minor specialization in a field of study related to the one of the following jobs of interest in addition to your psychology major would be helpful)
Graduates in Psychology from SDState have established careers in the fields of business, education, medical or psychological healthcare, human services and social services.