It can be helpful to know if psychology degrees usually have an internship component. This knowledge can aid students in planning their educational careers and the career paths they want to take afterward. While the answer to this question can vary, generally, psychology students will be required to complete an internship at some stage of their education.

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For Undergraduate Degrees, It Depends

For undergraduate psychology degrees, the question of whether psychology degrees usually have an internship component can be complicated because internships may or may not be required. It depends entirely on the program and the college overseeing it. The requirement of an internship can be viewed by students as an indicator of a program’s quality and dedication to ensuring their graduates have received an education that has prepared them to succeed in the workplace. Some schools have standing relationships with companies, clinical practices, and other organizations to ensure students can get an internship to complete the requirement. An internship at the undergraduate level can also be beneficial to a student’s graduate school application.

For Doctoral Degrees, Internships Are A Necessity

Most master’s and doctoral degrees, on the other hand, do require some kind of internship or practicum. This is because an internship is a nearly universal requirement to become a psychologist, the career goal of many students pursuing a graduate psychology degree. Internship requirements to become a licensed psychologist vary by state. Most students who want to become clinical, counseling or research psychologist will also need to obtain a doctoral degree according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Even if a program does not strictly require an internship for completion, students may find the time while they are working on their doctorate an excellent opportunity to fulfill their internship requirement so they can get licensed and land a job after graduation.

The Difference Between An Internship And A Practicum

Some psychology students might be confused regarding the differences between an internship and a practicum. Both are similar types of practical learning opportunities although there are some key differences. In a practicum, a student’s goal is more to listen, observe and take notes while watching professionals perform their regular work. Practicums also tend to be shorter in length and have a particular focus. Students in a practicum may participate in hands-on work but often in a more limited way. An internship is considered a full- or part-time position where students work more independently.

Why Internships Are Helpful

Even where they are not strictly required, internships are an excellent way for a student to get hands-on work experience while still in school. This experience and the professional connections a student gets out of an internship can be invaluable to transitioning into a job after graduation. Lucky students may get job offers at the organizations where they interned. Students who are only getting an undergraduate psychology degree to pursue jobs in other fields are less likely to be required to complete an internship, but it can be a good idea all the same.

Internships are useful for all psychology students although only graduate students are likely to have them listed as a requirement to get their degree. Students who want to become licensed psychologists will need to complete an internship during their doctoral schooling. This should clear up the question of do psychology degrees usually have an internship component.