5 Internship Ideas for Psychology Majors
- Research and Teaching Assistant
- Behavioral Health Clinics
- Private Practices
- Hospital Psychiatry Wards
- School Districts
In a field like psychology, it takes experience to get experience. That means that you need to have some legitimate work experience under your belt before you ever graduate and submit your first job application. Internships are one of the best ways to build up both your resume and your professional network. Here are five internship ideas for psychology majors.
1. Research and Teaching Assistant
If you know that your future lies in academia, look no further than your own campus. A career in academia means that you will soon be applying to graduate schools. Along with research and teaching experience, they will want to see that you have been an asset to your institution. Find a professor you connect with in terms of academic interests and pursue an internship as their research and teaching assistant. You will gain both relevant experience and a killer letter of recommendation.
2. Behavioral Health Clinics
If your passion lies in helping the least fortunate members of your community, consider seeking an internship at a local behavioral health clinic. You will be exposed to a wide variety of mental health concerns, as well as the arena of public mental health funding and insurance. Behavioral health clinics are generally understaffed and underfunded, providing interns with a great deal of responsibility, which stands out on a resume.
3. Private Practices
If you think you want to go the clinical route in a private practice setting, find yourself a mentor. Private practice is highly competitive and takes a lot of individual initiative and community networking. These are skills you will need to implement right away, as most private practitioners need to be convinced of why they need an intern. Start by seeking career advice, as suggested in this helpful article by Forbes. Once you land an internship in private practice, you will enjoy significant one-on-one training.
4. Hospital Psychiatry Wards
Perhaps you like a fast-paced environment and want to work with the most severe of mental illnesses. A career in psychiatry may be right for you, and one way to test it out is to apply for internships in hospital psychiatry wards. Begin by connecting with an abnormal psychology or psychopharmacology professor at your university for advice on seeking and applying to these internships, plus a letter of recommendation that you will ultimately need. Check internship postings often so that you can apply early to many different options, as these internships are highly coveted.
5. School Districts and Youth Programs
If envision a career working with children and adolescents, an internship in a school district or community youth program is the way to go. Assisting a classroom behavioral aide and working for after-school programs are great options for getting your foot in the door. Some college and university campuses even offer internships in their own child development programs. Dedicating a spring or summer break to interning at a camp are also great options.
The only bad internship decision you can make as a psychology major is not to pursue internships at all. Most internships like those described here are short-term, affording you the ability to explore different areas within psychology and diversify your resume. Graduation may be on the distant horizon, but your professional future starts now!