PLAN FOR PRE-DOCTORAL INTERNSHIP WHEN CHOOSING YOUR PRACTICUM EXPERIENCES:
The internship application process is challenging because of a limited number of positions and the high number of applicants, so practicum hours and experiences are very important in getting placed for internship.
Choose practica that prepare you for the internship experience you want, such as seeking practica at a Veteran’s Administration (VA) Hospital if you want a VA internship.
If you are interested in administering assessments, look for those opportunities at a practicum so an internship site that offers assessment will be more likely to consider you.
Document client demographics and hours from practica for your internship applications.
The more hours you invest in practica, the more appealing your internship application will be.
Good relationships are important; you will need strong letters of recommendation from your training director and clinical supervisors when applying for internship.
When applying for internship and during interviews, you may be asked to talk about ethical dilemmas you have faced, so document those experiences to remind yourself of the details later.
Having your dissertation as far along as possible will make you a more competitive candidate.
APPLY FOR INTERNSHIP:
Internship settings include VAs, university counseling centers, hospitals, prisons, and community agencies.
Use the APPIC website (http://www.appic.org/) to learn about internship opportunities. Gather additional information about each placement by reviewing the training facilities’ websites and talking to current and former interns from those placements to decide which site applications to complete.
You are more likely to get a placement if you apply to places that are doing what you want to do because you will be a better fit for their training program.
The internship application process is very involved, requiring you to provide documentation of your training experiences, essays on required topics, and letters of recommendation, as well as application fees.
After applying by site deadlines, you will wait for calls or emails from sites offering you interviews, which you will schedule to do in-person, over Skype, or by phone.
Use campus resources to practice your interviewing skills, and remember to interview the site, not just have them interview you.
After your interviews are complete, you will have a deadline for submitting your rankings of the internship sites. The sites will also have a deadline for submitting their rankings of their interviewees.
Consider what is important to help you rank the sites after you interview with them, such as specific training (assessments, group therapy, clinical areas of focus, specific client populations, or particular theoretical approaches), the location, whether it is difficult for interns at the site to obtain the required number of clinical hours, or whether there is a possible fellowship placement with the site following internship and if the site considers their interns for fellowship placement.
You will be notified via email on Match Day which site will be your internship site.
If you are not matched to a site, you can begin the second match when sites are notified of their open slots, and applicants know they have not matched. Your training director will likely be involved in helping you navigate the second match process.
Typically, if you do not match in the second match, then you will want to prioritize your dissertation and/or gain additional practicum experiences to make you more competitive for match the following year.
Internship is a full-time job of 45 to 55 hours per week, including approximately 2,000 hours of clinical work, as well as supervision and training sessions. Because of the intensity of this commitment, make plans to defend your dissertation before internship if possible or look for sites that allot time to work on it.
APAGS, the APA graduate student division, offers a workbook to assist with the internship application process: Internships in Psychology: The APAGS Workbook for Writing Successful Applications and Finding the Right Fit.
PLAN AHEAD TO MEET LICENSURE REQUIREMENTS:
If you plan to practice as a psychologist, you must first be licensed in the state where you want to work. Psychologists in New Hampshire who are not required to be licensed include university professors, researchers, industrial/organizational psychologists, and school psychologists employed by the Board of Education.
If you know the state where you want to be licensed, look up the state’s licensing board for psychologists and read the licensure requirements.
Some of the information you will find includes the required number of hours of supervision and number of hours of direct clinical work.
Notice whether the rules allow you to begin counting supervised hours for licensure prior to or after receiving your diploma, as well as considering the requirements your supervisors must meet for your hours to count toward licensure (such as number of years licensed as a psychologist).
You may also notice that some of the required coursework varies by state.
If you need clarification of any requirements, you may email or call the state licensing board to ask questions. Be mindful that you always want to maintain a good relationship with people working at the licensing board, so be especially polite, kind, and patient.
BANKING YOUR CREDENTIALS:
You have the option of paying for the service of having your credentials stored with the National Register of Health Service Psychologists or the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB).
Your credentials include transcripts, documentation showing completion of your internship and fellowship, supervisors’ letters, and scores from licensure exams. You can begin this process as you are nearing completion of your internship.
This option simplifies future applications for licensure or certification with boards that recognize these organizations as reliable sources for obtaining your credentials rather than requesting each document from separate sources. You may consider whether the states you plan to apply to will accept banked credentials.