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Doctoral Internship information

Counselor Education doctoral students are required to complete two 3-credit doctoral-level internships of 300 clock hours each: one in counseling and one in teaching.

Specific requirements for the counseling internship include performing most of the activities of a regularly employed professional in the chosen setting. Students may complete the counseling internship on either a full-time or a part-time basis, with specific arrangements (hours, duties, supervision) worked out between the student, the internship site supervisor, the student's adviser, and the doctoral coordinator. Internships can be paid or unpaid experiences and are expected to meet or exceed the following standards:

  • documenting the time spent for both internships using the appropriate internship logs, which will be kept in the student's permanent file

  • must receive one hour per week of individual supervision and regular small group supervision by a supervisor with a doctorate in counselor education or a closely related field

  • a written evaluation completed by the site supervisor and submitted to the student's faculty adviser at the conclusion of the counseling internship must be shared with the student

  • the student must submit a written evaluation of the experience to his or her faculty adviser, which will be given to the doctoral coordinator, and then kept in the student's permanent file

Specific Requirements for the Teaching Internship which must be completed at University Park under the Supervision of Counselor Education faculty are as follows:

      • co-teaching one 3-credit course with a faculty member
      • hours spent as a teaching assistant will not count towards the internship
      • students must receive one hour per week of individual supervision provided by their faculty co-instructor
      • the doctoral coordinator will be informed when students are completing their teaching internship

**Pennsylvania laws require all prospective employees of agencies (Act 33) and public and private schools (Act 34) that serve anyone under the age of 18 (minors) to acquire criminal history clearance, child abuse history clearance (Act 151) and FBI background check prior to work with minors. Accordingly, Counselor Education requires all students planning on taking practicum, internship or participating in any form of field experience to obtain those clearances in the semester prior to starting that experienceNo one without these clearances and the child abuse reporting CEUs will be allowed to enroll in any practicum, internship, or field experience.

The four specific forms needed include the following:

1. Pennsylvania Criminal Background Check (Act 34)

2. PA Child Abuse History (Act 151)

3. Federal Criminal History (FBI)

The fingerprint-based background check is a multiple-step process, as follows:

  1. Registration - The applicant must register prior to going to the fingerprint site. Walk in service is allowed but all applicants are required to complete pre-enrollment in the new Universal Enrollment system. Pre-enrollment can be completed online or over the phone. The registration website is available online 24 hours/day, seven days per week at Telephonic registration is available at 1-844-321-2101 Monday through Friday, 8am to 6pm EST. During the pre-enrollment process, all demographic data for the applicant is collected (name, address, etc.) along with notices about identification requirements and other important information. 

    When registering on-line, an applicant must use the appropriate agency specific Service Code to ensure they are processed for the correct agency and/or applicant type.  Using the correct service code ensures the background check is submitted for the correct purpose.   Fingerprint requests processed through any other agency or purpose cannot be accepted and are not transferrable.  If an applicant enters the wrong code by mistake, the incorrect applicant type will appear at the top of the screen.  The applicant should select the “Back to Home” button and begin the process again, by reentering the correct Service Code. If the applicant proceeds with the process under the incorrect code, the pre-enrollment and/or results cannot be transferred to another state agency and the applicant will have to start the process over and pay for the background check again. 
  1. Payment - The applicant will pay a fee of $22.60 for the fingerprint service and to secure an unofficial copy of the Criminal History Record. Major Credit Cards as well as Money orders or cashier’s checks payable to MorphoTrust will be accepted on site for those applicants who are required to pay individually. No cash transactions or personal checks are allowed. 

    IDEMIA has also established a payment option for fingerprinting services for entities interested in paying the applicant’s fee. This new option provides a payment ‘coupon’ that the entity will provide to each applicant for use. Each coupon is unique and may only be used one time. Account applications must be completed prior to the applicant visiting the fingerprint site. The authorized representative must complete the account application.  To establish a billing account, visit the website and download an application. 
  2. Fingerprint Locations – After registration, the applicant proceeds to the fingerprint site of their choice for fingerprinting. The location of the fingerprint sites and days and hours of operation for each site are posted on IDEMIA's website at The location of fingerprint sites may change over time; applicants are encouraged to confirm the site location nearest to their location. PDE encourages entities where access to the fingerprint location is more than 25 miles away to contact IDEMIA and suggest areas where another closer site could be established.
  3. Fingerprinting - At the fingerprint site the Enrollment Agents (EA) manages the fingerprint collection process. The fingerprint transaction begins when the EA reviews the applicant’s qualified State or Federal photo ID before processing the applicant’s transaction. A list of approved ID type may be found on the IDEMIA website at . Applicants will not be processed if they cannot produce an acceptable photo ID. After the identity of the applicant has been established, all ten fingers are scanned to complete the process. The entire fingerprint capture process should take no more than three to five minutes.
  4. Report Access – For the public or private school or higher education institution to access the official report via the electronic system, applicants must present their UEID to the hiring entity (as shown on the receipt provided after fingerprint capture). This process allows an applicant to provide multiple potential employers with their UEID, as the report is linked to the UEID number and not assigned to a specific school. If an applicant has lost their receipt or needs to confirm UEID, the applicant may visit the UEP website ( ) and simply check status of their file by providing alternate personal information. Applicants will enter their personal information after clicking in the lower portion of that screen to obtain their receipt with the UEID.

Note: Once an initial FBI clearance has been obtained, it is typically valid for 5 years as long as two conditions are true: 1) You have not committed any offenses in the intervening time period; and 2) You have maintained continuous enrollment at Penn State during all fall and spring semesters in the intervening time period.

There may be some cases in which a school district requires a renewal of the FBI clearance every year. In those instances, you must abide by the district's wishes and obtain a new clearance. If this is the case, you will be informed by your field experience supervisor.

4.  Child Abuse Reporting CEUs: Due to the changes in PA's child abuse reporting law (ACT 31), students are required to complete an online training during the first week of practicum. Upon completion, you will earn 3 Continuing Education Credits and a certification of training as proof of completion. Please turn in a copy of your certificate to clinic supervisors. The training can be found at:


All students who intend to participate in any counseling field experiences of any sort are required to procure and maintain liability insurance for the duration of all such programs.  You must provide proof of such coverage to the course instructor of the related field experience.  The policy purchased must be applicable to counseling situations, and must cover the specific situations, which will be present during your field exercise.  Such coverage may or may not be termed “professional liability” insurance, depending upon the carrier or organization, which issues the policy.  It is your responsibility to choose an appropriate policy and to make a determination as to the amount of coverage. The enrollment dates should include the semester of the student’s counseling practicum and internship. Students are required to have liability insurance coverage when enrolled in practicum and internship.   

The Counselor Education program does not specifically endorse nor recommend any particular insurance carrier or insurance policy.  However, the following are provided for your convenience, as options, which you may wish to consider.

Professional liability insurance may be available as an endorsement, for an additional fee, to a renter’s or homeowner’s insurance policy. You may also procure a separate liability insurance policy from a private insurance company.  If you choose to pursue such options, you should carefully investigate the terms of the policy and speak with your insurance agent in order to ensure that the policy is applicable to your counseling activities.

Students most often utilize coverage provided by professional associations at reduced rates for student members such as the following:

American School Counselor Association (ASCA)

      Liability Insurance included in student membership

American Counseling Association (ACA)

      Liability Insurance included in student membership

Pennsylvania State Education Association

      Liability Insurance included in student membership

       Professional Liability Insurance:

  • Available through private insurance carrier
  • Evidence consists of letter or policy statement
  • HPSO (Healthcare Providers Service Organization), located at



The information set forth above is not intended to and should not be construed to constitute an endorsement or recommendation of any particular insurance product, company, or organization. The organizations listed above are referenced solely for informational purposes and as a courtesy, to assist you with your inquiries. The Pennsylvania State University is not responsible for, and expressly disclaims all liability for, damages or losses of any kind arising out of use, reference to, or reliance upon the information provided herein.  No guarantees or warranties of merchantability, applicability, or fitness for a particular use or purpose have been made. The Pennsylvania State University makes no claims or representations about the accuracy, reliability, timeliness, usefulness or completeness of the information provided herein. Furthermore, The Pennsylvania State University makes no representations or guarantees regarding the quality or applicability of any particular insurance products, or regarding the financial stability of any of the organizations referenced herein.