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Selecting an Internship Site

To ensure a quality internship experience, the internship should take place in an RHS agency/facility that matches the students’ area of interest and future career goals. Students with minors and/or special interest areas should select an internship consistent with their preparation and interest. Students and internship site staff should review the following criteria to ensure the Internship Coordinator will approve the internship site:

  1. The agency/facility should be well established and recognized as providing professional services to RHS clients. This may be measured by reputation in the community, accreditations (e.g., Council for Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals), state licenses, and/or certification. Selection of the site is primarily determined by the student’s interests and learning objectives.
  2. The agency/facility should have professional staff whose members identify as RHS professionals. Staff who supervise undergraduate students in the RHS major must have a bachelor’s degree and at least two years of direct clinical experience. Students must ask about supervisor credentials when selecting a site. Students interning in addiction programs should be supervised by a Certified Addictions Counselor (CAC), if possible.
  3. The agency/facility should have a variety of RHS programs that offer the intern a well rounded experience and considerable opportunities to work directly with clients with disabilities or human services needs. Internship duties should be consistent with the appropriate degree level the student is working toward.
  4. The agency/facility should provide rehabilitation and human services, and have designated staff willing to supervise the student and work with the Internship Coordinator in designing internship experiences that benefit agency/facility aims and intern goals.
  5. Pennsylvania Acts 33 and 151/33 specify that prospective employees of agencies that serve children and public and private schools must undergo background checks. These Acts are intended to cover employees but some agencies and school districts also require background checks for interns. Out-of-state residents must also present evidence of a FBI background check. At the time of this publication, the State Police Request for Criminal Record Information cost $10.00 and the FBI charges $10.00 for a Fingerprint Record search. Background checks can take up to 4-6 weeks so students should complete the background check process early. Failure to do so could result in delaying internship and possibly graduation. Request for Criminal History Record Information (Act 34) and Child Abuse History Clearance (Act 151/33) forms are available in 228 Chambers Building (UP), school districts, and State Police stations, as well as PA.GOV and Pennsylvania Department of Human Services websites.