How to be Most Prepared to Ensure the Best Possible Practicum or Internship Experience.
By Michael Kiener PhD, CRC Director of Rehabilitation Counseling Maryville University, Missouri Rehabilitation Association Eastern Chapter, Co-host of the Mentor Moments podcast.
Arguably, selecting a practicum and or internship is of extreme importance in the development of student counselors. Having multiple practicum and or internship opportunities allows students to get a feel for not only working with different client populations but also work environments. The experiential learning that is provided by a clinical site in conjunction with working closely with a site supervisor will afford a supportive and accelerated learning experience. Moreover, clinical placements provide an opportunity to develop professional networks outside of faculty and classmates.
Although clinical experiences can be extremely rewarding, the process to find and secure them can be daunting and time consuming.
Here are a few tips to think about:
Start early and investigate possible agencies by visiting websites and talking with faculty and classmates. Examining agency job opening will provide an accurate example for possible clinical responsibilities.
Know the university requirements for the number of hours required, type of duties to perform, and site supervision.
Schedule a time to visit the site and use this time to market yourself, dress professionally, update your resume, check your social media.
Try and have two different experiences to diversify your resume.
Know what hours are you available and make sure they match the agency’s hours.
Interview the site and ask about how they provide supervision.
For additional insight, check out a few articles from the American Counseling Association’s Counseling Today magazine.