Do I Need to Complete an Internship in a Graduate Program?

Once you have earned your Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology you may consider the option of pursuing a Master’s or Doctoral Degree in the field. A number of questions arise about what will occur during the course of your graduate training. Students often ask about the time to earn a degree, which degree will be a good fit, the cost of attendance and many other questions. One very good question is whether or not an internship will be required to earn a graduate degree in Psychology.

Internships in a Master’s Degree Program

The requirements for internships in a Master’s Degree program vary from program to program and state to state. This is in part due to the differences, between states, in licensure for Master’s Level Psychologists. There are many different kinds of licenses depending upon the state in which you practice. For instance, there is a difference between a psychologist license and a counseling license. Most states that grant psychology licenses for counseling or other professional practice will require that a candidate have completed an internship. Most states will outline how many hours of supervised internship must be completed. Additionally, many Master’s Degree Programs in Psychology will have an internship requirement as part of the curriculum.

Internships in a Doctoral Degree Program

All students who earn a Doctoral Degree in Psychology must complete an internship requirement. The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) both requirement the completion of a supervised internship in the field you plan to practice.

How Many Hours Will I Be Required to Complete?

The number of hours you must complete depends upon the program in which you are enrolled. Master’s level and Doctoral level requirements will vary. Each program will outline, in the curriculum, how many hours you must complete before being awarded your graduate degree.

How Can I Find an Appropriate Internship?

Most students secure an internship directly through their school. The graduate program will guide students through the process of narrowing down the choices and finding an internship that keeps with your individual career goals. The system that is typically used is called Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC).

What is APPIC?

Students who will use the APPIC system will complete a single application for all of the internships they have interest in, and that application will stand for all of the chosen internship options. There is a period of consideration and once the internships and students rank their top choices, the matching process will begin. There are two rounds of matching. In the first round, internship sites list their top choices and students can either accept or deny the offer. Those students and sites that are left unmatched will go through a second round of ranking, matching and acceptance. Typically students find a suitable match by the end of the second round.

An internship is a critical part of graduate training in Psychology. It allows students the unique opportunity to learn in a real-world setting under the guidance of a trained professional. A Psychology internship is an excellent experiential opportunity for graduate psychology students.