Working or training in one’s chosen profession under the supervision of an expert or teacher is known as a field internship. The field internship basically puts people in “the field,” which means they’ll get hands-on experience before going out on their own. Before obtaining a Bachelor’s or higher-level degree, many disciplines require a field internship. In some cases, the term is interchangeable with the term practicum, which refers to hands-on experience in one’s field.
Prior to obtaining licensure in a particular field, a field internship or practicum may be required. A person with a Bachelor’s degree in social work, for example, is usually required to complete a year of internship before becoming a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.
Those preparing to teach must complete a field internship or practicum, which is both required for licensure and usually included in the graduation package. This isn’t always the case when it comes to college professors. To become a professor, one usually only needs to obtain advanced degrees. As part of their education, Ph.D. students are usually required to teach classes or work as teaching assistants in large classes.
Often, a field internship entails receiving little to no compensation. For participating in a field internship, some students receive only college credits, while others receive a small stipend. Because some field internships take so long to complete, those who take part may be paid a little more. Before obtaining a license, those pursuing a career as a licensed therapist must typically complete 3000 hours of practical experience counseling under the supervision of a licensed therapist.
A field internship is required for several professions that do not require a bachelor’s degree. Before obtaining a license, paramedics and anyone working in the emergency medical services industry must usually complete a number of hours of on-the-job training. Most non-degreed medical professionals, such as respiratory therapists, radiologists, and sonographers, must have practical experience as well.
A field internship is not always required for graduation, but it can help when looking for work or pursuing an advanced degree. Those aspiring to be archaeologists, for example, frequently work on digs during the summer months in order to increase their chances of landing a job once they graduate.
Because internship requirements vary greatly, there is no standard length for a field internship. Depending on the field, the licensing or certification agency, or college requirements, internships can last anywhere from a few days to several years. In most cases, the duration of a field internship is clearly defined certifying agencies or colleges, so that students entering a program are aware of how much time they must devote to gaining practical experience.