Want to gain hands-on experience in the field of psychology? Want to build skills, expand your knowledge, and expose yourself to networking opportunities? There’s a great way you can do all these things, but first, you’re going to need to know how to get a psychology internship.
There are a lot of psychology internship opportunities out there, and moreover, there are opportunities for all levels of experience and skills. Nonetheless, it’s not immediately apparent how to get an internship for psychology.
In this blog, you’ll find a step-by-step guide taking you through how to find the best opportunities, how to narrow down the choice, and how to apply.
5 Steps to Get an Internship in Psychology
Step 1: Know your interests and goals.
A psychology internship can serve a lot of purposes. It can be a way for psych grads to explore possibilities, the first rung on a career ladder, or a way for an established professional to diversify their CV. The first step to landing a psychology internship is deciding how it will serve you.
Before you start your search, set goals for what you want to achieve with your internship, whether that’s acquiring certain skills, experience, or knowledge. Not only will this help you narrow down your search for psychology internship opportunities, it will also make you a more attractive prospect once you get to the application stage.
For psychology interns in the nonprofit sector, there is another factor to consider: what issue would you like to support? Becoming an agent of positive change in the world is one of the most exciting parts of a nonprofit internship, so identifying what you’re passionate about is hugely beneficial.
Step 2: Research psychology internship opportunities.
A vital step in how to get an internship for psychology is figuring out where to intern for psychology. There are endless options out there, so this process can be overwhelming. This will be much easier if you already have your goals to guide you in your search.
Be sure to read through the listings properly to get a clear idea of learning objectives, intern responsibilities, day-to-day tasks, and eligibility criteria. Also, ensure you utilize all the resources and explore every avenue available. Leave no stone unturned.
There are plenty of well-known nonprofits in the psychology field; however, there are also countless smaller organizations doing valuable work in more specialized niches. Leave no stone unturned in your search.
Step 3: Update your resume and cover letter.
Next, update your CV and write a cover letter. It is absolutely pivotal that you personalize and adjust your application materials for each internship you apply to. Sending the same CV and cover letter to a bunch of organizations is not how to get a psychology internship.
Start by revising your CV. Highlight relevant coursework, skills, and any prior experience related to psychology. Be sure to emphasize strengths and traits that align with the specific requirements of the internship you’re applying to.
For your cover letter, you want to address three key topics: why you want to work with the organization, why you’re a suitable candidate for the position, and how the internship will progress your career.
Step 4: Reach out to organizations and seek recommendations.
The networking opportunities start here! Reaching out to various opportunities is a great way to learn more about an internship and to start building professional contacts. What’s more, communicating directly with the organizations you are applying to can show your drive and commitment, making your application stand out.
Start by reaching out to professors, mentors, or fellow students who may have connections or suggestions. They can provide valuable advice, introduce you to potential internship providers, or even write you a recommendation letter. The next step is to reach out to specific organizations. Social media is a valuable resource for this; be sure to utilize it.
Step 5: Apply Strategically and Prepare for Interviews
As you start applying, keep in mind that psychology internship opportunities can be competitive. It’s very common to get a few rejections along the way, so don’t get disheartened.
Apply to multiple organizations to increase your chances of getting an offer. Be prepared for interviews by researching the organization’s mission, values, and recent projects. Also, practice answering common interview questions, and be ready to discuss how your skills and passion align with their goals.
5 Common Questions about Internships in Psychology
What can I expect from a nonprofit psychology internship?
Psychology interns working for nonprofit organizations can expect all the professional mentorship, skill-building, and practical experience you would gain from any other psychology internship.
Really, the only difference is that you’ll get to engage in meaningful work, contributing to worthwhile causes. Your work can support rehabilitation facilities, safe houses, abuse victim support groups, and countless other vital social resources.
How can I make the most of my psychology internship in the nonprofit sector?
To make the most of your internship, approach it with a positive, proactive attitude. Take the initiative to ask questions, seek feedback, and contribute your ideas. Build relationships with your colleagues and supervisors, as these connections can be valuable for future job opportunities or references.
Additionally, keep a journal of your experiences and keep thorough notes on what you’ve learned and achieved. This can help solidify your experience and will serve as a valuable resource when updating your resume or preparing for future interviews.
Can I find a paid internship for psychology internships?
If you’re wondering how to get an internship for psychology that pays, it’s possible to find a paid internship for psychology students. Some offer stipends or hourly wages, while others will work voluntarily. Whether or not a position is paid depends on what kind of organization you join.
Largely, nonprofit organizations are not able to offer paid positions since this money would come directly from the funds that would support their beneficiaries or cause. Don’t discount unpaid opportunities, as they can still provide valuable experience and networking opportunities. Most of all, they can provide the opportunity to engage in meaningful work.
4 Psychology Internships to consider
Contribute to the improvement of mental health support in Brazil while gaining valuable research skills, all from the comfort of your own home.
This program has you supporting a nonprofit organization based in Brazil working to revolutionize mental health care in Brazil by increasing its accessibility, affordability, and acceptance.
Your work as an intern will involve contributing to a national survey aimed at better understanding mental health perceptions across Brazil. You’ll have the chance to hone your data processing and analysis skills, and you’ll be involved in the creation of essential reports and literature reviews.
Live and work in Cambodia as you support an organization committed to breaking the poverty cycle by providing holistic mental, medical, and social support to families. This versatile internship is perfect for young psychologists, social workers, and healthcare professionals ready to make a global impact.
Based in Siem Reap, our organization operates 11 integrated programs centered around education, nutrition, and health, ensuring children and families receive comprehensive support.
As an intern, you’ll help enhance mental and physical development programs, working alongside local social workers to improve care practices, introduce innovative strategies, and provide training. This will provide you with skill-building opportunities and practical experience while allowing you to make a tangible difference in children’s lives.
Gain hands-on, international experience in supporting disadvantaged young girls in Cusco, Peru, and help break the cycle of poverty and gender inequality.
You’ll work closely with a lead psychologist, conducting evaluations, guiding these girls toward a brighter future, and expanding the program’s reach. Your time will be spent supporting girls aged 14 to 20 from extremely poor, single-parent families that often have troubling or complicated dynamics.
Psychology interns play an important role in conducting psychological evaluations of individual girls and advising on potential treatments, as well as working with families on education-related issues. This internship offers practical expertise in youth-based educational psychology, exposure to nonprofit work, and international insight into psychology careers.
Discover the world of mental health care with this practical psychology internship in Cape Town, South Africa.
This program places you with mental health facilities that best match your skills and wishes. You could join psychiatric hospitals or counseling centers, where you’ll shadow professionals and assist in group sessions and individual counseling.
Under the guidance of experienced therapists, you’ll gain hands-on experience supporting important mental health programs and nonprofit organizations. This versatile internship is your chance to make a difference in mental health in the vibrant city of Cape Town while exploring your specialization and building a great foundation for your career.
Why should you do a Psychology Internship with an NGO?
What are internships for psychology students? They are a fantastic way to build skills, gain hands-on experience, and build a professional network. What are internships for psychology students in the nonprofit sector? All of the same things, plus the chance, contribute to making a positive impact in the world. In fact, there are also many unique learning opportunities to be found within the nonprofit sector.
The only drawback is that they can be slightly more difficult to find. That’s why it’s worth getting a little help. When applying for an internship with Roots, you’ll benefit from our years of experience, our expansive network of nonprofit partners, and comprehensive support throughout the process from our dedicated, diligent team.
This blog was written by Tom Rusbridge