Ways to Gain Experience in the Real World
Penn State Worthington Scranton has internship coordinators available in several of the majors that we offer that will guide and supervise internships for academic credit, an internship which counts toward degree requirements. If interested in academic internships, you may contact the following internship coordinators:
- James Frese, Business and Economics
- Janet Melnick, Human Development & Family Studies
- Fred Aebli, Information Sciences & Technology
- Milton Evans, Nursing
If you are interested in non-academic internships, an internship experience in which you will not receive academic credit but one that may afford you experience in your field of study, you may contact the Career Services office for assistance. Both academic and non-academic internships may be paid or unpaid.
Internships are typically a one-time work or service experience undertaken by a student who has attained a minimum amount of some academic preparation in a specific discipline or professional field. The student, who can be an advanced undergraduate typically in the beginning of the junior year, or a graduate student, works in a professional setting under the supervision of at least one practicing professional. Some internships are more involved than others. Many offer pay, but some do not. Most internships are done for academic credit. First-year students or sophomores sometimes desire to undertake internships for professional experience, but most are non-credit experiences that may not be recognized for credit by the program directors. Each discipline or program of study has various and differing requirements that must be met for credit such as number of hours, credits, etc. All internships for academic credit must be approved by the program director or in some cases the internship coordinator. Internships are a finite experience, they are usually taken over the course of one semester. Internships are a wonderful way to gain professional experience in a specific discipline, build a resume, and make progress toward a degree. If you have specific questions about an internship and related requirements, you can obtain information through your internship coordinator of your program, and/or your Career Services counselor on campus.
A cooperative education experience is generally completed by a student over more than one semester. It includes work assignments related to the participant's academic and career interests. Co-ops are almost always paid, and their work is considered productive to the employer. The typical program is for students to alternate terms of full-time classroom study with terms of full-time, discipline related employment. Co-ops are different from internships in that they are not finite and taken within one semester, co-ops extend over the course of one semester, sometimes several. Most co-op programs involve some sort of academic credit.
A practicum is generally a one-time work or service experience done by a student as part of an academic class. Some practicums offer pay, but many don't. Almost all are done for academic credit.
Externships/Job Shadowing Experiences
An externship, commonly called a job shadowing experience, allows a student to spend between a day and several weeks observing a professional on the job. Such experiences are unpaid and not done for academic credit as the professional is giving their time and expertise during the experience. However, they are a wonderful opportunity to see what professionals encounter from day to day and to ask questions about rewards, challenges, training, and much more.