Internships and Practicums - Work-based Learning at Westmoreland

An On-site Work Experience Directly Related to Your Career Goals and Interests

Internships and practicums are supervised and emphasize learning and professional development while providing a system of feedback and communication. They can be paid, unpaid, for credit or not for credit.

FAQ : Micro-internships - Information from Parker-Dewey

Starting in fall 2019, we're excited to announce that Westmoreland County Community College has been selected to be part of a National Career Readiness Project.

The Career Readiness Project leverages proven HR technology to improve the evaluation process, enabling you to complete a self-evaluation. It also provides you with feedback from your site supervisor and one other person, such as a co-worker, on how “career ready” you are following your work-related experience/work-study/internships/practicums apprenticeship programs.

As one of the first students in the country to participate, you’ll have an upper hand over your peers and be better prepared for a career after graduation.

How? With personalized insight into your work-related competencies and perspective of how your skills compare to job candidates in similar roles, you achieve a better understanding of how you’re progressing in the areas most sought after by employers. Check out the link for more information on the Career Readiness Project.

Intern at an officeBenefits of Completing an Internship/Practicum

  • Gain valuable work experience
  • The hands-on work experience interns receive is invaluable. Interns have the opportunity to:
    • Apply acquired knowledge to real work experiences
    • Experience the day-to-day job duties they can expect to encounter in their chosen field
    • Develop specialized skills related to their field and transferable skills such as communication, teamwork, and computer proficiency, preparing them to enter the workforce upon graduation
    • Explore jobs/careers in their field
    • Learn from supervisors and others who are established in the field
    • Gain confidence in their knowledge and abilities as they prepare to enter the workforce
    • Network with professionals in their field
    • Be hired, in some instances, employers may invite interns to apply for an open position

How Do I Apply?

To start the process, discuss your interest in an internship/practicum with your faculty advisor:

  • What courses must be completed prior to an internship/practicum
  • If you will complete the course for academic credit
  • What sites would be appropriate for your internship/practicum experience and any requirements the site may have (e.g. clearances)
  • Internship/practicum expectations and learning outcomes

Things to Consider

  • Research businesses/agencies/organizations that interest you.
  • How far are you willing to travel? Do you have reliable transportation?
  • Is it a paid or unpaid internship?
  • Can you manage to meet the hours requirement?
  • What clearances will you need for the worksite? Be aware that you might have to pay for those yourself.

Complete the Application

  • Complete the online internship application form 
  • Complete your training agreement in discussion with your faculty advisor and employer. This can be found in your internship/practicum google folder for which you will have received a link in your school email.

Prior to Starting Your Internship

  • You must submit your completed and signed (yourself, your faculty advisor and site supervisor) training agreement
  • Complete the mandatory internship orientation (in person or online), dates will be sent out prior to the start date
  • Read the internship/practicum guide, found as a pdf in your google folder
  • The Career Connections Center must receive a certificate of liability insurance from the college insurer or from your employer if you have a paid internship. If you are authorized through work-study for your internship, then you are covered as you receive a W-2.

Interns with trainer at machine

During the Internship/Practicum

  • You and your supervisor should meet regularly after site orientation. We suggest once a week to discuss your work, any challenges and progress with your learning outcomes.
  • You might find it helpful to complete an internship/practicum work plan.
  • You and your supervisor will receive a link to a mid-term and final evaluation form. Rubrics are in the manual and will also be uploaded to your google folder.
  • You might have a visit from your faculty advisor.
  • If you aren't sure about anything, always ask your supervisor or allocated mentor, your faculty advisor or the Career Connections team.

After completion of your required hours, usually 180 or 120 hours (Social Work), you will gain an academic grade based on your internship class and learning outcomes/performance in the workplace, based on your submitted evaluations.