Internships & Practical Learning Experiences

Experiential, practical, learning is an important aspect of preparing for your career. Employers and graduate and professional schools value candidates who have relevant "real life" experiences.

Experiential learning encompasses a wide variety of activities, of which we will focus on internships, co-ops, clinical and student teaching experiences in this section.

Practical Experiences by CU Students


View a five-year sampling of CU student practical learning experiences.

  •  Search over 1,400 listings by major and college
  • Identify organizations and locations

Practical Learning Experience INFO


Learn more about various for credit, non-credit, paid and unpaid practical experiences.

  • Internships
  • Co-ops
  • Clinical
  • Block and Student teaching

The Value of Practical Experiences


Employers rate internships and similar experiences as the most important qualification on a resume (NACE).

  • Provides on-the-job experience and skills
  • Helps clarify career choice

Pursuing a Practical Experience


Unsure of where to start?

Sampling of Internship & Practical Experiences

Clarion University values the importance of experiential learning in the preparation of our students. We understand that by providing the opportunity to apply classroom learning and skills in the real-world, we provide students a competitive edge in preparing for graduate and professional school, and the workplace.

This partial list of over 1,400 practical learning experiences provides a glimpse of our students recent engagement.
Students are encouraged to contact their department internship coordinator, advisor or staff in Career and Professional Development, to discuss.

College of Arts, Education, & Sciences

The largest academic unit at Clarion University, the college features more than 40 undergraduate and graduate degree programs across numerous departments, centers and programs.

School of Education

Housed under the College of Arts, Education and Sciences, the school's education programs are nationally recognized for the exceptional preparation of our undergraduate students with our teacher candidates exhibiting a 94 to 100 percent pass rate on exams.

College of Business Administration and information Sciences

The college believes in bringing real world experiences and learning opportunities into our classrooms as we prepare students for their careers. All business programs are accredited by AACSB International - the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business - placing our programs among the top business programs in the world. Our M.S.L.S. is accredited by the American Library Association.

School of Information Sciences

Comprised of the Department of Computer Information Science (CIS) and the Department of Information and Library Science (LS), the school offers a variety of minors and Bachelors degrees, and houses the Masters of Library Science, which is available to students from all majors.

College of Health Sciences and Human Services

The college offers a variety of high quality programs that provide students exceptional opportunities for applied learning including, clinical practice, internships and practicums outside of the classroom. Students gain a competitive edge from the synergy of pedagogical and clinical learning.

Info on Practical Experiences

Experiential learning will provide you a competitive edge in your career and job search. By applying knowledge from the class-room to real life work experiences, you will gain skills employers want.

At CU, some academic programs require internship, externship, co-op, practicum, student teaching or clinical experiences for graduation, while others provide them as an option.

After reviewing the information, policies and procedures below, be sure to contact the internship coordinator in your academic program to discuss your options, in particular, if you are considering a for-credit practical experience.

Experiential Learning: The Basics

  • Internships/Externships, Practicums, Co-ops, Clinical and Student Teaching are similar in nature, as each provides real-life work experiences that apply what you've learned in the classroom.
  • Experiential learning can be for-course credit, or no-credit, paid or unpaid.
  • Depending on your academic area of study you may be required to complete a for-credit practical experience to graduate. This is a good thing!

For-Credit Internship, Co-op, Clinical, Externship, Practicum and Clinical Experiences

For-credit experiential learning courses are listed in the college catalog and are typically numbered as 300 and 400-level courses, but certain academic programs also provide opportunities for 100 and 200-level courses.

Faculty coordinators from academic departments will advise you, review learning objectives, and provide evaluations of your performance. You will also have site supervisors who work with you to meet specific learning outcomes.

Because these types of learning experiences must meet the demands of the respective profession, as well as the needs of individual students, each college and department establishes its own requirements for acceptance in the program and for successful completion.

Student Teaching, Block and Observation

Student teaching is required if you are an education major. It provides you the opportunity to put into practice the knowledge and skills you have developed in the classroom. Student teaching involves an on-site (for-credit) experience in a partner school and provides opportunities for formal and informal learning and reflection.

The Office of Field Services (OFS) coordinates placement in observation, block experience and student teaching settings. The office works with students in the student teacher certification program, the externship program for students in Communication Sciences & Disorders, and the internship program for students in Rehabilitative Sciences programs.

Getting Approved to Earn Experiential Learning Credit

To receive academic credit for a practical learning experience, you must meet with your department chairperson or internship coordinator for approval. Each college and department has specific requirements for students to be accepted into a "for-credit" practical learning experience.

Before you begin a practical experience for which you wish to earn academic credit, you must gain approval from your academic department and for certain academic programs you will need to complete the following agreement, and obtain the appropriate signatures:

  • Learning Affiliation Agreement Note: Check with your academic department to determine if you are required to complete the Learning Affiliation Agreement Form.

Guidelines for Paid and Unpaid Internships (not for academic credit)

Departmental faculty advisors and Career and Professional Development staff will help you clarify the type of experience you need and help you explore opportunities. In addition to meeting with faculty and staff, explore internship search strategies for paid and unpaid non-credit internships on Career Connections and other internship sites.

Only Non-profit organizations may offer unpaid internships that are not for academic credit. All other organizations must provide internships that are connected to earning credits, or they must be paid.

Disclaimer: Students and alumni should personally explore and research openings and organizations, and consult with their academic advisor prior to submitting a resume to an organization, or entering into an internship/experiential learning, or employment agreement.

The Value of Practical Learning Experiences

Employers rate internships and other practical learning experiences as the most important qualification a candidate can have. While an excellent QPA and campus involvement is important, they want to see evidence of how you have applied your knowledge and skills in a real-world setting.

Practical learning experiences provide on-the-job experience that gives you an edge over other applicants. These experiences help you to:

  • Narrow down and decide on a specific career direction.
  • Decide if your skills are as polished as they should be. You may discover that you need stronger writing skills. In college, you can take additional writing courses to strengthen your skills.
  • Learn if your career choice is really compatible with your aptitudes, skills, values, and interests. A practical learning experience provides you the opportunity to develop good work habits. You become less of a novice and more of a professional, and you become aware of the reality of the working environment.
  • Learn about work environments, organizational cultures, and supervisory styles as well as challenging your interpersonal and communication skills.
  • To test the theories and principles learned in the classroom.
  • Develop job search skills. To obtain an internship, you learn skills, such as resume writing, interviewing, and application letter preparation.
  • Gain insight into finding a job in your field, make contacts and seek their advice about finding a job in the field.

Practical learning experience can transform your life and career in ways you can't imagine. It is only by doing work associated with a particular career area that you can feel confident about your career choices.

Pursuing a practical experience

The Center for Career and Professional Development looks forward to working with you to identify internships and other practical experiences that will help you prepare for your career. The ideal time to start your search is during your sophomore year. Follow these steps to identify the best practical learning experience for you.

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Last Updated 12/6/18