Career Experience

Build your credentials and shape your experience while still in school

One of the biggest misconceptions is assuming that a degree alone will get you a job after graduation. In today’s world, employers expect much more from an applicant than just a degree alone. The question employers ask has changed from “Do you have a college degree?” to “What experience and skills did you gain while you were in college earning your degree?”


This is why it is essential for you to gain relevant experience while you are in college. Strive to gain several types of experiences, such as research, internships, volunteering and part-time jobs on your resume by the time you graduate. These types of experiences will not only help you decide on a career path, but they are necessary to landing your first job and/or being accepted to the graduate program of your choice!

Internships, Volunteering, and Part-time Jobs

Internships, volunteering and part-time jobs are a great way to get involved in the field of psychology, discern your career goals, gain relevant experience, make connections, and build your resume. Human services agencies, non-profit organizations, government agencies and more are examples of places where you can gain experience while in college.

As a freshman or sophomore, you should start with job shadowing and volunteer work to help you narrow down your career interests. Once you have a better idea of which area of psychology you would like to pursue, you can then start looking for an internship or part-time job. These experiences are what future employers and graduate schools will be looking for.

Type of  Experience Description Benefits Your Responsibilities
Volunteer
  • An unpaid experience that benefits a company, organization or the community
  • Can be long- or short-term
  • Can earn academic credit as PSYC297 or 497 that will count as elective credit
  • Giving back to the community
  • Chance to “test” a potential career path to see if it is a good match for you
  • Gain experience and build skills
  • Networking
  • Reference for grad school or future job
  • Treat it like a job. Your volunteer supervisor may be in a position to hire you someday!
  • Sometimes do undesirable tasks
  • Finish your commitment
  • Do a great job!
Internship
  • A short-term experience to gain career-related skills
  • Can be during the summer or for a semester during the school year
  • Can be paid or unpaid
  • Can earn academic credit as PSYC297 or 497 that will count as elective credit
  • Chance to “test” a potential career path to see if it is a good match for you
  • Gain experience and build skills
  • Networking
  • Reference for grad school or future job
  • Treat it like a job. Your internship supervisor may be in a position to hire you someday!
  • Sometimes do undesirable tasks
  • Finish your commitment
  • Do a great job!
Part-time job
  • A paid work experience that is long-term and less than 32 hours per week
  • Chance to “test” a potential career path to see if it is a good match for you
  • Gain experience and build skills
  • Networking
  • Reference or grad school or future job
  • Help finance your education
  • Not let work interfere with school (and vice versa)
  • Commit to at least a year
  • Find a job with hours that allow you to attend class and study
  • Do a great job!


Please refer to our internships/volunteering/part-time jobs chart for organizations that offer these opportunities for psychology students. Other online resources to help you find these opportunities:

Also, register on Husker Hire Link where you will find postings for jobs and internships.

Earn Academic Credit

You can earn academic credit for an internship or volunteer work by enrolling in PSYC 297 or 497. Both types of experiences follow the same process and use the same internship paperwork. Once you have a volunteer or internship position lined up, consider the following:

Do I need elective credit?
Internship credit only counts as elective credit. If you do not need elective credit to graduate, you would just be paying for credit you do not need. Schedule an appointment via MyPlan (instructions) with your advisor to calculate if and how many electives you need.

Should I register for PSYC297 or 497?
PSYC297 is used mostly for freshmen and sophomores, and for basic, entry-level tasks. PSYC497 is used mostly for juniors and seniors, and for more in-depth tasks. Schedule an appointment via MyPlan (instructions) with your advisor to discuss which is most appropriate for your situation.

How many credits should I register for?
PSYC297 and 497 are variable credit courses, meaning you can earn between 1 – 6 credit hours each semester based on how many hours you will be volunteering/interning. One credit equals 50 hours of volunteering/interning. That averages to about 3 hours per week for fall and spring semesters. So, if you are volunteering or interning 9 hours per week, you could register for 3 credit hours.

Should I take the course for a grade or pass/no pass?
You need to discuss with your faculty sponsor whether to take the course for a grade or pass/no pass. Refer to the Pass/No Pass Privilege section in the College Degree Requirements section of the Undergraduate Bulletin for limits on how many credit hours of pass/no pass you can use toward your degree. Be sure to choose the appropriate grading option and number of credit hours (units) when registering via MyRed as shown on the screen shot below:

How do I register for the course?
Refer to the Internship Packet for detailed information regarding the process and required paperwork. Once you have answered the questions above and turned in the necessary paperwork to the Psychology Advising Center (235 Burnett) as outlined in the internship packet, stop by the main Psychology Office (238 Burnett) for a permission code that you will enter into MyRed. Refer to the screen shot above.