The purpose of the internship program is to strengthen the professional skills and expertise of HDFS students.  Through internships, students earn college credit while participating in meaningful tasks and learning related to their major and overall career goals. HDFS is affiliated with a wide variety of agencies and organizations that have agreed to mentor and support interns on site while gradually assuming responsibility under close supervision. Interns correspond regularly with the HDFS internship instructor, reflecting on their experiences and responding to questions posed by the instructor.  Interns also participate in an every other week seminar to learn important human services skills and support one another.

Types of HDFS Internship Courses

HDFS 262  Introduction to Human Services (3 credit) offered fall and winter terms
HDFS 310  Human Services Practicum (4 credits/ 90 hours) offered every term
HDFS 410  Advanced Internship/Human Services, HS option,  (12 credits/300 hours) offered every term
HDFS 433  Early Childhood Internship (10 credits/270 hours) offered fall term

Application Process and Timeline


Students are responsible for researching sites that would interest them and provide the experience that they are seeking. If you are interested in a site that is not on the list, you must get it approved by your Faculty Advisor.

Research Sites. Look through the internship site list (login using ONID,, credentials) and choose the top three sites that appeal to you. Students can also research their own sites that are not on the list. When choosing your sites think about the types of careers that interest you. Are you more interested in prevention or therapeutic programs? Do you enjoy working with younger or older populations? Do you want to work directly with clients or are you more interested in program development and evaluation? What internship site would work best for your introductory experience? What site would be best for your advanced experience? Most HDFS interns are not paid, but sometimes HDFS students use their paid employment as an internship. Would this arrangement work for you? What are your future career goals and can an internship help you meet these goals?

Call and/or email sites on the list. Send them your resume and cover letter, outlining why you want to intern there. 

Set up an interview. Discuss the Internship course with the agency, including the number of hours required onsite per week. In general, you may NOT begin your hours prior to the first day of class for the term you are enrolled.

Complete required forms. Fill out the Internship Description form with your site supervisor and then review it with your faculty advisor. Once you've confirmed the internship meets department requirements, you must submit a request for an Experience in Handshake.  The  Career Development Center Internship Coordinator will verify the details provided and begin the process of approvals in Handshake, requiring faculty, site supervisor, and academic advisors to all approve the Experience. Once all approvals are received, the Academic Advisor will remove the registration hold and you can register for the course.


Child Development 433 students have two options: placement in preschools or K-1 classrooms in elementary schools.  For placement in preschools you will be working with Career Development Center Internship Coordinator.  School placements are made by the Coordinator for Educational Placement. To get started, students must fill out an HDFS 433 application by the deadline, usually the end of Week 1 in Spring term.  

HDFS 433 Placement Process for Kindergarten or First Grade School Internships Only:

____April: After completing and submitting your online HDFS 433 Internship Application, you will receive the list of student names interested in completing internships in either Kindergarten or First Grade classrooms.

____April/May: The school coordinator will contact a school district on your behalf and request a placement for you that will start in the fall term for a 10 week (270 hour- 27 hours per week) internship. It is highly recommended that you start your internship on the day teachers attend required school meetings the end of August. However, it is not mandatory since your fall term for OSU-Cascades does not start until September.

____April/May: The school coordinator will give you the contact name and email of a potential Cooperating Teacher (CT) in order for you to schedule an informal pre-placement meeting. Please set up this meeting ASAP (or at least by May). Please discuss with your CT your internship start date and weekly hourly schedule that works for both of you for fall term. Professional dress is required for this meeting even though it is informal.

*There is no formal work sample or “solo” teaching required. This internship involves observation, supervised participation, and introduction to curriculum development.

____May/June: After you have met the Cooperating Teacher (CT), please email the Coordinator of Educational Placement, and she will confirm the placement with the CT. She will then email you the specific school registration requirements and directions for that school district.

____August: Educational Placement Coordinator will email you the specific school district registration information.

  • Application (Indicates a Volunteer Application for Bend-La Pine but they know you are an intern. It is the same application form needed.)
  • Background Clearance Check (You do not need to get the TSPC fingerprint clearance. Both Bend-La Pine and Redmond only require a background check.)
  • SafeSchools online training: Blood-Borne Exposure Prevention; Child Abuse: Mandatory Reporting; Sexual Conduct: Staff to Student; Sexual Harassment: Staff-to-Staff  

*You will receive your school district ID picture badge after you have met all the registration requirements.

NOTE: Connect with your Cooperating Teacher (CT) again in August to confirm your internship hourly schedule and start date. Always make sure to contact your CT when you are absent. A consistent weekly schedule is required.

The Coordinator of Educational Placement places all 433 Child Develoment students in the public schools because there is a specific protocol in place for every school district. School districts and schools do not want students contacting them directly.

Interviewing with a Site

It is recommended that students identify their top internship sites by visiting and reviewing the agencies’ websites and reading the Human Services agencies’ collateral materials stored in the office of the Coordinator of Education Placement for the Human Services students in order to gain more information and be better prepared for interfacing with the site supervisor and other agencies.  Here are some potential questions for the student to ask during the interview:

  • What sorts of tasks could I expect to participate in at your agency?
  • What demographic can I expect to be working with?
  • What can I expect my schedule to be like?
  • How many hours do you require interns to work (daily/weekly)?
  • Is there any pre-training I must go through to obtain an internship at your agency?
  • Do you have your own application process?
  • Does your agency conduct a criminal background check, or is that something I will need to pursue on my own?
  • What sorts of characteristics would you say are important for interns to possess in order to be successful at your agency?
Issues to Address with a Site Supervisor

Once you begin your internship, it is important to determine what the ground rules are at your site.  The following are issues and questions that you should address early, if not prior to beginning your internship.

Philosophy: What is the philosophy or mission statement of the agency that I am expected to abide by and represent to clients?

Working with Clients: How should I present myself to clients?  As an intern, what can I do and what can I not do when assisting clients?

Dress and Behavior Code:  What is considered “appropriate dress” and “appropriate behavior” at this workplace?

Confidentiality: What are your rules regarding confidentiality? How is information about clients protected? Do I need to sign a confidentiality agreement?

Mandatory Reporting:  What are the requirements with the agency for reporting any abuse that I witness or suspect in dealing with clients?

Receiving Feedback/Knowing your Duties: How often do I meet with my supervisor? How will I know what my duties are?  How will I know what I am doing right and what I need to improve on?

Safety:  What are the rules concerning worker safety?

Termination Policy & Course Requirements

OSU-Cascades will strive to obtain an internship placement for all students who submit complete materials in a timely manner, a placement within any given term cannot be guaranteed. A placement in a preferred setting can also not be guaranteed. If at any time during the internship the Intern does not fulfill his/her professional obligations to the agency/firm/school, the Intern will be terminated from the internship. The decision for this termination shall be made by mutual agreement between the Site Supervisor and the Internship Instructor. 

If it becomes impossible for the agency/firm/school to adequately assist the Intern to meet his/her goals, the Intern will have the option to terminate the internship experience. The decision for this termination shall be made by mutual agreement between the Intern and the Internship Instructor.

Interested in hosting an intern?
For more information on hosting an intern, please review the Site Supervisor Manual.