Your BB H course work, combined with paid or volunteer work experiences that are relevant to your career goals, should qualify you for a variety of interesting and satisfying career opportunities after graduation. The BB H faculty have set a core curriculum for all BB H majors and have provided students with some flexibility to select additional courses to enhance classroom learning. Nevertheless, practical, hands-on experiences outside the classroom are also essential to career preparation.
This page is intended to be a guide to get you started to find field opportunities related to BB H. In addition to the benefit that the experience itself will provide, students will also benefit from interacting with professionals who will then be in an excellent position to write a meaningful letter of recommendation for you.
Penn State Career Services is an excellent place to start for help to learn how to search for field experiences. It is never too early in your academic career to explore all of the services available. You can meet with a drop-in counselor any time between 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. weekdays in the Bank of America Career Services Center to discuss your concerns or to schedule an appointment with a career counselor.
The Office of Health Promotion and Wellness
The Office of Health Promotion and Wellness offers a number of excellent opportunities for you to become involved in programs that are related to health promotion. Students who participate in these programs report that they enhance their communication skills, learn about current health issues, gain experience in college health, serve fellow students, develop leadership skills, enrich their Penn State experience, and build friendships that will last a lifetime. Example programs include:
- Alcohol Intervention Program
- Clinic Volunteer Program
- Physical Therapy
- Emergency Medical Technicians
- HIV Test Counselors
A BB H faculty member might be willing to sponsor you for an independent study in which you receive academic credit. The University specifies that 45 hours per semester is required to receive 1 academic credit. To find a sponsor for an independent study, read about the interests of the faculty, make an appointment with the appropriate faculty member, and discuss your ideas. If the faculty member agrees to sponsor you, the two of you write a contract which specifies what must be done to receive credit for the project. Then complete and sign the form for independent study (available from Kathy Gilham in 223 Biobehavioral Health Building), and return the form to Kathy to process the addition of BB H 296 or 496 to your schedule.
Penn State Externships provide a five-day observation-oriented experience in an employment setting related to your career and educational goals. Many of the experiences include observation of or participation in daily operations of the organization. Typically, as an extern, you would shadow a Penn State alumni sponsor engaged in a career related to your interests. The extern experiences are for a one-week period over one of the semester breaks or spring break. If the pre-arranged sites appropriate for BB H majors are not in a location or do not otherwise meet your needs, Career Services may be able to assist in identifying an alternate job shadowing opportunity.
Summer Field Experiences (Job / Internship)
Summer employment that provides pay as well as professionally relevant experience provides many of the same benefits as an internship. Other summer or part-time jobs may not provide professional experience but may be beneficial in providing 'non-professional experience' in an organization related to academic or career plans. An example would be a BB H major doing office work in a health-care facility. Internships are intended to provide professional experience and learning opportunities related to your major and/or career plans. Internships may or may not be for pay. Currently BB H does not have a formalized internship process in place.
Students are encouraged to check Nittany Lion Career Network, available through Career Services, for open job and internship positions. During the spring semester, the People-to-People Career Fair may be of special interest to BB H majors. Additional job and internship search strategies can be accessed through the Career Services Web site.
Opportunities for field experiences and jobs of interest to BB H students are increasingly posted on the internet. The URLs often change, but this list may get you started.
- http://www.medsearchcorp.com/ -- MedSearch specialty database for health care
- http://www.idealist.org/ -- Action Without Borders, has link to jobs with non-profits
- http://www.familiesusa.org/about/about-internship-opportunities.html -- Families USA re: health and long-term care
Take advantage of all your networking opportunities. In addition to making contacts through friends, family, current/former employers, classmates, and faculty members, there are many other networking avenues you can pursue. You may learn about opportunities through newspapers, newsletters, job fairs, hometown contacts, professional associations, student organizations, trade magazines, community service/volunteer groups, and many more.
While there is a great deal of information available, you must be persistent in your search. Have a plan that includes a great resume and cover letter, appropriate follow-through, and good record keeping. Be prepared, open-minded, flexible, and professional. It's up to you to make all your contacts count!