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Hands-on Opportunities for Teaching and Education Careers

To explore teaching and education careers, hands-on opportunities are essential. You need to be sure you like working with the population you have selected (e.g. adolescents) and that you are able to work well with this group. You also need to develop teaching and behavior management skills.

Hands-on Opportunities with On-campus Groups

Many on-campus groups are working to improve education. If you are interested in any of these projects, use the contact information on their websites to see if there are paid or volunteer opportunities.

  • Many students work in the Penn State Children’s Programs, our on-site early care and education facilities.
  • Penn State Extension has a range of programs and services to support education and children including initiatives to train child care workers, promote family literacy, and help communities prosper.
  • Penn State Learning consistently hires peer tutors.
  • Healthworks is a program run at the University Health Services focused on peer education and outreach.
  • Work study positions are sometimes available with America Reads, a program designed to teach early literacy skills.

Hands-on Opportunities in the Community

There are many opportunities in State College to get involved in teaching and education work. Some of these opportunities are paid, others are for volunteers.

Paid Opportunities in the Community

HDFS students often work during the school year and summer as babysitters, nannies, and in local child care, preschool, and youth programs. These are great ways to get paid experience working with children and youth in a variety of settings.

  • Use the phone book and internet to find local child care centers and contact them to see if they need assistance. Be sure to check the YMCA and the Youth Services Bureau for opportunities to work with youth.
  • is a website where you can post your resume and connect to parents who are looking for babysitters. If you want to gain experience with different kinds of children – special needs children or children of different ages – you can indicate this in your materials.
  • Many students work as summer camp counselors or as summer youth program workers to gain experience working with different populations of children. A great website to find these opportunities is Jobs for summer are often posted in March and April.

Volunteer Opportunities in the Community

  • Students often volunteer in the community as ESL and GED tutors. Contact the Mid-State Literacy Council.
  • The State College Area School District has many Penn State students volunteering in the public schools. See the Volunteers in Public Schools program.
  • Students interested in working with special needs children sometimes volunteer at Easter Seals.

Check the HDFS Internship Database for information about the many different organizations located in and around State College where students have gained valuable experience teaching and working with students.