Practicum

Psychology students in class

PSYC 391: Practicum (2-4 credits)

Course Description: Practicum is an experiential learning course designed to provide students with the opportunity to gain experience at sites in the community where psychology is applied. Practicum students witness first hand how the knowledge, methods, and models they have studied in the classroom apply in real life situations. The hands-on, practical experiences that are provided in practicum are especially valuable for students who intend to seek employment in a human service area upon graduation. Additionally, students considering graduate school in a therapy-related or human service field will also benefit greatly from these structured field experiences. For questions about practicum, please contact the practicum supervisor (Dr. Casey Trainor).

A few local agencies that have partnered with for practicum:

  • Augustana College – HR office, student services office
  • Avera Behavioral Health Center – Inpatient psychiatric services
  • Children's Home Society – Residential treatment center for children
  • Compass Center – Sexual and domestic violence programs
  • Help!Line Center – Information and crisis help center
  • Keystone (Canton, SD) – Adolescent addictions programs
  • Minnehaha County Human Services – Indigent, homeless, and/or addicted populations
  • Sioux Falls School System – Occupational therapy services
  • Summit Oaks Center – Residential treatment center for adolescents
  • VA Hospital – Inpatient/outpatient work with veterans
  • Volunteers of America – Multiple programs (mostly adolescent based)

Practicum Requirements:Practicum is reserved for students with junior or senior standing to assure the student has sufficient background in psychology. Practicums are arranged with the practicum supervisor and students may not enroll for credit until the practicum has been arranged. Practicum can be taken for 2-4 credits. Each credit requires 40 hours of in-agency time under the supervision of agency staff. A typical 3-credit practicum requires 120 hours of time in-agency (approximately 9-10 hours per week during a semester). Practicum schedules are arranged in conjunction with the practicum agency based on students' schedules and the structure of the agency. Practicum students are required to keep a daily journal of practicum experiences and complete a paper relating to their practicum experience.

Some agencies require fingerprint background checks and/or certification of immunization record. This process can take several weeks. Expenses associated with this (if any) are to be paid by the student.

APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS:

Enrollment in practicum is selective. It is based on the availability of practicum sites and an appropriate match between the student and available sites. Interested students must apply and a practicum must be arranged before you are allowed to enroll in the course. Please direct questions regarding practicum to the practicum supervisor (Dr. Casey Trainor).

If you are interested in doing a practicum, you need to do the following:

  1. Complete the application form and return it to Dr. Trainor (MC 130).
  2. Contact Dr. Trainor to arrange a meeting to discuss your practicum interests in more detail.
  3. Give a copy of the recommendation checklist to two faculty members who are willing to provide a recommendation for you (at least one of the faculty members should be from outside of the psychology department). Ask them to return the completed checklist directly to Dr. Trainor as soon as possible (MC 130).

We will do our best to place you into a practicum that matches your interests. This may take a bit of time as we are working with outside agencies. We will keep you updated regularly regarding the status of your application. You will be cleared to enroll in practicum only when a practicum experience has been officially arranged.