Exercise Science is a hands-on discipline, as are the career pathways that students take - being able to apply what you learn is critical to becoming a successful professional. A great way to gain hands-on experience is through an internship. Students entering into rehabilitative or allied health professions typically complete their internship around their junior year so they have observation hours in preparation for applying to graduate schools. Students entering into fitness and sport professions typically complete their internship towards the end of their program so that they can apply the knowledge, skills, and abilities they acquired while in college. By completing an internship, our students gain valuable real-world experiences that support their professional development.
Students are responsible for selecting their own internship site, but they can complete an internship in any area and at any location so long as it matches their career goals. In the last five yeras, our students have completed internships at over 100 different sites across the country, mostly at locations in Pennsylvania and Maryland, at sites including:
- Physical therapy clinics
- University athletics departments
- Gyms and fitness centers
- Occupational therapy clinics
- Sport training facilities
- Chiropractor offices
- High schools and middle schools
- Primary care offices
- Retirement communities
- And more!
Read on to see what some of our students have been up to at their internships!
Dinh Bui, Class of '23
"During my internship with the University of Pittsburgh's Strength & Conditioning program, I gained valuable knowledge not only about the field, but about myself as a coach. This internship presented me with several challenges, but it also enabled me to identify my strengths and weaknesses through activities such as coaching drills, presentations, program design, and running warm-ups. I enjoyed learning and utilizing technologies such as GymAware, Force Plate, and Catapult. The most rewarding aspect of this internship was coaching and developing relationships with the athletes, as well as collaborating with the coaches."
Dinh completed his internship at the University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, PA.
Caitlin Wallace, Class of '18
"I learned so much about the physical therapy field and decided the outpatient setting is one I want to work in after school...Listening to the therapists explain exercises to patients really educates you about the exercises, and how certain aspects of the body are involved for that exercise. One of the most rewarding parts of this internship was that I could make a patient’s day just by listening to them speak what was on their mind. I had two different patients thank me just for listening. Many times, patients don’t always have a good support system at home, so it is really important to be that support system for them."
Caitlin completed her internship at Gilbert Physical Therapy in Mechanicsburg, PA.
Tyler Uhlig, Class of '18
"My internship at Parisi Speed School was very exciting and enjoyable. They develop training programs and classes to improve speed and agility in young athletes. Initially, I shadowed different coaches while they instructed classes and assisted with data collection on testing days. I gradually became more involved...and once I learned the basics of the different classes, I coached classes myself. The first class I coached was linear speed day. I took the kids through a variety of speed drills, which mainly helped them work on their arm/knee drive."
Tyler completed his internship at the Parisi Speed School in Downington, PA.
Sarah White, Class of '18
"My internship was very informative and gratifying. All of the providers allowed me to observe them and took the time to teach me about certain cases. I strengthened my ability to read EKGs, interpret blood work, and learned how to read different x-rays and MRI images. I learned an immense amount of information regarding new medications, treatments, and so much more. I was even able to answer questions from patients concerning exercise and nutrition tips. Each day was different and very busy seeing between 16 and 20 patients a day, but each day helped me realize my passion for helping others and desire to become a Physician Assistant."
Sarah completed her internship at Summit Primary Care in Chambersburg, PA.
Xiomara Espinosa, Class of '17
"I learned a lot about what it takes to work one-on-one with clients that rely on you to help make them better. The challenges are motivating each specific client and finding creative ways to adapt to any possible limitations. It is extremely important to to interact with and really get to know your clients' strengths and weaknesses. One of the clients I worked with had trouble maintaining their grip on exercise equipment in one of their hands. Together, we came up with a way that allowed them to place their hand in a glove and velcro that hand to any piece of equipment they needed extra help with in the gym. Something as small as this boosted the client's confidence immensely and immediately I could see a complete change in their motivation."
Xiomara completed her internship at UMedGym in Carlisle, PA.