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Exercise Science and Health Promotion Internship Program

As a requirement for graduation, all students majoring in Exercise and Wellness (EXW) must complete an internship experience in their senior year administered through an online, capstone course:  EXW 484.  The course serves as a culminating experience for each student, bridging years of academic preparation with meaningful, hands-on practical applications of knowledge, skills, and abilities in a professional work environment.  This experience is supervised by a professional mentor and monitored by the Internship Coordinator, who also serves as the Course Instructor.  Each student enrolled in the course will complete an internship of their choosing within the healthcare field that meets 1) the objectives and requirements of the course, 2) established policies and procedures of the internship program (as outlined in the course syllabus), and 3) the expected work performance of the hosting organization (internship field site), allowing the student to earn academic credit for the experience.

Program Objectives

Students will be required to address the following objectives of the course through the completion of assignments and in their individual work performance and professionalism, as demonstrated during the internship:

  1. Demonstration of professionalism in the field and classroom setting, as displayed by the student’s interpersonal skills, conduct, work ethic, self-directed initiatives, and qualitative/quantitative contributions to their hosting organization and course responsibilities.
  2. Demonstration of effective communication skills in areas of writing, verbal responses, non-verbal communications, and presentation development and delivery. 
  3. Practicing effective self-management and leadership skills, taking initiative as warranted and demonstrating creativeness in field work and completion of assignments.
  4. Engaging in self-reflection, to process learning experiences, strengths and challenges, and to aid in professional growth and development.
  5. Integrating didactic skills and core competencies learned throughout various academic training through the application of theories and methodologies relative to the practice setting.
  6. Broadening business acumen and awareness of the operational environment of respective fields of service, identifying, analyzing, and understanding the critical factors of operations affecting the mission of their host organization.

Prerequisites

Exercise and Wellness Concentration Prerequisites

  1. Completion of courses EXW 420 and EXW 425, with a grade of C or better for each course
  2. Senior status (completion of 87 credits)
  3. Student in good standing (minimum grade point average of 2.0)

Health Education and Health Promotion Concentration Prerequisites

  1. Completion of courses EXW 444 and EXW 446, with a grade of C or better for each course
  2. Senior status (completion of 87 credits)
  3. Student in good standing (minimum grade point average of 2.0)

                
Health Promotion Concentration Prerequisites

  1. Completion of courses EXW 444 and EXW 446, with a grade of C or better for each course
  2. Senior status (completion of 87 credits)
  3. Student in good standing (minimum grade point average of 2.0)

Program Requirements

  • Enrollment in EXW 484 for a minimum of 6 credits
  • Completion of a minimum of 270 work hours in the internships (45 work hours per registered credit) during the semester in which the student is enrolled
  • Submission of the following documents:  Internship Learning Agreement (ILA), Midterm and Final Evaluations, Student Internship Survey, Internship Timesheet, and all course assignments
  • Compliance with internship program/course policies and procedures (as outlined in the course syllabus)

Internship Practice Categories

There are four internship practice categories that define the overall scope of services in which students may intern for the course:

Administrative
An administrative practice experience for an intern would primarily include tasks and projects that focus on the operations or “behind-the-scenes” administrative functions of the organization.  Interns would likely work under the supervision of a department or program executive or manager and complete tasks with departments such as human resources, marketing, finance/budgeting, fundraising, special events planning and coordination, strategic planning, and information systems. 

Clinical
A clinical practice experience occurs when the majority of the intern’s responsibilities involve engaging directly with the organization’s external clients, by assisting, observing, or taking some responsibility of the interaction.  Interns will typically work with or assist clinicians with one or more clients, in a direct care or treatment capacity within clinical practices at medical offices of dentists, physicians, and veterinarians; hospitals, health clinics, holistic and rehabilitation centers. 

Programmatic
Programmatic practice experiences involve internship work with specific programs or projects that directly impact or respond to the organization’s mission, fields of service, or revenue-generating operations that are non-clinical.  Interns usually work directly with external clients who are the end-users or benefactors of the services provided by the organization.  Interns would typically work on projects or programs involving teaching, instructing, or educating individuals or groups; or work in program development, implementation and evaluation.  For example, interns may assist or work with coaches, personal trainers, sports performance trainers, healthy lifestyle coaches, health educators, and corporate wellness consultants. 

Research
Interns working in research practice experiences work primarily under the guidance of a project coordinator and/or principal investigator.  These internship sites are usually located at universities, non-profit organizations, community centers, hospitals, and laboratories engaged in research activities.  Examples of student interns’ work may include data collection and analyses, interviewing respondents for research projects, assisting with interventions and survey development, or project coordination and evaluation.

Practice Areas

EXW students may choose an internship in an area aligned with career goals and post-graduate aspirations.  Following are some practice areas and career fields in which many EXW students elect to complete internships:

  • Athletic Training
  • Bariatric Rehabilitation
  • Cardiac Rehabilitation
  • Chiropractic Medicine
  • Corporate Wellness
  • Fitness Training
  • Group Exercise
  • Health Education
  • Nutrition Management
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Physical Therapy
  • Recreational Therapy
  • Research
  • Sports Medicine
  • Strength and Conditioning

For an overview of career fields related to exercise and wellness, visit explorehealthcareers.org and iseekeducation.org.

Sample Experiences

Following are examples of internship experiences that were completed by School of Nutrition and Health Promotion students within the last academic year.

  • ASU Wellness (programmatic)
    Service Fields:  Health Education, Health Communications, Health Promotion
    Experiences:  Students work with the staff of a wellness department at a Division I university targeting the student population in developing educational health promotion marketing materials, managing and contributing content to social media sites, coordinating special events, providing student consultation, and managing health and wellness programs. 
  • Exercise Science and Health Promotion Research, ASU (research)
    Service Fields:  Research, Community Health, Public Health, Exercise Physiology, Epidemiology
    Experiences:  Students assist Principal Investigators and Program Coordinators with survey development, researching articles, collecting and entering data, supplies procurement, training on various laboratory instruments and auditing tools, data analyses, and recruitment and management of research participants.  
  • Lauren’s Institute for Education (LIFE) (clinical)
    Service Field:  Occupational Therapy
    Experiences:  Students assist Occupation Therapists with therapy modalities for school-aged children, using various mediums, such as play, music, and obstacle courses, to develop and improve clients’ skills and abilities in areas of learning and social behaviors, developing copying skills, speech pathology, and motor control. 
  • American Heart Association (administrative)
    Service Fields:  Health Education, Health Promotion, Marketing, Program Planning 
    Experiences:  Students assists in the development and implementation of youth fundraising and education activities, while also learning event coordination, customer service, management of volunteers, event promotion, and how to educate youth about the importance of healthy living. 
  • CrossFit PHX (programmatic)
    Service Fields:  Personal Training, Coaching, Sports Medicine, Marketing, Exercise Physiology
    Experiences:  Student interns gain practical application of the art and science of exercise prescription, movement analysis, and group management.  Interns complete their experience with a well-rounded understanding of practical applications and methodology of exercise and health, translating textbook and classroom instruction into real-time scenarios.
  • St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance Corporate Wellness Program (programmatic)
    Service Fields:  Health Education, Health Promotion, Exercise, Physical Activity, Wellness Coaching
    Experiences:  Under the guidance of the Corporate Wellness coordinator, the students created articles, newsletters, emails, “lunch and learns” to describe and market wellness programs and services to management and employees.  The students also collected data on health risk factors and associated medical care costs to assist with planning appropriate interventions, coordinated and scheduled employee wellness program events, worked with vendors and clients to organize, institute and coordinate wellness programs, and worked with Human Resources to design and develop an employee wellness website. 
  • Spooner Physical Therapy (clinical)
    Service Field:  Physical Therapy, Exercise
    Experiences:  Student worked under the mentoring of a physician therapist completing a multitude of learning activities including safeguarding, motivating, and assisting patients practice exercises, administering treatment involving application of physical agents, heat packs, and other modality treatments as needed, proactively attained knowledge of the application of modalities and the purposes, indications, and contraindications of each, and also learned how to effectively communicate patient progress and reactions to treatments to the physical therapist. 
  • Scottsdale Community College, Athletic Department (clinical)
    Service Fields:  Athletic Training, Strength and Conditioning
    Experiences:  Students worked under the supervision of Athletic Trainers, working directly with athletes and coaches, by making assessments and responding to athletes’ injuries, conducting ultrasounds, providing personal training and exercise consultations, and nutritional education.
  • Honor Health (clinical)
    Service Field:  Cardiac Rehabilitation
    Experiences:  Students gain experience under supervision of Exercise Physiologist by assisting with intake evaluations of patients, conducting exercise tests with various populations, assessing exercise protocols, monitoring heart rates and blood pressures during exercise, assisting with record keeping, report generation, and related patient data collection, supervising senior exercise programs, and observing and reading EKGs.

Internship Preparation Checklist 

Timeframe prior to internship semester

Activity

1. 6 – 18 months

Research career fields and employment opportunities in areas of interest; conduct job shadowing and informational interviews at prospective internship sites to learn about various career paths and job functions.

2. 6 – 12 months

Review and research various organizations and their respective internship opportunities as listed in the Master Directory of Affiliated Internship Sites found on the Preparation for Course 484 Blackboard..

3. 4 – 12 months  

Apply for a minimum of 5 – 10 internships and schedule interviews as applicable.  Visit ASU’s Career Services to schedule an appointment to have your résumé and cover letter reviewed or developed prior to applying for internships.

4. 4 – 6 months 

Decide if you want to complete your internship at your current place of employment, if applicable; if yes, submit a Petition to Complete Internship at Place of Employment by the deadline date.

5. 4 – 6 months

Prepare and apply for hospital-based internships by the deadline date (see hospital-specific applications for requirements, instructions, and deadlines found on the Preparation for Course 484 Blackboard).

6. 4 – 6 months

Complete health and safety requirements that may be required for internships (such as immunizations, fingerprint clearance cards, TB shots, CPR training, etc.).

7. 3 months

Submit a Petition to Affiliate a New Internship Site, if applicable; this petition is required for any student seeking to intern with an organization that is not currently affiliated with ASU (see Master Directory of Affiliated Internship Sites found on Preparation for Course 484 Blackboard).

8. 2 – 6 months

Accept internship offer and decline offers as applicable and/or withdraw applications.

9. 2 – 3 months

Register for course EXW 484 (Session C) on your assigned course registration date.

10. 1.5 – 2 months

International students completing internships in the U.S. must submit a Curricular Practical Training (CPT) application to ASU’s International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) prior to the start of the internship.

11. 1 – 2 months 

Complete and submit an Internship Learning Agreement (ILA) via Blackboard for the course no later than two weeks prior to the internship start date.

12.  6 weeks – First day of class

Begin working in the internship no earlier than six weeks prior to the first day of class and no later than the first day of class in the semester in which you are registered for the internship course. Students may not begin working in an internship until they have submitted and had approved the ILA.  All hours at the internship must be completed no later than one week before the last day of class of the semester in which you are registered.

Contact Information

For more information or questions about the Exercise and Wellness Internship Program or course, please send an e-mail to healthpromotioninternships@asu.edu