Xavier Department of Counseling

Top student questions regarding practicum and internships

When should we start looking for our practicum and internship sites?

Most students begin the process of locating a practicum site during the Pre-practicum/Counseling Lab class (COUN 669). Many sites prefer that students complete practicum and internship at the same site for continuity, so it is important to clarify the requirements of the site prior to starting.

What should I consider when determining the best practicum or internship site for me?

There are several factors to consider when selecting your practicum and internship sites. One of the most fundamental factors is selecting a site that serves the population you have an interest in. It is also important to meet and develop some rapport with your site supervisor prior to starting. You will also want to select a site that is convenient in terms of location and schedule. Finally, be sure to clarify how you will obtain clients and what your expected caseload will be.

Are we required to select a site from the provided list of approved sites, or can we request that a site be added to the list? What is the process for approval?

There is not an official list of "approved" sites. During Pre-Practicum/Counseling Lab, you will be provided with a list of sites that have developed a positive working relationship with the university. However, students may request to complete their internship with any site that has a board-certified supervisor. The requirements for board certification differ for practicum, internship, and different states, so be sure to get approval from the Clinical Coordinator.

What are the options for individuals who need to remain employed during practicum and/or internship?

Many students complete practicum and internship while maintaining their employment. You can discuss the specifics of your situation with the Clinical Coordinator, particularly if you plan to complete your practicum or internship at your worksite.

What are the paperwork requirements, timeframes, or deadlines we should follow for each step in the practicum/internship process?

The Practicum Handbook and the Counseling Internship Handbook contain important information and the necessary forms required to begin and successfully complete practicum and internship. Each handbook will be given to you prior to the start of practicum or internship class.

What expectations should we have of our site? How will our site supervisor and Xavier support us at our site?

The primary responsibility of your site is to provide supervision of the student on site by qualified, competent, and appropriately credentialed personnel. On-site supervisors will monitor documentation of counseling sessions, verify that all documentation has been completed appropriately and in a timely manner and securely stored as the practicum site, and evaluate student performance at mid-term and at the end of practicum. At Xavier, the Clinical Coordinator is available for any assistance you need for practicum and internship, and will make at least one visit to your supervisor at the internship site.

What is the process to apply for Counselor Trainee (CT) status? Where do I go to get my background check and FBI fingerprints completed?

Students may request Counselor Trainee status by completing and submitting the Counselor Trainee Initial Application found on the CSWMFT Board website. Fax, email or mail it to the Board with your proof of enrollment in an internship or practicum. For your initial CT Status you must complete both the BCI and FBI criminal records checks and have the results sent directly to the CSWMFT Board by BCI and the Department of Counseling.(Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation). By law, the Board cannot complete the processing of your application until it receives both the BCI and FBI background checks. Print the BCI and FBI instructions from the BCI website and take the sheet with you to a WebCheck® location. If your criminal records checks have taken longer than 3 weeks to be received by the Board, please check the WebCheck Community Listing. You can also contact BCI at 877-224-0043 between 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., option 7 at the prompt

Approximately how many hours per week are we expected to work at our practicum or internship sites?

The number of hours spent on site typically varies from individual to individual, and from site to site. Typical practicum students work 8 to 16 hours per week at their site. Interns typically work 16 hours or more per week.

Does a supervisor always have to be on site when we are there?

It is not required that the supervisor be on site every minute that you are there. However, we do expect your supervisor to be based at your site and to be substantially present.

What are the total hour requirements for practicum and internship? Define direct hours, indirect hours, group hours, and diagnosis and treatment hours.

The Ohio Counselor and Social Worker Board requires that a minimum of 100 clock hours of supervised clinical counseling experience in an on-site setting be completed as part of the student's practicum and 600 hours for internship. Direct hours are defined as face-to-face counseling activity with an individual or a group. Indirect hours include activity spent in support of the counseling process. This includes writing service plans or progress notes, attending staff and clinical meetings, training, reviews of site policies, treatment files, intervention techniques, etc. Many students are confused by the requirement that 240 of the 600 hours must be in direct service counseling activities with individuals and/or groups, and that 200 of the 600 hours must involve supervised activities in the area of diagnosis and treatment of mental and emotional disorders. Recently, the State of Ohio modified its rule and now requires that 240 hours "shall be in direct services, which include the diagnosis and treatment of mental and emotional disorders and conditions." Our accreditation body, CACREP, also requires 240 hours in direct services. Both requirements are the same.

Practicum and internship students must have supervision with their on-site supervisor that averages one hour per week. Students must also participate in an average of 1½ hours per week of group supervision on a regular schedule throughout the placement. This requirement is met by attending the practicum or internship class.

Is there a time limit to complete the 600 hours for internship? Can the 600 hours be completed through two or more separate agencies/programs?

Yes, the internship must be completed within one year. You will need 4 credit hours and may divide the credits between semesters as you choose. You may also obtain more than one site in order to diversify your experience or increase your ability to accumulate the required hours. However, each site must have a qualified, on-site supervisor willing to supervise and evaluate you. Some supervisors are reluctant to work with interns who are working at more than one site, so be sure to discuss your intentions with your potential supervisors prior to making any commitments.

What is the minimum number of clients I need to be successful in practicum/internship? Is there a maximum?

In general, practicum students are expected to see 4-6 clients per week and to participate in one group per week. Internship students typically carry a caseload of 8-12 clients.

If my internship site would like me to begin prior to the beginning of class, work past the end of the semester, or work in between semesters, what is the process for obtaining permission?

For internship students that are starting at a new site, you may request to begin working no more than 30 days prior to the first day of class. There is a form that you will need to submit to the Clinical Coordinator to obtain permission, and you may request this form at any time. Practicum students may not start work at a site prior to class.

For internship students that have an established caseload, you may request to continue to practice over Spring and Christmas break. Again, you will need to obtain and submit a request form from the Clinical Coordinator. If you are requesting to continue practicing over Christmas break, you will also need to arrange for a supervision session with the Clinical Coordinator during the break. You will be given a few dates and times to choose from.

What is the timeframe and process to register and take the NCE licensure exam?

During your final semester, the Chair of the Department of Counseling will submit a request to the CSWMFT Board for you to receive the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) registration packet for the National Counselor Exam (NCE). The CSWMFT Board will email you the NCE registration packet and you will fill out and return the application, other requested materials, and fee to NBCC.You can find the instructions for the application process on the Ohio CSWMFT Counselors/LPC page.

What paperwork needs to be filed with the CSWMFT board during my internship and upon completion?

Documents required to complete your PC licensure file:

  • Internship Supervisor Evaluation Rating Form
  • NCE Test Results - please fax your exam results to 614-728-7790 (for Board approved examinees). Allow 4-6 weeks to schedule exam.
  • Official Transcript, showing your graduate degree in counseling, conferred and mailed directly from your school.
  • BCI and FBI Criminal Records Check (Watch the Video)
  • PC licensure application, notarized, with fee.
  • Complete the board's online Laws and Rules Exam

What are the requirements for practicum, internship, and licensure in Kentucky or Indiana?

It is often acceptable that students complete their practicum or internship in the neighboring states of Kentucky and Indiana. However, the basic requirements of the Ohio CSWMFT Board must be met in order for the student to graduate from Xavier University. This includes the LPCC-S requirement for internship supervision and the 600/240 hour requirements. In addition, if a student plans to obtain their license in Indiana or Kentucky, the requirements for licensure in those states must also be met. Ohio and Kentucky have a reciprocal licensing agreement that ensures only minimal differences in licensing between states. However, Indiana's internship requirements are significantly different than Ohio and would require an additional 300 hours of internship, among other things. It would be prudent to establish a relationship with the licensing board of the state where you would like to be licensed prior to beginning your practicum or internship.

What steps do I need to take to graduate and in what order should these be completed? What is the timeframe for completing these steps?

Students must apply for graduation through the Xavier University registrar's office during their last semester of school.