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Washington State University


Human Development Field Experiences

All human development majors are required to complete a faculty-approved and mentored field experience for credit prior to graduation. Gaining field experience in a human development-related agency or organization is an exciting opportunity to apply your coursework in a real-world setting. It is also a chance for you to reflect on the profession, determining where your skills, knowledge, and interests fit best. For many human development graduates, the field experience leads to a job offer!

  • 79% of human development alumni get jobs in the field of human develoment after completing their internships. Within a year after their placement:
    • 41% have started jobs in the same agency where they did their placement
    • 38% have a job in a different agency, but still in the field of human development
    • 11% have gone on to graduate school
    • 6% have jobs in a field other than human development

There are three major routes to this field experience depending on your specialization. Each route requires specific preparation and course work. These options are described in more details below.

Three Routes to Your Field Experience

Preparing for Your Field Experience

Prior to the early childhood practicum (HD 446) or the internship (HD 498), students must complete HD 497 (Pullman/Global Campus students) or HD 496 (Vancouver students), the Professional Preparation for Human Services course. During this course students work closely with human development faculty to prepare for employment as human service professionals while planning and securing their field experience placements. The course is structured around the Career Development Process Model.

Career Process Development Model

Field Experience Placements

Field experience placements are with private agencies or organizations, or government agencies. A few representative sites include:

  • Washington Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS)/Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS)
  • Head Start Family Services
  • YMCA Before and After School Programs
  • Adolescent Residential Treatment Centers
  • Day Treatment Programs for Children and Youth with Cognitive and Behavioral Disabilities
  • Community Action Centers, Housing or Family Support/Parenting Departments
  • Councils on Aging

Learn more about field placement opportunities:

Here’s what students and graduates are saying about their field experiences…

“Overall, I love my job as a Behavior Specialist at Ryther, and I am beyond glad that I followed the course that I did at WSU. It allowed me to choose a human development internship that doubled as fantastic psychology and counseling experience. It also allowed me to explore this population of social services clients, and helped me to be certain that this is the demographic I want to continue working with throughout my professional career. It also provided me with a job right out of college!”


Kidst Tasisa (HD intern) Atlantic Street Center Seattle 2015