An internship is a period of training in which a student engaged in vocational and/or academic instruction may obtain on-the-job experience related to the student’s program of study in his or her anticipated career field. Licensed private career schools frequently have internships, where students observe and demonstrate in a practical setting the skills they have learned in the classroom, approved as part of the schools’ curricula.
Education Law § 5002 provides as follows:
§ 5002(4)b. In approving curriculum, the commissioner shall take into consideration the following:
§ 5002(4)(b)(2) that the content will enable the student to develop those skills and competencies required for employment in the occupational area for which the curriculum was developed;
§ 5002(4)(b)(3) that the school will utilize appropriate instructional methods;
For certain curricula, “appropriate instructional methods” include those noted in Part 126.1 of the Commissioner’s Regulations:
§ 126.1(n) Practical experience means full-time work experience, or its part time equivalent, that is acceptable to the Commissioner using skills included in the occupation for which the program is designed and approved.
As part of its statutory duties during the curriculum review process, the Bureau of Proprietary School Supervision (BPSS) also reviews the appropriateness of the internship site selected for the student’s practical experience. Previously, internships were required to be physically located in New York, unless permission were obtained, student by student, to do an internship outside the state. However, recognizing that obtaining the practical experience that an intership affords may be optimal for the student in other jurisdictions, BPSS will approve internship sites located outside of New York provided that the following requirements are satisfied:
- The school must consult with its BPSS field associate (or the BPSS licensing reviewer for schools not yet licensed) before initiating agreements with internship sites;
- The school must maintain a signed affiliation agreement, at the school’s physical location, for each internship site, and provide a copy of the agreement to BPSS upon request;
- Attendance must be taken regularly by or at the internship site and reported to the school on a regular basis. The school should be notified promptly if the student is absent for more than three consecutive days;
- The school must complete an Internship Skills Checklist for each student, to be used by the internship site, when evaluating student skills. This form must also be used by the internship site to verify the student’s ability to demonstrate required skills. Once complete, this form must become part of the student’s attendance register under the Commissioner’s regulations at 8 NYCRR 126.11(a)(4);
- The school must maintain a skills attestation for each internship supervisor and for each internship site at the school location which identifies the skills demonstrated by the student during the internship. Once complete, this form must similarly become a part of the student’s attendance register;
- The school must maintain a copy of its operating license, and of the most recent public health report for each internship site, as required, e.g., food service sites for culinary programs;
- The school must schedule communications with each of its students at an internship site after each internship week, or more frequently if the internship comprises less than four weeks, and must document these communications;
- The school must develop a monitoring plan for the internship site, including how to resolve student complaints at a distance, to be approved by a BPSS field associate as consistent with the approved curriculum;
- The school must ensure that its students read and agree to an amendment to the enrollment agreement, to be approved by a BPSS field associate, which covers any special circumstances at the internship site. If the site is located outside of New York, then the student must affirm that he or she chose to use an out-of-state site, and was not asked by the school to do so;
- The school must provide BPSS with a signed letter from the school director providing the beginning date of the affiliation agreement with each site;
- Approval by BPSS is limited to its matters within the scope of its authority. Schools must review with other competent authorities the impact of internship sites on student financial aid. The use of internship sites by a school may not adversely affect student financial aid, or student visas for foreign students;
- The school must describe the procedure for awarding the student his/her diploma at the end of the internship, if the student will not be on campus for graduation.
Review and Oversight
Each of these items are subject to review by BPSS staff during planned and unplanned site visits to the school. Failure to have on hand any documentation or to have followed the procedures outlined above, may result in BPSS determining that the school did not offer the curriculum as approved, as described in Policy Guideline 15-0301.
BPSS may rescind approval of a school’s internship sites if, upon investigation, the school is found to be out of compliance with this guideline.
Any complaint or investigation related to an internship site will primarily focus upon the completion of all site review and documentation requirements. An on-site investigation may not be possible if the internship site is out of state.
Curriculum the content of which is governed by certification or licensing regulations of the New York Department of State or New York State Department of Health may not include out-of-state internships. These include, but are not limited to, allied health internship sites when they are part of a curriculum leading to a NYS license, such as Home Health Aide or Nurse Aide.