Finding Internships, Externships, and Clinical Fellowships

Ready to take the next step in your career? Whether you want to gain experience or complete your externship or clinical fellowship (CF) requirement, it’s essential to have a plan.

What Kind of Opportunity Do You Want?

Knowing what you want will help you focus your search and quickly communicate what you’re looking for to people who could help. Answer the following questions:

  • What patient or client populations do you want to serve? 
  • In what setting do you want to work? 
  • What are your short- and long-term goals?
  • In what kind of work environments do you thrive? 
  • Where do you want to work geographically?
  • Are you willing to travel for the right opportunity?

 Use these answers to plan your search. 

Consider Your Timing

Job searching can take longer than you think. You may need to apply to multiple positions to find the right one. It’s essential to consider when the best time is to apply:

  • Internships – Not all organizations offer internships. If they do, many organizations list information about internships on their website or only provide them by request. Make sure to start looking at least 3-5 months before you’d like your internship to start.
  • Fourth-year externships – The best time to apply is between July and October, the year before you want to start your externship. Most interviews occur between August and November.
  • Medical clinical fellowships – The best time to apply is between October and February. Many universities and hospitals have a defined period when they accept applications. Make sure to go to the website of your favorites to see when they take applications.
  • School-based clinical fellowships – School-based job posting volumes are the highest on the ASHA Career Portal between February and May.

Know Where to Look

You can cut down the time to find available opportunities by targeting your search:

  • Check out sites like the ASHA Career Portal, LinkedIn, HearCareers, or state association job boards to see what kind of positions are available.
  • Set job alerts on websites so you’re notified when positions that fit your criteria are posted.
  • Talk to your university’s career services office to see if they have a list of internships, externships, or clinical fellowship opportunities.

If you’re not seeing a perfect opportunity, use these sources to identify organizations you’d be interested in and check out their websites. Then, see if you or someone in your network knows someone there.

Engage Your Network

Reach out to your personal and professional connections to help you find opportunities. Many opportunities never get posted because of the hidden job market.

  • Make a list of colleagues, mentors, and professors you turn to for career advice.
  • Use your social media to highlight your professional brand and draw people to you.
  • See who in your network works in the setting or geographic area where you want to work.
  • Get networking recommendations from colleagues, professors, and your university’s career services office.

Then, schedule time with contacts to talk about your goals:

  • If you know them well, reach out and talk to them about what positions you want.
  • If they’re someone you don’t know, or it’s been a while since you talked, ask them if they are willing to chat over lunch or coffee (in-person or virtually).

You can sometimes get on someone’s calendar for a phone call faster than a virtual or in-person meeting. However, if they decline or don’t respond, don’t be discouraged. Just go to the next person on your outreach list.

Always, remember to thank people who help you along the way and keep them updated on your progress so that they can cheer you on and sponsor you along your journey.

Example of an Email Inviting Someone to Chat

Subject: Time to chat? 


I am looking for a clinical fellowship/internship/externship opportunity in XXX setting or with XXX organization. I know that you have worked in this setting/at this organization, and I would love to chat with you about your experiences. Would you be interested in connecting for 30-minutes in the next few weeks (in-person, Zoom, phone, etc)? If so, let me know what times work for you. 


Network Whenever Possible

Networking is one of the best ways to gain a competitive advantage when looking for opportunities. Here are some great networking opportunities:

Taking your next professional step is an exciting time! Be sure to plan and engage others for help. Visit the ASHA Career Portal for more tips to help you get the job.

Clinical Fellowships and Externships: Put Your Best Foot Forward (Virtual Event)

On Wednesday, January 26, join National NSSLHA and a panel of experts (including myself) who will share their knowledge on the clinical fellowship and externship hiring process. During this session, you’ll learn more strategies to:

  • research CFs and externships,
  • highlight accomplishments on your resume or CF, and
  • stand out during interviews.

Visit the National NSSLHA website for more details and to register.

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