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Learn about student internship opportunities

Student Internship Program is dedicated to training students in both clinical and community work in a public behavioral health setting. Placement opportunities are available at behavioral health sites which provide diversified options for students of varying interests and competencies. Students have an opportunity to train as a clinician, be part of a clinical treatment team, and/or participate in program development. All placements support the fundamental concepts of the MHSA, enhances professional, clinical and collaboration skills. Graduate level internships are available for students enrolled in MSW or MFT affiliated programs. BASW internship opportunities are also available. All the applicants must be enrolled in BHSD affiliated program. Please contact [email protected] to find out if your program is available.

Student internship compensation

Our student internship program is 9 months long, beginning September through May. The mission of the Seminar Training Program is to provide an enriched clinical training experience focusing on building clinical and cultural competency for students preparing for a career in behavioral health. The program includes experience with clients from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds. We are committed to provide ongoing training clinicians with a foundation based in the concepts of the Mental Health Services Act.

The comprehensive program provides over 100 hours of classroom training spanning 14 weeks each semester. The content of the trainings include fundamentals such as engagement, assessment, treatment planning, documentation and termination, as well as clinical development including psychopharmacology, treatment practices and theoretical orientations, and specialty trainings focusing on the development of cultural competencies with diverse groups in the community.

Group supervision and trainings take place on Thursdays. On occasion, trainings will be scheduled on alternate days or times. Attendance is expected. Weekly individual supervision is provided by the Intern’s Clinical Supervisor at the placement site.​​​​

The Behavioral Health Services Department (BHSD) offers WET (Workforce, Education and Training) stipends for qualified interns and trainees. The WET stipends are funded through the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA), and the objective of the stipends are to provide financial incentives for students to train in public behavioral health. The goal for the BHSD is to increase the number of staff who are trained to work in a recovery oriented behavioral health system, and adequately respond to the service needs of the identified disparities in the current behavioral health system. The behavioral health workforce is in need of bilingual/bicultural and culturally specific—ethnicity, age, LGBTQ—staff to provide culturally competent services to its clients.

The requirement for all stipend recipients is to commit to one year of employment in the public behavioral health field in County of Santa Clara after graduation. This includes both county BHSD and agencies that receive county funds to provide behavioral health services. This excludes any services in correctional facilities. If a student demonstrates due diligence in searching for employment in a public behavioral health entity and is unable to secure employment within the guidelines of the commitment, an appeal process is available.

The training stipends are financial incentives for students to join the public behavioral health workforce after graduation. All interns are encouraged to apply. If awarded, the money is paid out as earned income, and students receive a year-end W2 statement for this income. $14,897.52 per year ($12,960 after Medicare/SS/DI deduction) is the maximum amount available for final year MSW and MFT students, based on a minimum of 720 hours during the internship/traineeship. According to the board rule, MFT students can only get paid "stipend designed to encourage demographically underrepresented groups to enter the MFT profession or improve recruitment and retention in underserved region or settings. These stipends maybe paid to the trainee through a 1099."

Successful applicants for the training stipends must meet criteria 1, 2, 3, and at least one of the other listed criteria below:

  1. Must meet the Internship Eligibility Criteria. Please review those criteria.
  2. Commit to working in a public behavioral health agency in County of Santa Clara for one year after graduation (see description above.)
  3. Be in “good academic standing” and maintain “good academic standing” at the college/university degree program enrolled.
  4. Applicants who are bi-lingual or bi-lingual and bi-cultural and whose cultural background and experience are from one of the threshold languages (Spanish, Vietnamese, Mandarin, Farsi, and Tagalog) or other identified emerging language of clients served by the public mental health system.
  5. Applicants who have experience with diverse backgrounds, but provide no language (foster care, youth, transition aged youth, older adults, developmentally challenged etc…).
  6. Applicants with at least 1-2 years of working or lived personal experience with populations that are considered underserved by our mental health system. Examples of these populations might include LGBTQ+ clients, homeless or physically disabled clients with serious mental illness.
  7. Applicants’ current knowledge or study of unserved and underserved cultural and linguistic populations. If you were previously awarded a training stipend for one full year, you are not eligible for another stipend. Additionally, a student who is receiving another type of stipend from a different funding source is not eligible to receive this WET stipend.

  1. Submit completed internship application form with the required and requested documentation.
  2. Indicate on the application your request for internship training stipend.

Submit entire application to the Student Intern Program Manager.

Only completed applications with the following will be reviewed:

  1. Cover letter
  2. Current resume
  3. Two letters of recommendations (1 academic and 1 non-academic professional who is familiar with your field related work) Due March 14, 2024
  4. Statement of purpose (included in the application packet)
  5. Supplemental questions (included in the application packet)
  6. Fall semester field evaluation (for MSW Students)
  7. Indicate if you are requesting a stipend (Final year Master Students Only)

  • Attend orientation/informational meeting.
  • Review of completed application packet for qualified student intern.
  • Qualified student intern will interview with Student Intern Program Staff.
  • Qualified student intern will interview with potential Clinic Intern Supervisor/Manager of their choice.
  • Placement decisions are made in the spring and notifications will be sent by the intern program.