Educational leadership programs prepare students for working as principals, school superintendents and in other leadership positions. Many of these programs require that students do some type of internship. When you enroll in an online program, you might think that you can skip this requirement, but it is a necessary step because it gives you the practical experience that employers look for when hiring new workers. You typically have a few options as to how you can do your internship, though most students will do work in their own cities or regions.

DIY Route

The DIY route is the do-it-yourself route where you track down an internship on your own. Many online colleges will let you decide where you want to do your internship. You will apply for and obtain an internship on your own. You’ll then create a document that lists some of the duties of the position and the things that you will do on the job. The college must approve the experience before you can begin and get any credit. You will usually need to keep track of the hours you worked and have someone in the school sign off on your hours each week.

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Getting College Help

Trying to find an educational leadership internship on your own is difficult, especially if your undergraduate degree was in a field other than education. This can limit the professional connections you have and make it hard to locate a school willing to take a chance on you. Online colleges can generally work with you to find an internship in your area. The school may use its alumni network to find graduates working in local school districts, or it may contact public and private schools to find those who need help.

Virtual Internships

If you live in a rural community or a small town, you may have a hard time tracking down internship opportunities, but virtual internships are open to students of all majors and ages. According to The New York Times, there are more than 8,000 virtual positions listed online every year. Instead of driving to a local school to work every week, you’ll log into a school’s website and do your work online. You can work from home, the public library or anywhere else you have an Internet connection.

Working for Your School

Many educational leadership online degree programs are only open to those who already have a bachelor’s degree in education and one or more years of experience in the field. If you have your teaching license and currently work as a teacher, you can contact your online college and ask about using your practical experience in lieu of doing an internship. Some colleges will view your work experience as proof that you have the same skills you would develop in an internship. Other colleges may ask that you take on leadership roles within your school to earn your internship credit. Some examples of leadership roles include becoming the adviser of a student activity or leading classes on field trips.

Internships are mandatory in many education programs because these programs want students to gain practical experience before they graduate. Though you may assume that your online college will not require you to do an educational leadership internship, many require the completion of an internship and will help students find those opportunities.

Related Resources:
Top 15 Best and Most Affordable Graduate Educational Leadership Programs
15 Most Affordable Online Master’s in Educational Leadership Degree Programs