I'm a student at the University of South Carolina majoring in Psychology with a minor in Criminal Justice. I'm hoping to be a probation officer after graduation.
I started off at a technical college and so I'm told I'm considered a "sophomore and-a-half" and will officially be a Junior after Fall 2011. However, I won't graduate until Spring of 2014 because of the classes I need to take. If I can get class credit through an internship or if I attend classes during the Summer of 2013, I may graduate in December of 2013. Therefore, Summer of 2012 may be my only Summer off. Therefore, I was thinking about an internship.
I'd like to be a juvenile probation officer, so I'm currently looking into an internship with our Department of Juvenile Justice. They also offer volunteer opportunities.
QUESTION 1: Realistically, how important is an internship? I think DJJ only offers unpaid internships but they do course credit. I'm not sure how that works at my university yet, but I'm interested either way. I know it's good experience, but can it REALLY be the difference between having a job before graduation and being unemployed for 6 months before finding something?
QUESTION 2: Is one internship enough? I'm hoping to be able to get some volunteer hours in with them as well, but I'm not really sure what else I can do. Finding relevant work experience around my school schedule has proven to be impossible, so that's not an option unfortunately. What else can I do?
QUESTION 3: I'm sure it varies greatly, but how do internships normally work? I figure I'll be there full time or close to it, but when do the summer internships normally start and end? I'm getting married the first weekend in May, so I'm really hoping I can start after our short honeymoon.