Student Information: Psychology Predoctoral Internship Program
The Federal Bureau of Prisons has been training doctoral-level psychologists for more than 40 years. Each of our Psychology Predoctoral Internship Programs continues this commitment to training by providing clinical and counseling graduate students with a well-rounded, high-quality training experience. We seek the clinical or counseling psychology student whose personal career goals and objectives can be strengthened, reinforced, and expedited by the training experiences we provide. Namely, our training models seek to facilitate the growth of those who wish to become well trained generalists who can also function competently in a correctional environment. While individual training sites employ different training techniques and models to achieve this objective, all training sites have several common features.
Interns receive graduated exposure to the clinician role, practicing with greater independence as their skills increase, always with supervisors available for consultation. Training includes both individualized and group supervision; assignment of challenging, culturally diverse therapeutic cases; and a sequence of didactic seminars designed to increase each intern's general knowledge, as well as his/her understanding of the unique issues involved in the practice of psychology in a correctional setting. Practice in psychological assessment and opportunities to engage in research or other scholarly activities are also included during the internship year.
In addition, individual training sites may also provide interns with additional training opportunities unique to that site. For example, some sites offer experience in such areas as forensic assessment, substance abuse treatment, or behavioral medicine. Other sites may expose interns to unique treatment populations, such as geriatric, female, HIV+, or violent offenders.
For several decades, the Bureau has relied upon the internship program to provide the agency with uniquely qualified entry-level psychologists. Interns who have proven themselves to be competent clinicians and who are comfortable working within the correctional setting are often recruited by the Bureau at the end of their internship year. To be eligible for an entry-level psychology position with the Bureau, interns must have completed all doctoral degree requirements, be U.S. citizens and not have reached their 37th birthday (in accordance with Public Law 100-238) at the time of initial appointment (age waivers may be granted up to the age of 40).
Intern selection at each training site is based largely on breadth and quality of clinical experience, demonstrated academic achievement, consistency of interests with the training goals of the program, personal integrity, and maturity. Selections and the offer of positions at each site are made in strict accordance with the policies of the Association of Postdoctoral and Psychology Internship Center's (APPIC) Internship Matching Program. For a detailed description of these policies and procedures, refer to APPIC's website. These internship sites agree to abide by the APPIC policy that no person at these training facilities will solicit, accept, or use any ranking-related information from any intern applicant.
Applicants for Bureau internship positions should also be aware that they are applying for a position in a Federal law enforcement agency. Therefore, selection entails not only demonstration of exceptional qualifications as a "psychologist in training," but also suitability for work in a position of public trust. In general, Bureau employees, including psychology interns, are held to a high standard of personal conduct and responsibility and are expected to be law-abiding citizens who can serve as strong role models for the inmate population. During the selection process, applicants must satisfactorily pass a security clearance procedure that includes an interview, a background investigation, and a drug test. If you are applying to more than one internship site, you may only have to complete this process once. Results of the security clearance procedures can be shared with other Bureau sites for your convenience.
Individuals interested in a psychology internship position at any of the Bureau's training sites should complete each of the following steps:
1. Complete and upload the AAPI Online application for Psychology Internship available on the
2. Upload one work sample. This should be an assessment report on an adult client that addresses, at a minimum, background information, current behavioral observations, results of a battery of psychological tests, and formulation of the case. Choose this case carefully and take appropriate steps to protect the anonymity of the subject. Some training sites may require more than one work sample.
Each Bureau training site considers and ranks application materials separately. Therefore, all application materials should be uploaded for each site in which you are interested by their deadline. Applicants are encouraged to submit materials as early as possible. Late applications will not be considered. A limited number of applicants will be invited for interviews, which are generally conducted in December and January. All candidates (those being asked to interview and those not under serious consideration) will be notified of their status by December 15.
Candidates invited for an interview with training site psychology staff will also be required to participate in a standard law enforcement pre-employment screening procedure. As noted, this process may only need to be completed once as results can be shared with other Bureau internship sites for your convenience. To facilitate this process, personnel staff may be in contact with applicants prior to the interview to gather specific information needed to complete criminal record and credit checks. Onsite personnel procedures include an integrity interview addressing issues of personal conduct and a panel interview in which you will be asked to respond to a number of scenarios that could arise in a correctional facility. These procedures are used to determine your qualifications for a position of public trust and are required of all applicants seeking employment with the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
If you have any questions as to whether you would qualify for a law enforcement position, you should seek further information from Bureau personnel specialists at any of the sites of interest to you, to determine the advisability of continuing with the application process. Psychology staff are not able to advise you on these matters.
Any questions you may have should be resolved prior to submitting your list for matching. Offers of internship positions resulting from the computer match are strictly contingent upon satisfactory completion of the background investigation process. For individuals selected through the matching process, a field investigation will follow to verify that the information provided in interviews and on required forms is accurate. Failure to complete this process or a finding that an applicant is outside the guidelines for employment in a sensitive position would preclude participation in the program. Once hired, interns must comply with the Bureau's Program Statement on Standards of Employee Conduct and Responsibility.
The foregoing is not intended to discourage applications, but to ensure that applicants are aware of the additional law enforcement requirements that will be imposed on them should they wish to pursue a Bureau of Prisons Internship position.
The Bureau of Prisons has 13 Predoctoral Psychology Internship Training sites and 10 of these are accredited by the American Psychological Association Commission on Accreditation, 750 First Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002, Phone Number: 202-336-5979.