What is gained from doing an internship?

In order to become professionally registered as an HTR with AHTA, a 480-hour internship is required. Hands-on practice in HT is essential for competence in HT. An internship allows you to apply classroom learning to the real world of working with clients with the guidance of an accomplished HTR mentor, whether or not you plan to pursue professional registration. Look for internship information under professional registration at the AHTA web site. http://www.ahta.org/

Where can you intern?

Internships may be done at virtually any organization or site that provides health care or human services, as long as the organization is willing to support your use of HT in the setting. This support is key! The internship can be done in your community, where you currently work, or with an existing HT program. You must have an HTR supervisor, either on-site or via distance.

How do you find an internship?

There are some regularly offered structured internships scattered across the country. An internship of this sort is optimal in that it allows you to become immersed in the workings of an established program, with a professional HTR mentor on site.

If you wish to intern in your own community, you have several options – here listed in order of effectiveness:

  • Find a local HTR-run program that is willing to create an internship.
  • Find a local program that wants or has some sort of HT programming. In this case, you will need an HTR to supervise you via distance, such as:
    • Someone living anywhere in the country, with experience in your area(s) of interest in HT.
    •  A local/regional HTR, who may or may not have experience specific to your interest area.

How do you find a qualified supervisor?

  • AHTA members have access to a listing of registered horticultural therapists (HTR or HTM). They are also working to create a database of those willing to supervise interns.
  • If you are a past or current HTI student, the Institute will respond to individual inquiries, and may be able to provide leads for you to explore. HTI maintains a list of past students who are HTR. [email protected]
  • If you are working with a supervisor at a distance, it is important to have a “go-to” person at the site where you provide HT. This person does not need to be an HT, but should commit to working with you on site-specific matters such as population, process and organizational orientation and issues.

How about pay – for you or your supervisor?

  • AHTA does not specify whether or not you are paid for your internship – it is up to you and your intern site.
  • You may need to “hire” an intern supervisor. This is especially the case when working with a distance supervisor. Costs may include contracted time as well as the supervisor’s travel expenses.

What is the Horticultural Therapy Institute’s role?

The internship supplements and applies the training provided by the Institute. It is not a required part of the HT certificate offered, or part of coursework. Because internships are critical to professional practice and to becoming an HTR, they are included in class discussions.

HTI faculty and staff work with our students to identify potential sites and supervisors. However, the responsibility for finding and completing an internship rests upon the individuals seeking professional registration and/or an internship experience.

When should I do an internship?

Beginning in June 2013, AHTA  requires you to complete six semester credits of HT coursework prior to beginning an internship, or nine semester credits if your supervisor is at a distance. Currently, no guidelines exist for educational prerequisites.

What are the intern requirements?

Internship experiences are outlined by AHTA, and include special projects as well as hours in direct HT services, horticulture, session planning, documentation, etc. http://www.ahta.org/documents/AHTA_GuideForInternships.pdf