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APTA's internships, located onsite at APTA's headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia, are designed to give Physical Therapy students and graduates experience with their professional association and are intended to benefit the intern as well as APTA.   

View available internship opportunities at APTA.

APTA Internship Guidelines, Process and Protocols

Organizational Procedures

The following criteria or requirements are necessary under these procedures.

  • Requirement 1: All internships are required to be held by students in an accredited physical therapy or physical therapy assistant program.
  • Requirement 2: Each internship may have different criteria for applying, including graduate status.
  • Requirement 3: Interns will undertake a special assignment related to their area of interest and the association’s current issues and activities.

APTA’s Responsibilities

An internship assignment at APTA is intended to be meaningful for both the intern and the association. Ideally, assignments enable the intern to participate in a representative variety of duties. Assigned activities must be relevant to the goals and objectives of the hosting department. Interaction with as many full-time APTA employees as possible helps provide continual, productive feedback throughout the assignment. Internships are not intended to be administrative and must remain relevant to the scope of work. 


The framework of the internship experience should include, but not be limited to:

  • A scope of work established and shared with the intern on their first day to include objectives, expectations, and milestones, if applicable.
  • Weekly meetings with other staff stakeholders/units/departments.
  • Roundtables or meetings with staff leadership.
  • Visits to Capitol Hill and/or other partner organizations if applicable to the scope of work.

When developing a scope of work, the supervisor should consider: 

  • How APTA will make the time spent by the intern meaningful.
  • How the intern’s work will be monitored (e.g., weekly check-ins).
  • How the supervisor will evaluate the intern’s experience.
  • If there is a project with a deliverable, how the outcome will be produced and distributed or presented.
  • Whether the intern may keep a copy of the completed project to use as a work sample.

Qualifying Programs

Internships may be arranged for assignments in any of APTA’s operating units including with the Foundation for Physical Therapy Research and the Physical Therapy Fund.

Current established internships include:

  • Charles Harker Memorial Fund Internship.
  • University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, School of Health Sciences & Wellness.
  • Foundation for Physical Therapy Research:
  • Communications Internship.
  • Marquette Summer Internship.


Interns will work onsite at APTA’s headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia. Students looking for college credit for their internship must contact their college program for details. APTA will work with the intern’s university to ensure full credit is received for their time and work at APTA.


The length and scheduling of the internship must be agreed to in advance by the intern and the hosting department’s senior management, and in coordination with Human Resource. However, no internships is to exceed three months. Interns are expected to provide their own housing, transportation, and personal expenses. APTA may agree to subsidize public transportation in the same amount as for APTA employees.

Classification of an Intern as Unpaid or Paid

Unpaid interns agree to do certain tasks without pay in order to reap nonmonetary benefits, such as academic credit, training, or important real-world knowledge they can apply to their careers.

When the internship counts as academic credit toward graduation, the intern may not be eligible to receive compensation, and the internship must be arranged in advance as unpaid. There must be a clear connection between the intern’s education program and job responsibilities. The supervisor will be responsible for completing any paperwork required by the intern’s academic institution to document that the academic credit requirements were met.

Paid interns are not in a separate employment category from staff, nor are they governed by different federal laws. Paid interns are entitled to the minimum wage and subject to overtime pay rules for employees as set out in the FLSA, among other protections. 

If an internship is paid, then the intern is considered nonexempt, hourly, for the purposes of pay and is not eligible for benefits. HR will set the pay rate, which will comply with minimum wage laws.

If an internship is shorter than three weeks, the intern may not be eligible to receive compensation, including any public transportation subsidy.


Paid interns are paid through APTA’s payroll system. Compensation is minus any applicable tax withholding or other required deductions. 


All internships must be approved by the APTA executive team and then coordinated through HR. Internships will be advertised and posted along with other open job listings at APTA. Candidates will go through a modified interview process. In some cases, specifically identified programs will select their own candidates to participate.

Offer and Onboarding

Interns will be sent an official offer letter from APTA mirroring a regular employment offer letter. Following acceptance of the offer, HR will initiate the standard background check. Interns will participate in official onboarding, which will be abbreviated based on benefits eligibility.

Conclusion of Internship and Offboarding

At the conclusion of the program, interns will meet with HR to engage in a discussion of their experience to include topics such as whether the experience met the expectations that were laid out at the outset and why or why not; what the biggest surprise was that the intern experienced or learned in their engagement with APTA and the association; what provided the biggest impact; what recommendations they have for improvements; and what things should APTA continue to incorporate into an internship experience. 

Requests for One-Time Internships

APTA will consider hosting one-time internship requests dependent upon the nature of the internship, the capacity of APTA staff to provide a quality experience for the student, and the internship’s meaningfulness to the organization. Requests must match the requirements set forth in this document. Requests that overlap or conflict with established internships may be declined or be redesigned to accommodate the organization’s capacity.