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Recreation therapy internship program

The Recreation therapy service at VA Palo Alto offers exciting internship opportunities year-round for students nationwide pursuing a degree in recreation therapy.

Interns will be placed in a dynamic internship experience with unique opportunities for personal and professional growth. The VA Palo Alto recreation therapy service employs 70+ staff who bring valuable experience and knowledge to support the internship experience. At the conclusion of the internship, the goal is for students to feel confident and prepared to start their recreation therapy career in a clinical setting.

Internship opportunities vary each semester and are available within many programs, including mental health, polytrauma, rehabilitation, fitness/wellness clinic, and long-term care settings.

Please note: The VA Palo Alto internship positions are full-time, 40 hours per week for 16 weeks.

To qualify for an internship at VA Palo Alto:

  • Verify that there is an affiliation agreement in place with the university. Current affiliation agreements below (subject to change):
    • Grand Valley State University – Grand Rapids, MI
    • California State University Sacramento – Sacramento, CA
    • San Jose State University – San Jose, CA
    • University of North Carolina – Greensboro, NC
    • Radford University - Virginia
    • SUNY Cortland – New York
  • Complete a minimum of 400 practicum/work hours within a therapeutic recreation setting or related area
  • Ensure completion of all required therapeutic recreation coursework outlined by the university.

Please include all of the following documents in your application packet:

  • Cover letter with resume
  • 2 letters of recommendation (one from a professor, one from a professional within the field of recreation therapy)
  • Unofficial current class transcript, or a class guide detailing a completion of all required course work
  • Completed application for RTS internship (download form below)

Email or mail application packets to:

Lindsay Conner, MS, CTRS
VA Palo Alto Health Care System
Recreation Therapy Service (11K)
3801 Miranda Avenue
Palo Alto, CA 94304

Deadline for internship applications:

  • May 1 for a fall internship (Sept. – Dec.)
  • September 1 for a winter/spring internship (Jan. – May)
  • January 1 for a summer internship (May – Sept.)

Procedure for the selection of an intern:

  • Internship coordinator will review all required documents submitted by students as delineated above and coordinate internship interviews if appropriate.
  • Student will complete an interview with potential internship supervisors.
  • The student will be notified and congratulated by the internship supervisor via email and/or telephone. While a student may select our agency for internship, it is not a guarantee of placement until the agency has officially confirmed with the university proper placement.
  • Upon acceptance into this program, the student will need to complete a physical, TB testing, and fingerprinting/background check by our VA or a VA in your area (we will arrange for this). COVID vaccination is required for internship.


  • We require a minimum of 16 weeks for an internship but are happy to meet the university’s standards if they require a longer time frame.
  • Interns are responsible for securing their own housing. We are happy to make suggestions for “safe” areas.
  • Unfortunately, we cannot offer a stipend.