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Recreation therapy internship program

VA Palo Alto's recreation therapy service provides exciting internship opportunities throughout the year for students across the country who are pursuing a degree in recreation therapy.

We offer interns unique opportunities to gain both personal and professional growth in a dynamic environment. VA Palo Alto recreation therapy service has more than 70 staff members with valuable experience who can help guide the interns during the internship. At the conclusion of the program, the goal is for interns to feel confident and prepared to start their career in recreation therapy 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 internships at VA Palo Alto are full-time jobs with 40 hours of work each week for 16 weeks.

To qualify for an internship at VA Palo Alto:

  • Verify your university has an affiliation agreement in place with 'VA Palo Alto Health Care System - Recreation Therapy'. Current active affiliation agreements include (subject to change):
    • California State University, East Bay
    • California State University, Sacramento
    • San Jose State University
    • SUNY Cortland – New York
    • Temple University – Philadelphia, PA
    • University of North Carolina – Greensboro, NC
    • University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
  • Complete at least 400 practicum/work hours in a therapeutic recreation setting or a related area
  • Make sure you complete all the therapeutic recreation coursework outlined by the university

Please make sure that all of the following documents are included in your application packet:

  • Cover letter with resume
  • Two letters of recommendation. One should be from a professor and one should be from someone who works professionally in the field of recreation therapy.
  • Unofficial current class transcript, or a class guide detailing completion of all required coursework
  • Completed application for RTS internship (download form below)

Email or mail application packet 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:

  • June 1 for a fall internship (September – December)
  • October 1 for a winter/spring internship (January – May)
  • February 1 for a summer internship (May – September)

Procedure for the selection of an intern:

  • The internship coordinator will review all the necessary paperwork submitted by students as listed above, and arrange internship interviews if appropriate.
  • The student will complete an interview with potential internship supervisors.
  • If a student is accepted for an internship with VA Palo Alto, the internship coordinator will contact them via email or phone to notify and congratulate them. The internship is only confirmed when the university has officially accepted them for placement with our agency.
  • Once accepted into the program, the student will need to arrange for a physical exam, TB testing, and fingerprinting / background check by VA Palo Alto or a VA in their area (we will arrange for this).


  • We require that interns work for a minimum of 16 weeks, but if the university has its own requirements for the length of an internship, we are willing to meet them.
  • Interns are responsible for finding a place to stay. We can offer recommendations for housing in "safe" neighborhoods or areas.
  • Unfortunately, we cannot offer a stipend.