Internships (Fitness Track Only)

Expected Learning Objectives and Outcomes

An internship is required for ESS-Exercise Science students in the Fitness Track (not required for students in the Pre-professional Track) and is designed to be a culminating experience in which students put into practice what they have learned in fitness-related courses. It is also designed to give students experience in a specific area of interest within the fitness industry. Some of the expected objectives/outcomes from the internship include:

  • Demonstrate the use of health and fitness field and laboratory instruments, techniques, procedures and equipment
  • Demonstrate the ability to administer appropriate test protocols for evaluating the components of health-related fitness (cardiovascular endurance, body composition, muscular strength, muscular endurance, and flexibility)
  • Demonstrate the ability to evaluate and interpret exercise-testing results
  • Demonstrate the ability to develop and implement individualized exercise prescriptions based on participant's personal information, goals, and test results
  • Develop the ability to modify exercise prescription plans and to assist participants with long-term program adherence
  • Demonstrate leadership in aerobic exercise, strength, flexibility, and other areas of fitness
  • Demonstrate personal and professional qualities in teaching life-long fitness activities such as walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, aerobic dance, strength training, stretching, etc.

Need to take a semester or two off prior to starting your internship?

Any interruption in your continuous enrollment at UW-L makes a reentry application necessary - summer and winter intersession are excluded. In order to re-enroll at UW-L after sitting-out for one or more semesters, file the online UW System application - indicating you are a reentry student. This application form is available on the UW-L website's front page. If you are reentering for the spring semester file your application on or after September 1st; if you are reentering for the summer or fall semesters file your reentry application on or after January 1st. There is no danger of being denied reentry when you leave UW-L in good academic standing. Please refer questions about the status of the reentry application to the Office of Records and Registration, 117 Graff Main, (608) 785-8951.

Time Commitment

Students will need to work the equivalent of 40 hours per week for the semester that they intern. Because Fall and Spring semesters are 14 weeks long, students interning during these semesters will need to log at least 560 hours. The summer semester is 12 weeks long so the minimum internship hour requirement is 480. Students may adjust the number of weeks they work by changing the rate at which they accumulate hours. Students are asked to contact the ESS-Exercise Science Program Director immediately if they need an extension to complete their internship hours after the semester has ended.

Seven  Steps to Take

  1. Select a site. Many ESS-Fitness majors find an internship site from a listing of recent sites used by previous students. Others use Internet searches, telephone directories, listings from professional organizations, and other methods for selecting a site.

  2. Obtain approval to work at a selected site from the ESS-Exercise Science Program Director. This approval must be granted prior to registration for the internship.

  3. Register for ESS 450 section 001 for 12 Credit Hours.

    1. Complete and turn in the following three items:
      1. Board of Regents Agreement Form. Choose the appropriate form (typically fixed-term) from this web site:
      2. Internship Position Description
      3. Internship Contract
    2. IMPORTANT: The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse does not officially consider a student properly enrolled as an intern until his or her initial forms (see letter "A" above) are signed and on file with signatures from the proper representatives of all parties involved. You must therefore have all three of these forms completed and on file before you may count any of your internship hours. The contract specifies that the student agrees to perform specific tasks or accomplish goals and the internship site agrees to provide assistance for the student in his/her efforts to reach those tasks/goals. Specific starting and ending dates need to be established and added to the contract. Once the internship begins, interns are required to behave in a manner that reflects unquestionable professionalism. It is anticipated that an intern will follow the charge given them by his/her supervisors. While an intern is expected to perform a variety of functions, he/she is not charged with performing any illegal acts.

    1. Keep a time sheet of hours worked. This time sheet must be signed by the student's supervisor for verification.
    2. Turn-in all four completed Work Progress Report forms (one form for each quarter of the internship).
    3. The supervisor must mail-in two completed Employer’s Evaluation forms (one at the middle and one at the end of the internship).
    4. Keep the ESS-Exercise Science Program Director informed. Let the director know immediately if there are any changes or problems with the internship.

    1. Turn-in a completed Intern Report. There is no format or length requirement for this report but it must include the following:
      1. A cover page with the student's name, the starting and ending dates of the internship, and site information (e.g., site name, supervisor’s name, address, phone and fax numbers, e-mail addresses, web addresses, etc.).
      2. The body of the report should address the following questions:
        1. What specific duties and responsibilities were performed as an intern?
        2. What qualifications does the site require of their interns?
        3. Was the experience relevant and challenging?
        4. How existing skills were used during the internship?
        5. What new skills were acquire during the internship?
        6. What was the housing situation?
        7. Was the internship paid? If so, how much?
        8. Did the internship include fringe benefits (e.g., paid certification fees, free admission to events, clothing, meals, housing, etc.)?
        9. Did the internship experience lead to an employment opportunity?
        10. Should this site be recommend to future UW-L interns?
        11. Other relevant comments about the experience?
      3. Attach additional materials that may be useful to future UW-L students wanting to intern at the site (e.g., business cards, pamphlets, photographs, etc.).

    1. Send all remaining materials, forms, and reports to the program director. All materials must be received on or before the Last Day Of Classes. If materials are late, students may fail or receive an incomplete for the course.
    2. After the internship is completed, students are encouraged to stay in touch with the program director and other professors and instructors at UW-L. These individuals will be very interested in graduate's career and/or continuing education choices.

Return all Materials and/or Address Questions to:

Richard P. Mikat, Ph.D., FACSM
ESS-Exercise Science Program Director
129 Mitchell Hall
University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
La Crosse, WI 54601
Phone: (608) 785-8177
Fax: (608) 785-8172