Field Experience

Each of the standalone HDFS undergraduate options (Adult Development & Aging, Child & Adolescent Development, or Family Science) includes a field experience component. All students are given the opportunity to work in a professional placement during their undergraduate program. This requirement enables students to apply their course work to a professional position as they prepare to move into important careers with children and families.

Candace VanSickle      
Pre-Field Experience

Students are required to enroll in HDFS 389: Pre-field Experience (2 credits) before they can enroll in HDFS 496: Field Experience. Thus, as you are thinking ahead to planning when you want to have your field experience, keep in mind you need to take HDFS 389 the semester prior to field experience. (Note: HDFS 389 has a prerequisite of 6 credits of HDFS 300-400 level courses and is restricted to HDFS Majors/Minors).

During HDFS 389: Pre-field Experience you will do the following:

  • Engage in career exploration
    • Learn about various career options in HDFS
    • Explore personal career interests
    • Plan for your career launching process
  • Prepare for field experience
    • Undertake the process of identifying and applying to a field experience site.
    • Begin the process of setting goals and preparing for your field experience  
Things to keep in mind:
    • Applications will be completed in HDFS 389 and must be complete the semester prior to field experience placements.
    • Once the application has been completed in HDFS 389, you will set up a meeting with the field experience coordinator prior to placement to discuss career goals and the best option for your field experience placement.  To set-up your field experience prior to placement please contact Candace.
    • Background checks must be completed prior to placement. Your field experience coordinator will provide further information on this requirement.
    • Students enroll in credits of HDFS 496: Field Experience during the semester you are in your placement.  You will need permission from the Field experience coordinator to register for HDFS 496.
Field Experience Site Options

Below is a list of sites that we currently use for field experience. This list is not exhaustive, but you can get an idea of existing sites that you may be interested in applying to for your field experience. Additionally, field experience can be done anywhere in the world; however, we place more responsibility on you to research field experience sites outside the Fargo-Moorhead area. Field experience coordinators will assist you and must approve your site.

Site: 4-H of Wilkin County, Breckenridge, MN

Wilkin County 4-H is looking for our next summer intern.  this opportunity is open to Extension Education students, and any others who may be interested. The online application process, job description, and list of locations is available at  Positions will remain open until filled, with preference given to candidates who apply by December 20. 

The Wilkin County position will be 40 hours a week, for 12 weeks. Start and end dates are flexible. Our summer 2023 wage is $15 per hour. The office is located in Breckenridge, MN. This is a 50-minute drive from Fargo. This position can count toward school credit if needed, but it's not required that the student use the internship for school credit.

Previous summer interns in Wilkin County have led summer day camps for Cloverbuds, project workshops for 4-H youth in grades 3+, and worked with the summer library program and Breckenridge Elementary Schools summer school programs. Summer interns will also lead and assist with 4-H activities and events during our county fair.

Site: AARP North Dakota

Address: Bismarck

Field experience placement is in Bismarck. The intern will attend legislative hearings; gather information on selected legislation, and other issues of AARP.

Site: Alzheimer's Association

Responsibilities: Co-facilitate a monthly early onset support group, visit other programs, write press releases and newsletter articles, answer Help Line and make follow up calls.

Site: American Diabetes Association

The mission of the American Diabetes Association is to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. The position provides administrative support to the associate director and associate manager for special events and program activities. 

Site: American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is to build healthier lives free from heart disease and stroke. The field experience position will assist the Corporate Events Director in Fargo with planning, coordination, solicitation for special events and other duties as assigned. Hours are flexible; must be highly organized and willing to work with little supervision. 

Site: Back Pack Program - Great Plains Food Bank

Children in the Fargo, Moorhead, and West Fargo school districts qualify for and are given backpacks with child-friendly, nonperishable, easily consumed food to take home before the weekend or holiday vacation. This placement would assist with different opportunities to meet the mission such as filling backpacks, research, and assorted office duties.

Site: Bethany Retirement Living (2 locations) South University and 42nd

Students work with the Community Life Directors connecting with residents through activities, assessments, audits, care reviews and planning events.

Site: Better Business Bureau of MN and ND (Education-Outreach)

Assist with the strategy, planning and execution of BBB Networking, Orientation and Focus Luncheon events as well as other community events; formulate professional and accurate responses to businesses and consumers; be responsible for maintaining and distributing educational and marketing materials to businesses and consumers. 

Site: Big Brother / Big Sister Program

Responsibilities: Calls to match participants (parent, child and volunteer), supervision calls, assist in contacting matches for response to annual review questionnaires, responsible for case closure questions and final match evaluation for case file on matches that are closed, assist Case Managers with volunteer and client orientations, interviews, and EMPOWER groups, assist with group activities and program fundraiser's, receive inquiry calls, assist with miscellaneous program projects.

Site: Boys and Girls Club of the Red River Valley

Assist Program Director in management of after-school program centers. Student will learn about licensing standards and regulations, as well as government regulations, assist with annual relicensing of centers, utilize observational tools for program development, help plan and organize events, assist in training new staff and volunteers, and help keep tracking systems up-to-date. 

Site: Cass County Extension Service

Position: Extension Agent
Location: Cass County Extension
Fargo ND
Description of duties to include but not limited to:
Work with Extension Agents with various program emphasis
o Parent Resources
o Food and Nutrition including Family Nutrition Program and Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program
o 4-H Youth
- Assist in conducting educational programs to various audiences
- Answer consumer questions
- Media work - news articles
This position will work with all disciplines with a wide variety of experiences.

Site: Cass County Historical Society - Bonanzaville

Bonanzaville helps build local community and strengthen individuals through the medium of local heritage. Participants help create, implement, maintain, and expand activities, events, and programming for children and families, teens, and/or older adults. The specific assignments will be tailored to meet both Bonanzaville’s and each individual student’s needs.   

Site: Center for Child Development - NDSU child care center

Responsibilities: The Center for Child Development is an accredited early childhood program serving children 6 weeks - 5 years of age. Hours of operation are 7:30 - 5:30 p.m. (M-F). August May. Students will plan, implement and evaluate developmentally appropriate activities for children. Set-up and maintain a developmentally appropriate environment that ensures children's safety and hands-on experience. Implement developmentally appropriate guidance techniques based upon individual needs of children and the group. Implement room management skills through head or team teaching weeks. Based upon your observation and/or assessment of a child, write a child case study and conduct or sit-in on a minimum of one (1) parent conference. Develop parent partnerships through open communication, home visits, and attending parent involvement opportunities.

Site: Center for Child Development - Director or Manager

Responsibilities: Review and help maintain licensing standards. Help maintain The Center Accreditation through the National Academy of Early childhood programs by reviewing criteria and observing classrooms. Develop parent partnerships through open communication, home visits, and attending parent involvement opportunities. Help maintain an up-to-date waiting list. Solving problems using a team approach and good communication skills. Help maintain an attractive, clean and safe environment for children, families and staff. Help maintain required paperwork on children, families and staff. Assist in writing monthly newsletter. Support Center staff in the day to day operation of the Center.

Site: Child Care Aware

Primary organization that works with all parts of the child care delivery system – families, child care providers, educators, employers and policymakers.  Intern activities may include entering current date into databases, reviewing, maintain and creating current early childhood resources, planning and staffing special events and promotion of CCA on social media.

Site: Children's Miracle Network - Sanford Health Foundation

Assist Children's Miracle Network Coordinator with planning, organizing and implementing annual giving programs for Sanford Children's Hospital through the Children's Miracle Network.

Site: Church Youth Groups

(To be discussed with Field Experience Coordinator)

Site: Clay County Extension - 4-H Afterschool

Responsibilities: Plan and coordinate activities (including field trips, hands-on activities) for 4-H Clubs that are scheduled after school in several Moorhead elementary schools. Serve as mentor/role model for children kindergarten through 6th grade.

The program is 2 hours once a week. However, prep time is extra.

A year-long commitment is encouraged; but semester will be accepted. Summer placements are available in other areas.

Site: Clay County Extension Parents Forever

Responsibilities: Assist coordinator with divorced parenting class/children of divorce.

Site: Community Living Services, Inc.

Partnership Program other programs available: Respite Care and Family Support Services for Physically Disabled Children

Responsibilities: This program is designed to support and assist children by providing role modeling, behavior management assistance and/or supervision within the home and community, observation of children, supportive activities within the home and community, and assistance with transportation. This project serves children and adolescence with emotional/behavior disorders.

Site: Community of Cares

This nonprofit organization is to "assure that older persons and others in need in rural Cass County have access to health, human, and spiritual services essential to the maintenance of their wellbeing". Located in Casselton, ND (travel to Casselton not always necessary), duties include assisting with volunteer program, fundraising, community education and health promotion, grant writing and marketing.

Site: Creative Care for Reaching Independence (CCRI)

CCRI  is a non-profit organization whose mission is to enhance and enrich the lives and learning of people with disabilities.  CCRI’s Residential Coordinator internship provides insight into case management, patient/client programming, successful leadership styles, fiscal management and business operations.  Primarily weekdays, some evenings and flexible availability some weekends.

Site: Early Childhood Family Education

Responsibilities: Hands-on experience with a diverse group of learners, parent educators and child development, early intervention, office and administrative duties morning hours required. Child Development Option Only.

Site: English Language Learner Program K-12 or Adult - Fargo Public Schools

Responsibilities: Assist teacher with classroom assignments designed to assist in learning English as a second language.

Site: Eventide Fargo Nursing Home

Under the direction of the Activity Director and  Activity Coordinator, the student will assist in planning, coordinating and implementing a therapeutic activity program on a daily basis to meet the individual residents’ needs and interests.  Including case management for elderly residents, assessments, care planning,  attending care conferences, assisting with organizing and conducting meetings and events with staff, residents, volunteers and the public.

Site: Fargo Head Start - (several locations)

Responsibilities: Head Start is a Federal program for preschool aged children (3-5) and their families from low-income households. Children who attend Head Start participate in a variety of educational activities. Parent involvement is one of the requirements of Head Start. Families receive free medical and dental care, have healthy meals and snacks and enjoy playing indoors and outdoors in a safe setting. Plan, implement and evaluate developmentally appropriate activities for children. Set-up and maintain a developmentally appropriate environment that ensures children's safety and hands-on experience. Implement room management skills through head or team teaching weeks. Based upon your observation and/or assessment of a child, write a child case study and conduct or sit-in on a minimum of one (1) parent conference. Develop a parent bulletin board or write/contribute to the Parent Newsletter. Organize and implement one field trip for the children, if developmentally appropriate for ages of children served. Develop parent partnerships through open communication, home visits, and attending parent involvement opportunities.

Site: Fargo Parks and Recreation

Several program placements available through parks and recreation with playground activities, disabled adults and community activities.

Site: Fargo Public Schools - Teacher Assistant

Responsibilities: The Fargo Public schools have many programs throughout the city serving children in regular and special education classrooms. Students work with the classroom teacher to provide care and education to 3-8 year old children. Typically students work in classrooms with special needs children and/or kindergarten through second grade classrooms. It is important for students to understand that this experience is not the same as an elementary education degree student teaching. This placement helps prepare students to work with 3-8 year old children using a developmentally appropriate curriculum and environment.

Site: FirstLink Hotline

Responsibilities: HDFS interns provide listening and support, information and referral, and crisis intervention to callers. Interns also assist hotline staff in programming and volunteer management duties, such as discussing caller needs, special event planning, etc. Opportunities for personal and professional development are offered.

Site: Fraser, Ltd. (Independent Living Services)

Responsibilities: Assist with assessments of individuals with developmental disabilities. Coordinate and monitor client activities.

Site: Girl Scouts

Girl scouting builds girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place.

Responsibilities: To implement programs for girls ages 5-18, promoting leadership and self-worth among girls. Field experience student will work in the Girl Scout office, but will also facilitate programs in daycares, schools and outreach areas. Potential to create new programs is available to those who desire this experience. Check us out at

Site: HeartSprings 

HeartSprings offers holistic ministries and services to those in the community. This year's focus is on chronic illnesses and caregiving. Special topics include Movement group for Parkinson's and Yoga for MS. Art and music therapists are being researched and integrated programming is being trialed. An early Alzheimer's group is being discussed (join us for this discussion). Exciting and innovative work at the cutting edge.

Site: Holden Village - Summer Only placement

Field experience students would work with:
: Works with youth in grades 6 through 12. Assists in planning and implementing activities, including programming, worship, overnight hikes, trips to the lake, dances, parties, etc.

NARNIA: Assists in planning and implementing programming for children (infants through 5th grade). Requires imagination, patience, and love for children. Staff members will work with the children in the mornings and work in other areas as needed in the afternoons or evenings.

Site: Hospice of the Red River Valley

Responsibilities: Direct patient care during respite care, shopping, errands, including office work, computer entry, filing.

Site: HDFS Department

Supervisor: HDFS Faculty

Public Relations and Event Planning Assistant (Fall semester 1 credit; Spring semester 3 credits)
Assist Faculty in planning, developing and implementing public relations strategies for the Infant Cognitive Development Lab and Adult Cognitive Development Lab. During Spring semester only, assist Hinsz lecture coordinators in planning and preparing every aspect of the event. Duties include assisting faculty in preparing event itinerary, liaising with the speaker, preparing welcome materials, arranging podcasting, and assisting in aspects of publicity for the event. Public relations duties include liaising with and answering inquiries from media, individuals and other organizations, via telephone, email and in-person; assisting in the production and distribution of publicity brochures, handouts, direct mail leaflets, and multimedia programs; fostering community relations through involvement in community events and initiatives.

Research opportunities with faculty.
Contact field experience coordinator for details.

Site: Imagine Thriving

Imagine Thriving aids to remove barriers to students’ mental wellness by providing mental health education and expanding the resources available to students.  Interns have the opportunity to plan curriculum, work directly with the student ambassador program, event planning, office support, presentations and starting new chapters in local middle and high schools.

Site: In-home Behavioral Therapy

Certified Behavior Analyst and a team of tutor(s). It involves teaching the child in his/her natural environment skills that consist of functional skills, social skills, self-help skills, & academics. In addition, the Board Certified Behavior Analysts is also  certified Advanced Trainer in the Nurtured Heart Approach. All programs include components of the Nurtured Heart Approach while providing behavioral services - all enhancing a child's Inner Wealth and general skills.

Site: Jeremiah Program

Jeremiah Program prepares determined single mothers to excel in the workforce, readies their children to succeed in school, and reduces generational dependence on public assistance.  Jeremiah’s housing making it possible for women to pursue their post-secondary education while living in a safe, campus-style environment.   Children receive high quality early childhood education and care in their center.   Field experience students have the opportunity to be volunteers in the child development center, administration, and special events, and be tutors for the moms.

Site: Junior Achievement

The mission of Junior Achievement is to inspire and prepare young people to succeed in a global economy. Junior Achievement works to educate k-12 students in financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and college and career readiness. Responsibilities would include working in a classroom with elementary students, support program coordinator and district manager with administrative duties, and assist with special events. Hours are very flexible.

Site: Lakes & Prairies Community Action Partnership - Lead Benefits Outreach Specialist

Provide application assistance for public benefit programs, utilize online screening tool to determine if families qualify for public benefits, and provide follow-up services and data tracking for individuals and families.

Site: Legacy Children's Foundation

This field experience offers an opportunity to become an Academic Coach for a local nonprofit agency.  We work with our students after school to help with homework, study skills, leadership and a plethora of positive youth development opportunities for low income, minority middle and high school students. 

Site: Make-A-Wish Foundation

Responsibilities: Grant writing, coordinating wishes for children with terminal illnesses, organizing fund raising events, etc.

Site: Military Extension Internship Program 

Internships Available in Child Development, School-Age and Youth Development Programs

The Military Extension Internship Program is an opportunity for college students to gain practical work experience in child development, school-age, and youth programs. Interns work on military installations around the world for 10 weeks to 6 months and receive a broad range of experiences, from working with children and youth and implementing programs, to learning about the management of child and youth centers. 

Site: Moorhead Parks and Recreation

Responsibilities: Fall/Spring: After school program attendance, accident forms, plan activities and lesson plans, work with school age children.

Summer: Field trips, group activities, games for elementary age children.

Site: NDSU Extension (HDFS)

Responsibilities: Research, developing education materials, delivery of education programs, designing educational programs. Topics include: fathering, divorce education, marriage and couple education, family enrichment program, parent education.

Site: NDSU Extension - County or Tribal Extension Offices

The NDSU Extension office is offering paid internships this summer. Students must have completed at least four semesters in our department. Student intern will work in a county or tribal Extension office.

  • Assist NDSU Extension staff in delivering various aspects of the overall Extension program to adult and youth audiences. This may include work in agriculture and natural resources, family and community wellness, and 4-H youth development/education.
  • Participate in 4-H programs, events and camping activities.
  • Perform other duties assigned in support of Extension programming.

For more information

Site: North Dakota Autism Center

The mission of the ND Autism Center is to help children affected by autism spectrum disorders (ASD) to reach their full potential through excellence in care, instruction and support. This position requires monitoring and assisting the children through daily small group activities.

Site: North Dakota Reading Corps

Elementary literacy tutoring in Fargo and West Fargo elementary school helping children in kindergarten through third grade to develop their reading skills. The elementary literacy tutor will use scripted, evidence-based literacy interventions to ensure each student is on track to read at grade level. This is an AmeriCorps service position requiring a commitment for the entire school year, 3 or 4 hours a day, 5 days a week. Includes monthly stipend and tuition award. 

Site: Parenting Resource Center - Cass County Extension

Responsibilities: Participation in extension programs including parent education, youth development, lesson planning, attending workshops, making presentations, developing display and handout materials. (Birth-18 yrs of age)

Site: Penny and Pals

Penny and Pals, a Fargo-based musical performing group, that entertains children is seeking an outgoing person to dress in various costumes and perform with Penny on-stage this summer.    Workshop assistant will lead games and activities at youth workshops, supervise children during free play, and set up and clean up workshop sites.  A playful personality (animated and silly!) is necessary!

Site: Rainbow Bridge

Responsibilities: Transfer of children between custodial and non-custodial parent, monitoring visits for non-custodial parent. Assist in exchanges and supervised visitations, gathering statistics, assist in survey undertakings, scheduling and paperwork, help with volunteer program, intakes and newsletter, and attend meetings. Fund raising activities, prepare and submit grant applications.

Site: Rape & Abuse Crisis Center

Responsibilities: Observe and document domestic violence and sexual assault cases in the court system. Advocacy and answering crisis calls.

Site: Rape and Abuse Crisis Center Public Education

Designs and administers outreach and public education efforts supporting the purpose, mission and vision of Rape and Abuse Crisis Center. Plans, develops, and facilitates community events, develops collaborate efforts with other organizations to promote and strengthen public education and understanding of personal abuse.

Site: Red River Valley Asperger-Autism Network

This nonprofit organization is a group of caregivers, professionals, community members and adults with Asperger’s Syndrome who work to support families and individuals on the autism spectrum.  Opportunities to develop activities in the community, support groups, and mentoring a child with autism spectrum

Site: Riverview Place

Responsibilities: Participate in programming for elderly residents. Variety of other responsibilities as determined by supervisor and student.

Site: Ronald McDonald House

"The Ronald McDonald House mission is to provide lodging and emotional support to families with sick children". Focus areas include families registering families, limited interaction with children; house and office operations assist in the office, errands, house maintenance, guest room preparation; outreach give tours , participate in special events; volunteer program assist with any related needs

Site: Safe Kids - Sanford Health

Safe Kids Fargo/Moorhead's mission is to reduce and prevent accidental injuries to children by creating and supporting child safe communities through educating families and children, providing safety devices, and advocating for public policy change. The student will work directly with community members, businesses and organizations to help prevent accidental childhood injury.

Site: Sanford Health Child Life Practicum

Students will partake in observation within the healthcare setting, where qualified students will gain practical knowledge about the Child Life profession.

The practicum will be 3 credits.  Application deadline are listed below.   

Sanford Health Child Life Practicum Application             

Fall 2024 Internship

Applications Due: March 15, 2024
Offer Date: May 7, 2024

Spring 2025 Practicum

Applications Due: October 4, 2024
Offer Date: November 5, 2024

Spring 2025 Internship (Dates align with ACLP Deadlines)

Applications Due: September 6, 2024
Offer Date: October 8, 2024

Site: SENDCAA Head Start/Early Head Start Family Advocate

Responsibilities: Work with the Family Advocate at several Head Start sites. The Family Advocate empowers families through personal and professional development, partnership and advocacy. The student will assist with recruitment, learn resources available in the community and share information with families as needed. Participate in development of programs and classes for parents/guardians. Encourage parent involvement and community involvement in Head Start/Early Head Start.

Site: Sexual Assault Prevention Programing - NDSU

Responsibilities: Assist with training and outreach efforts for Violence Prevention Educators; give presentations to classrooms and student organizations.

Site: Skills Development Program (Skills and Technology Center) 

The Skills Development Project was developed to help New Americans, for whom English is a second language, prepares for skills training and certified nursing assistant courses. Office duties, computer knowledge are a part of this field experience.

Site: Special Olympics

Remember the mentor, teacher or coach that made the difference in your life? The one who gave you the courage and determination to strive to be your best. The one who helped shape both your performance and your character. You can be that important figure in someone else's life.

Opportunities: Coaching, Assistant, or Partner (play on a team made up of athletes with and without intellectual disabilities).

Site: TRIO Upward Bound (NDSU)   

TRIO Upward Bound is a college access and preparation program designed to help students succeed in high school and prepare for college.  Upward Bound provides students with academic, cultural and social activities that build skills, motivation, and self-confidence.  More information about Upward Bound

Intern responsibilities may include lesson and resource development, event planning, assessment, marketing, research, and administrative duties.  Upward Bound administrators will work with an intern to define the responsibilities according to the needs of the program and the interests/skills of the intern.  A successful intern must be a strong role model and be able to work independently.  Preference will go to applicants who are first-generation college students (neither parent has a four-year degree) and/or are Pell eligible.  A two-semester commitment is preferred.

Site: Touchmark at Harwood Groves

This is an active retirement community. Responsibilities include planning and implementing social activities and personal visits with residents.

Site: uCodeGirl

uCodeGirl invites you to join us in empowering the next generation of young women be part of the growing tech careers. An opportunity to leave your footprint in helping young girls tap into their curiosity and increase their earning potential. The field experience position will assist in implementing uCodeGirl's Crack the Code Summer Technology Day Camp for Girls on leadership, entrepreneurship and coding in Fargo. The task involves planning, coordination, registration, communication (including social media), producing event related materials, supporting the camp programming and other duties as assigned during the month of June. Hours are 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM; must be highly organized and willing to work with little supervision.Part-time opportunities available in April and May as well.

Site: West Central Regional Juvenile Center 

Intern expectations during their experience at WCRJC include regular interaction with residents and assisting staff with the implementation of Individual and Daily Programming.  Leading a week of Cognitive Self Change Group is also assigned through the Thinking for a Change Group Curriculum with support and instruction from trained facilitators.  Through our Evaluation, Behavioral Treatment, and Sex Offender Counseling programs, Interns will be assigned to work alongside a Counselor to monitor progress and assist in developing individual programming.  

Site: YMCA - several locations and opportunities for director placements

YMCA AmeriCorp: tutoring and mentoring youth

Site: YWCA Shelter

Racial Justice: Responsibilities include researching activities and trainings to incorporate into our current racial justice programming, assist with developing age appropriate curriculum for Pre-K - Middle School students, contacting community groups to host unlearning racism, dialogues, compiling a monthly calendar of social/racial justice events, and involvement in YWCA Racial Justice Committee, and anti-racism trainings hosted by the YWCA.

Administrative: Responsibilities include updating our donor database, serving as a backup for front desk, duties, and special projects: Courtyard to Women, special mailings, assisting with development research.

Responsibilities: with the Children's Service Program (including child care and study buddies), enrolling families and providing basic case management to families. Assist the children's service coordinator with paperwork, filing, creating posters, assisting in enrolling student into school. May also work with the shelter's Parent Educator in planning events for the families, providing classes for children and mothers.

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