PA Mental Health Education Learning Program in Schools (PA HELPS)

This state-funded program encourages students to complete internships in school-based mental health fields in Pennsylvania and obtain their employment and certifications in a Pennsylvania Local Education Agency (LEA).

PHEAA administers the funding to support qualifying interns completing Educational Specialist Preparation Program requirements at a Pennsylvania postsecondary institution. The funds are awarded and disbursed to the LEA where the intern completes their internship.

Is My LEA Eligible?

To be considered for PA HELPS the LEA must:

  • Be located in Pennsylvania.
  • Be a school district, intermediate unit, area career and technical school, charter school, regional charter school, or cyber charter school.
  • Complete and execute a PA HELPS LEA Application and Agreement.
  • Provide PHEAA with a copy of the agreement establishing the internship between the LEA and the school the intern is attending for their Educational Specialist Preparation Program.
  • Employ a site supervisor for the intern that holds a certification in the same field that the intern is pursuing.
  • Use 100% of the awarded funds to compensate the intern for their internship.

Is My Intern Eligible?

To be considered for PA HELPS, interns must:

  • Be a current resident of Pennsylvania.
  • Be enrolled in an Educational Specialist Preparation Program approved by the PA Department of Education that leads to educator certification as a:
    • School nurse
    • School psychologist
    • School counselor
    • School social worker
  • Be accepted to an internship at an LEA in Pennsylvania.
  • Agree to work at an LEA located in Pennsylvania as a school nurse, school psychologist, school counselor, or school social worker for a minimum of 3 years following completion of the respective Educational Specialist Preparation Program.