Are you a high school student interested in a career in medicine? Our blog highlights 15 medical internships specifically designed for high school students. Explore opportunities to gain hands-on experience, shadow physicians, and contribute to healthcare research. We provide valuable insights into prestigious institutions and organizations that offer these internships, guiding you towards valuable learning experiences that will enhance your college applications and future medical career. Discover the exciting world of medical internships and take the first step towards your dream of becoming a healthcare professional.
Medical Internships: The Perfect Boost for Your College Applications
Whether you have your heart set on being a doctor, or you are simply curious about what it’s like to work in health care, a medical internship is a stellar way to gain hands-on experience while giving your college applications a huge boost.
(You can read about why we love pre-professional summer internships here.)
Healthcare currently accounts for almost one out of every five dollars in the U.S. economy. Data published in 2020 by the Association of American Medical Colleges estimates that the U.S. could see a shortage of 54,100 to 139,000 physicians by 2033. That shortfall is expected to span both primary- and specialty-care fields. At the same time, there is a growing need for scientists in medical research, according to The New York Times.
There is a wide range of career possibilities in medicine. In addition to traditional “stethoscope doctors” in clinical work, there are also many “microscope doctors” in biomedical research. Medical professionals work in a wide range of contexts, from hospitals, clinics, labs, and universities, to tech startups, medical corporations, non-profit organizations, and governmental/international agencies.
Empowerly believes that summer medical internships are an excellent way to gain experience, build your network, and boost your college applications.
What Is a High School Medical Internship?
Summer medical internships range from more academic/classroom-based formats to programs that put you right in the surgical operating theater. Either way, you get the opportunity to develop relationships with medical professionals who can write letters of recommendation for your college applications.
Here are some basic considerations:
- Where is the internship? While there are a few residential “summer camp”-style programs, the majority are local. This is why it is so important that you search for all of the opportunities in your local area (there are far too many to list in this article!).
- Who is eligible to participate? Each program has different requirements for the minimum age of participants. Many programs give preference to populations traditionally underrepresented in the sciences. The more competitive internships may require a minimum G.P.A., letters of recommendation, and a personal statement (essay).
- When does the internship take place? Most programs take place in the summer. They range from a week long to the entire summer.
- What does it cost? The best internships pay a stipend or hourly wage. There are also many tuition-based programs, but it’s a good idea to research what they include. (An authentic experience is more valuable for your growth than a medicine-themed summer camp.)
You should apply at least six months before your program starts. (Please read our article on Why You Should Secure Your Summer Internships During the Winter.)
We have picked 15 exciting medical summer internships to give you a sense of what’s out there. This is only a small sample: you’ll need to do some research on programs in your area. Local hospitals are the best place to start your search. Look for programs with hands-on experience, and keep your eyes out for extras like college credit and CPR certification.
- National Institute of Health (NIH) High School Summer Internship Program
Where: Primarily Washington D.C. (Bethesda, MD), with smaller cohorts in Baltimore & Frederick, MD, Research Triangle Park, NC, Hamilton, MT, Framingham, MA, Phoenix, AZ, and Detroit, MI.
Who: High school juniors and seniors who are U.S. citizens, pass federal background clearance, and will be at least 17 years old at the time of the internship. The related HiSTEP program specifically recruits students in the D.C. area from populations that are less represented in the sciences.
When: 9 weeks during the summer
Pay: $2190-2450 Stipend
The highly-competitive NIH High School Student Internship Program places students in real-life research capacities with medical professionals carrying out full-time biomedical research at the National Institute of Health. Students are expected to work “just as hard as the postbac’s, graduate students, and postdocs in their research groups.” This means that students will gain an authentic, hands-on experience that builds both career skills and one’s professional network.
- University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) Summer Student Research Program
Where: Oakland, CA (UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital)
Who: High school juniors and seniors from low-income households and racial/ ethnic populations that are underrepresented in the sciences.
When: 9 weeks from June to August
Pay: $3000-$4500 stipend
Students work in local clinics and science labs to gain hands-on experience in biomedical research. Participants are mentored on a one-on-one basis with healthcare professionals and researchers. The program includes access to workshops, seminars, training, simulations, and networking opportunities. The internship concludes with a final student research symposium.
(If you live in California, you should also read our article about Medical Internships in California.)
- Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience High School Internship
Where: Palm Beach, FL
Who: High school students who are entering junior or senior year in Palm Beach or Martin County and are interested in brain science
When: 6 weeks from June to July
Pay: $12 per hour (40 hours per week)
Interns in the Max Planck program participate in research projects alongside neuroscientists, prepare a written scientific abstract based on their research project, and deliver a short presentation at the end of the summer. Students gain experience with hands-on “wet lab” techniques such as genetic engineering, microbiology preparations, histological staining, and microscopy.
- High School Senior Summer Internship Program at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital
Where: Cincinnati, OH
Who: Graduating high school seniors
When: 8 weeks from June to July
Pay: $13 per hour (20 hours per week)
The Cincinnati Children’s Hospital offers a competitive, part-time internship that pairs students with a mentor in several pediatric clinical specialties. Participants get to shadow a mentor in the clinic and choose from clinical projects, research projects, or a hybrid of both. Interns can also apply to work with specific mentors.
- Summer Child Health Research Internship at Children’s Hospital Colorado
Where: Denver, CA
Who: Rising senior high school students from Colorado
When: 2 months from early June to August
Pay: $3500 stipend
Program participants have the opportunity to work in the lab with faculty from the Department of Pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital of Colorado and the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.
- Harvard Medical School Project Success: Opening the Door to Biomedical Careers
Where: Boston, MA
Who: Boston high school students (particularly from disadvantaged and/or underrepresented populations)
When: 8 weeks from late June to August
Pay: This is a paid internship (amount unspecified)
The competitive Harvard Medical School internship is a powerful experience that can open doors to colleges and beyond. The program assigns students to work with mentors in Harvard research labs. Students get to participate in seminars and carry out site visits to hospitals and biotech firms. This program even offers access to college counseling and computer training.
- Indiana University Simon Cancer Center Summer Research Program
Where: Indianapolis, IN (Bloomington)
Who: High school students from populations underrepresented in the sciences
When: 8-week program from June to July
Pay: Stipend (amount unspecified; 40 hours per week)
The Simon Cancer Center pairs students with mentors in a facility with over 100 world-renowned cancer investigators. Participants get to carry out research involving laboratory experiments, clinical work, and medical data analysis. Students apply what they learn about research methodology to a capstone research project which is presented to the group.
- Medical College of Wisconsin Apprenticeship in Medicine (AIM)
Where: Milwaukee, WI
Who: Milwaukee area high school students from disadvantaged and/or underrepresented backgrounds
When: 6-7 weeks during summer
Pay: Stipend (amount unspecified)
This program offers two tracks. The Apprenticeship in Medicine (AIM) is an intensive 6-week program in which students learn anatomy and physiology, and participate in suture clinics and heart dissections. The Research Opportunity for Academic Development in Science (ROADS) is a 7-week program that pairs students with a principal investigator who serves as a mentor on a research project.
- Stanford Medical Youth Science Program (SMYSP)
Where: Northern California
Who: Low-income, first-generation high school juniors from specific counties in Northern California
When: 5-Week residential program from June to July
Participants get to live on the Stanford University campus as they attend faculty lectures, professional development workshops, Stanford Medicine networking events, and a public health disparities research project. The program provides mentorship and networking opportunities with Stanford faculty, health professionals, and pre-med college students.
- Magee-Womens Research Institute High School Summer Internship Program
Where: Southwestern PA region
Who: High school juniors and seniors from local counties with an interest in biomedical research
When: 4 weeks from June to July
Pay: Minimum wage
This program focuses on reproductive biology, women’s health, and infant care. Interns work on individual research projects under the tutelage of a staff hospital investigator, carrying out translational or clinical research that culminates with a final project and group presentation. Students benefit from career development luncheons where staff share their experience working in the field of biomedical science.
- Penn Summer Academies
Where: the University of Pennsylvania
Who: High school students from anywhere in the U.S.
When: 3-week residential program in July
Cost: $5700; Penn Summer Scholarship is available for students at local public and charter schools
The Penn Summer Academies offer two programs in medicine. The Biomedical Research Academy introduces participants to the experimental basis of cellular, molecular, and genetic aspects of biology. The Neuroscience Research Academy explores the biological foundations of the brain. Both programs include lectures, faculty research talks, laboratory activities, group investigation, and research projects.
- Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego: Summer Medical Academy
Where: San Diego
Who: 15- to 19-year-olds from greater San Diego
When: 11-day sessions in both June and July
Applicants are evaluated based on essay responses, enthusiasm for healthcare, academic success, extracurricular involvement and service, and a teacher recommendation. Interested students should contact the program for more information.
- National Student Leadership Conference on Medicine & Healthcare
Where: Washington, DC, Durham, NC, Chicago, IL, San Francisco, CA, Miami, FL, and New Haven, CT
Who: High school students
When: Several 8-day residential programs at each location throughout the summer
Cost: $3795 – $3995
Students in this program perform clinical rounds, learn medical examination and surgical techniques, and participate in diagnosis and treatment. Participants learn about today’s healthcare challenges and explore advanced scientific research in areas such as cancer and HIV/AIDS. The program is offered on the campuses of American University, Duke University, Northwestern University, University of California at Berkeley, University of Miami, and Yale University.
- Nova Southeastern University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine: Achieve in Medicine (AIM–High)
Where: Fort Lauderdale and Tampa Bay, FL
Who: Academically strong high school students (frosh to seniors)
When: 5-day program in June (Tampa Bay) and July (Fort Lauderdale)
This medical school immersion camp is designed specifically for high school students. Participants gain hands-on medical experience with a focus on the use of technology in the diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. Students can obtain CPR certification.
- Georgetown University Medical Academy
Where: Washington, DC
Who: High school students
When: 3 separate one-week residential sessions in June and July
Cost: $3225 ($2,500 for commuter students)
Students study topics ranging from human anatomy and physiology, microbiology, and infectious disease to surgery, cancer, and biomedical ethics. The program includes hands-on labs, a patient simulator, and dissection exercises.
How Can Medical Internships Help College Students?
Medical internships for high school students provide valuable opportunities that can greatly benefit individuals during their college years. These internships offer hands-on experience in the medical field, allowing students to gain practical knowledge, develop critical skills, and make informed decisions about their career path. Here are some ways in which medical internships can help students in college.
Firstly, medical internships for high school students provide a unique chance to explore the healthcare field firsthand. By working alongside professionals in various medical settings, students can witness the daily routines, challenges, and rewards of healthcare careers. This exposure helps them gain a deeper understanding of the healthcare system and different specialties, enabling them to make more informed decisions about their college major and future career goals.
Moreover, medical internships offer valuable opportunities to develop essential skills that are transferable to college and beyond. Through these internships, students learn to communicate effectively with patients, healthcare providers, and fellow interns. They also develop strong teamwork and collaboration skills by working alongside professionals in a multidisciplinary environment. These skills are crucial in college, where teamwork and effective communication are often required for academic projects and extracurricular activities.
In addition, medical internships allow students to cultivate their critical thinking and problem-solving abilities. They are exposed to real-life medical cases, where they can observe and participate in diagnosing and treating patients. This hands-on experience helps them develop analytical skills, learn to think on their feet, and make quick and accurate decisions under pressure. Such skills are invaluable in college, where students often face complex academic challenges and are required to analyze information and solve problems in various subjects.
Furthermore, medical internships provide an excellent opportunity for students to build a professional network in the healthcare field. During their internships, students interact with healthcare professionals, including doctors, nurses, and medical researchers. By establishing connections with these professionals, students can gain mentors who can guide them through their college years and beyond. These mentors can provide valuable advice, recommend research or volunteer opportunities, and even write letters of recommendation for college applications or future job opportunities.
Lastly, medical internships offer students a chance to strengthen their college applications. Admission officers value hands-on experience and extracurricular involvement, and a medical internship demonstrates a student’s passion, commitment, and drive to pursue a career in healthcare. By including their internship experience in their college applications, students can set themselves apart from other applicants and showcase their dedication to the field.
In conclusion, medical internships for high school students can be immensely beneficial during college. They provide firsthand exposure to the healthcare field, help students develop crucial skills such as communication and problem-solving, and allow them to build a professional network. Additionally, internships enhance college applications, demonstrating a student’s commitment and passion for the field. By participating in medical internships, students can lay a solid foundation for their future academic and professional success.
But How Do Medical Internships Help People At Hospitals?
- Hands-on Experience: Medical internships provide participants with valuable hands-on experience within a hospital setting. Interns have the opportunity to observe and assist healthcare professionals in real-life scenarios, allowing them to apply their theoretical knowledge in practical situations. This exposure helps interns develop a deeper understanding of medical procedures, patient care, and hospital protocols, preparing them for future roles within the healthcare field.
- Skill Development: Working in a hospital environment during an internship allows individuals to enhance their skill set. Interns often develop strong communication skills as they interact with patients, doctors, nurses, and other hospital staff members. Additionally, they acquire critical thinking and problem-solving abilities by participating in diagnosing and treating patients. These skills are invaluable in the fast-paced and challenging environment of a hospital, enabling interns to excel in their future healthcare careers.
- Networking Opportunities: Medical internships provide a platform for interns to connect with healthcare professionals working at hospitals. Building a network of industry contacts is essential for career growth, and internships offer the ideal opportunity for such connections. By establishing relationships with doctors, nurses, and administrators, interns can gain valuable mentors who can guide them in their career paths, offer advice, and provide future job opportunities.
- Career Exploration: Hospitals encompass a wide range of medical specialties and departments. Medical internships allow individuals to explore different areas of healthcare and gain exposure to various disciplines. Interns can rotate through different departments, such as emergency medicine, surgery, pediatrics, and more, enabling them to make informed decisions about their future career paths. This exploration helps individuals find their areas of interest and discover where they can best contribute within a hospital setting.
- Professional Development: Internships at hospitals offer individuals the opportunity for professional growth and development. By immersing themselves in a hospital environment, interns learn to adapt to the fast-paced nature of healthcare, develop time management skills, and hone their ability to work in a team. These experiences contribute to personal growth, boost confidence, and instill professionalism, all of which are highly valued traits in the healthcare industry.
- Resume Enhancement: Having a medical internship on a resume can significantly enhance an individual’s job prospects in the healthcare field. Employers appreciate candidates who have gained practical experience in a hospital setting as it demonstrates their commitment to the profession and their ability to handle real-life healthcare situations. A medical internship serves as a strong testament to an individual’s dedication, passion, and readiness to contribute to a hospital’s mission.
Medical internships offer numerous benefits to individuals working at hospitals. They provide hands-on experience, skill development, networking opportunities, career exploration, and professional development. Moreover, internships bolster resumes, making individuals more attractive to potential employers. By participating in a medical internship, individuals can gain a competitive edge in the healthcare industry and pave the way for a successful and fulfilling career in a hospital setting.
How About The Benefits?
edical internships offer numerous benefits for aspiring healthcare professionals. These hands-on experiences provide invaluable opportunities for students to apply their theoretical knowledge in real-world medical settings. Through internships, participants gain practical skills, enhance their clinical acumen, and develop a deeper understanding of healthcare practices. These immersive learning experiences are instrumental in preparing future doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals for the challenges they may encounter in their careers. By actively engaging in internships, individuals can bridge the gap between theory and practice, fostering their professional growth and setting a strong foundation for their future in the medical field.
One of the key advantages of medical internships is the chance to work alongside experienced healthcare professionals. Interns have the unique opportunity to observe and learn from seasoned practitioners, who can provide valuable insights, guidance, and mentorship. This exposure to professionals who have excelled in their respective fields can significantly influence interns’ career choices and aspirations. Furthermore, the networking opportunities provided by internships can lead to lifelong connections and potential job prospects in the future. Building relationships with mentors and colleagues during internships can open doors to further educational and professional opportunities.
Medical internships also offer a holistic understanding of healthcare systems and the multidisciplinary nature of medical practice. Interns often rotate through various departments, such as emergency medicine, surgery, pediatrics, and internal medicine, gaining exposure to different specialties. This exposure helps interns discover their interests and aptitudes, allowing them to make more informed decisions about their future career paths. Additionally, internships foster teamwork and collaboration, as interns frequently work alongside other healthcare professionals in a multidisciplinary environment. These experiences cultivate effective communication skills, essential for delivering quality patient care in a healthcare team.
Participating in medical internships can enhance an individual’s resume and increase their competitiveness in the job market. Employers highly value practical experience, and internships provide a platform to showcase one’s skills, dedication, and adaptability in a clinical setting. The hands-on experiences gained during internships demonstrate a commitment to professional development and a proactive attitude toward learning. Furthermore, the exposure to real-world scenarios equips interns with problem-solving abilities and critical thinking skills, which are highly sought after in the healthcare industry. Overall, medical internships play a pivotal role in shaping the careers of aspiring healthcare professionals, offering a range of benefits that contribute to their personal and professional growth.
Did you know that many esteemed doctors and medical professionals started their journey in the healthcare field as interns? Medical internships provide a valuable stepping stone for aspiring doctors, offering a hands-on learning experience that lays the foundation for a successful medical career. By starting out as interns, these individuals gained practical skills, developed their clinical expertise, and honed their patient care abilities. The rigorous training and mentorship received during their internships shaped them into the competent and compassionate doctors they are today.
Internships serve as a bridge between medical education and real-world practice, allowing interns to apply their knowledge in a clinical setting. This immersive experience helps interns gain confidence in their abilities while working under the guidance of experienced physicians. Doctors who began their careers as interns often attribute their clinical competence and diagnostic acumen to the practical exposure they received during this pivotal phase. The hands-on nature of internships equips future doctors with the skills necessary to navigate complex medical scenarios, make critical decisions, and deliver quality patient care.
Starting as interns also provides doctors with the opportunity to build a strong professional network within the medical community. During their internships, doctors often collaborate with a diverse group of healthcare professionals, including nurses, specialists, and administrators. These connections can prove invaluable throughout their careers, as they foster collaborations, referral networks, and lifelong learning opportunities. Building relationships during internships not only enhances doctors’ knowledge and skills but also opens doors to future career advancements and professional growth.
Doctors who began their journey as interns also understand the challenges and realities of the healthcare industry firsthand. The demanding nature of internships prepares doctors for the rigorous schedules, high-stress environments, and multifaceted responsibilities they will encounter throughout their careers. By experiencing the intensity of patient care, managing emergencies, and working long hours during their internships, doctors gain resilience and adaptability, qualities that are vital for success in the medical field. The valuable lessons learned as interns shape their approach to patient care, instilling a deep sense of empathy and a commitment to providing the best possible medical treatment.
Medical Internships in Your Network
If you’ve searched and are having trouble finding a good local program, consider asking anyone that you may know who works in health care if you can volunteer after school or during the summer.
If you would like to learn more about how a medical internship can vault your college applications to the next level, contact the expert counselors at Empowerly for a free, 30-minute video consultation.