If you’re a high school student looking to get an early start on your career in medicine, medical internships are an excellent way to get hands-on experience and make connections in the field.
The best part? Medical internships don’t require any special training—they’re open to anyone who wants to intern. As long as you’re at least 16 years old and have your own transportation, you can apply!
Some hospitals offer paid internships, but most offer unpaid positions. That doesn’t mean it’s not worth applying for an unpaid internship, though! The only way to get experience is to do it yourself. And if you can’t afford to take time off from school or work without pay, there are still ways to make it happen. Your parents may be able to cover some expenses (like gas money) for you if they’re willing. Or maybe one of your teachers will let you do some of your work online so that they can give you credit for it while also letting them know what’s going on in the hospital where they work (and why).
If none of these options works out for you but still want the experience of working at a hospital or clinic, consider volunteering instead! Many medical organizations rely on volunteer help throughout
Medical Internship For High School Students
Considering a career in medicine? Internships in healthcare can give you a head start—plus help you get into college.
Internship and other pre-college medical programs offer experiences such as working in a lab, conducting trials, gaining hands-on clinical experience, and more to future medical professionals. You’ll learn in settings including universities, hospitals and clinics, and research facilities. Here are some ways to get involved in the world of medicine early.
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15 Medical Internship Programs for High School Students
1. Stanford Medical Youth Science Program
In this five-week online program, low-income, underrepresented high school sophomores and juniors who live in Northern and Central California are provided intensive coursework in medicine and health science, professional development workshops, networking opportunities with health professions, college admissions guidance, and mentoring. Students will also complete a college-level research program and gain insight into navigating a career in medicine.
Although the application for the 2022 Stanford Medical Youth Science Program is now closed, make sure to join their mailing list to learn about future opportunities.
2. Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego: Summer Medical Academy
Offered through Rady’s Children Hospital San Diego, the Summer Medical Academy provides high school students interested in pursuing healthcare careers the opportunity to explore medical training and practice. Students who have completed 9th grade and are between 15-19 years old may participate in this 2 week program where they can gain hands-on experience, learn about key topics in medicine from experts, and network with future potential colleagues.
Prospective participants are admitted on the basis of health career interest, participation in extracurricular activities, and scholastic achievement. Special consideration will be given to students that reside in close proximity San Diego, seniors in high school, and those who have an affiliation with Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego.
3. Arthritis Foundation Summer Science Internship Program
Through the Rheumatology and Immunology Laboratories at Stanford University and the University of California, San Francisco, high school juniors and seniors and first- and second-year college undergraduates may participate in an eight-week medical internship.
The 12 selected students work in leading research and clinical laboratories under the supervision of respected scientists at Stanford University and the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Students work 40 hours/week in basic laboratory (bench) research or clinical epidemiological/translational (patient-oriented) research. Many Summer Science Internship Program graduates have gone on to pursue successful careers in medicine and scientific research.
The program offers a $1,500 stipend to high school participants.
4. Center for Disease Control (CDC) Museum Disease Detective Camp
At CDC headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, rising high school juniors and seniors have the opportunity to spend five days learning about public health. Topics vary and may include public health interventions, chronic disease, injury prevention, data analysis, school wellness programs, environmental health, laboratory technology, disease surveillance, and epidemiology.
Activities are also diverse and include recreated outbreaks, mock press conferences, environmental and global health activities, a laboratory session, an introduction to chronic disease surveillance, public health law, and short lectures from world-renowned CDC scientists.
The program is free to attend and open to Atlanta residents, who must provide their own housing. There are two identical sessions: June 27 – July 1 and July 25 – 29.
5. Indiana University Simon Cancer Center Summer Research Program
Participants in this six-week virtual program are paired with mentors and work 40 hours/week on projects including laboratory-based research, computer-based database research, or clinical research. They also participate in weekly workshops on topics concerning gaining admission to graduate and professional programs of study, along with professional development sessions.
Students must have completed their senior year of high school or be undergraduate college students who have completed two years or less of college and earned no more than 80 credits. Participants receive a stipend.
6. High School Senior Summer Internship Program at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital
Work with a mentor in one of 10 pediatric clinical specialties in this eight-week program for Cincinnati-area graduating seniors. Participants also engage in group activities including an afternoon hands-on training session with computerized simulated pediatric patients in the SIM Center, a Summer Intern Alumni lunch, and a presentation by the assistant dean for admission at UC College of Medicine offering advice for preparing for Medical School admission. The medical internship program culminates in a graduation party featuring student presentations on their experiences.
Students work 20 hours a week and are paid a rate of $9.30 an hour. The program starts on June 8, 2022.
7. Penn Summer Academies
Through the esteemed University of Pennsylvania, Summer Academies offer high school students the opportunity to engage in 3-week subject-intensive programs that combine advanced scientific or social theory with relevant applications. Penn Summer Academies subjects include biomedical research, chemistry research, experimental physics and neuroscience.
High school students currently in 9th-11th grade are encouraged to apply and residential/ in-person opportunities are available. Financial assistance is available for select Philadelphia students.
8. Health Care Career Exploration Camp
This free program for Nebraska students in grade 10-12 allows participants to learn from experts in areas such as:
- Athletic Training
- Clinical Dietetics
- Clinical Engineering
- Occupational Therapy
- Physical Therapy
- Speech and Language Pathology
- Surgical Technology
- Radiation Therapy
- Radiologic Technology
- Respiratory Care
The program is offered at two CHI Health locations in Nebraska. Space is limited by location, and past participants are waitlisted to give new students the opportunity to attend.
9. The Seacole Scholars Program
This seven-week paid summer employment experience at a Lifespan hospital where accepted students will work four days of the week on nursing units and spend one day of the week in Lifespan Workforce and Youth Development training. This opportunity is open to people ages 16-19 who are open to living in Providence, Mount Hope, or Newport, Rhode Island. You must have a valid CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) license.
The program also offers career counseling after graduation, and some participants are offered employment after completing it. Applications are open in November annually and you must participate in an interview if offered one. The program runs from June–August.
10. Medical Immersion Summer Academy (MISA)
At MISA, you’ll learn about healthcare through hands-on skills training (EKG, Suturing, CPR, Splinting, and taking Vitals), shadowing, mentorship, and clinical immersion. You’ll also participate in VIP lunches with health professionals, observe patients and medical procedures, and engage in “Step into the shoes of an MD” skill and patient-case workshops and discussions with physicians.
The five-day program is open to all high school students in grades 9-12 and costs $900. You must be at least 15 by the program start.
11. NIH High School Summer Internship Program
This hybrid-for-2022 internship offers students the opportunity to work with some of the world’s leading scientists in the field of biomedical research. Internships generally last eight weeks (although shorter internships are considered), during which students participate in activities including lectures from NIH investigators, career and professional development workshops, and activities focused on college readiness.
The internship is open to juniors and seniors who are age 17 or older and a stipend is paid—the amount of the stipend varies year to year and depends on the level of education completed before beginning the internship.
12. Nova Southeastern University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine: Achieve in Medicine (AIM – High)
This five-day medical school program offered by Nova Southeastern University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine offers high school students the unique opportunity to fully immerse themselves in the field of medicine. Through AIM-High, students will gain hands-on medical experience such as exploring the role of technology in diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions alongside NSU medical students and staff.
The program offers two sessions, a day camp and a residential camp. The day camp is tailored towards rising high school freshmans, sophomore, junior and seniors and includes a full-day of instruction, social events, meals, and networking. The residential campus offers rooming in NSU dorms in addition and is tailored towards rising high school sophomores, juniors and seniors.
13. Magee-Womens Research Institute High School Summer Internship Program
A four-week, 160-hour virtual internship for high school juniors and seniors that provides the opportunity to participate in basic, translational, or clinical scientific research under the supervision of an investigator and their staff at MWRI and Magee-Womens Hospital. Interns also participate in sessions where investigators discuss careers in biomedical science and their personal journeys and perspective. At the program’s conclusion, interns will present their findings to other participants as well as to the MWRI faculty and staff.
This is a free and extremely competitive program—less than 8% of the students who apply are chosen.
14. Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience High School Internship
This six-week internship is for juniors and seniors in a Palm Beach County high school who are interested in brain structure, function and development, and the advanced imaging techniques and technologies used in neuroscience. Neuroscience interns participate in research in the laboratory, gaining hands-on experience with genetic engineering, microbiology preparations, histological staining, and microscopy. At the end of the internship, students will write a scientific abstract and deliver a short presentation.
Interns are expected to work full-time (40 hours a week) and are compensated at a rate of $11.50/hour for their work.
15. National Student Leadership Conference on Medicine & Healthcare
This is not quite an internship, but instead a summer program. NSLC gives high schoolers a setting to learn about controversial medical issues, today’s health care challenges, and advanced scientific research in areas such as cancer and HIV/AIDS. The program is offered at:
- American University
- Georgia Tech
- Harvard Medical School
- Northwestern University
- Rice University
- UC Berkeley
- University of Washington
- Vanderbilt University
- University of Miami
Students will perform clinical rounds, learn medical examination and surgical techniques, and participate in diagnosis and treatment while solving the mystery of a fatal outbreak sweeping the nation. You’ll also have the opportunity to take an online college-credit course taught by American University faculty after completing the program.
Each campus offers between two and four 9-day summer sessions with costs ranging from $3,395 to $3,695 depending on location. Admission is rolling, and slots fill up quickly. Scholarships are available.
How to Prepare for a Medical Career Early On
If you’re considering a career in healthcare, you can get a head start while you’re still in high school. Some ways to get involved include:
Participating in other medicine-related activities, such as research and volunteer work. Here are summer activities and extracurriculars from prospective pre-med students and BS/MD participants.