Choosing An Internship

How to Choose an Internship

The process of selecting an internship may seem daunting at first. Fortunately, the search is manageable if you go about it systematically.  Below are some recommendations for choosing an internship that best suits your needs.

Where to Begin?

Few times in your academic career will you be encouraged to utilize Google®, but online search engines provide an efficient and accessible beginning to your internship search. Typing “public health internships” into the search field yields hundreds of results, many of which may be helpful to you. Others may be dead ends. It can be difficult sifting through broken links and mis-categorized web pages to find the most relevant results. To aid your search, this website includes a list of various public health internships that span a number of specialties and geographic areas available to both undergraduate and graduate students. Additional resources include KaiserEDU.org, which provides an online database of health care internships. The American Public Health Association also maintains a list of links to public health internships and scholarships. In addition to an online search, consider asking the pre-health/pre-professional advisor at your school about opportunities in public health. There are also print resources available for your review.

Filtering the Options

As you’re perusing your search results you may want to use the following criteria to decide which internships are a good fit for you:

  1. Identify your Interests – If you’re not already aware of what areas in public health are appealing to you, take some time to learn about the various fields of study available. Consider personal as well as academic interests. E.g. maternal-child health, environmental health, etc.
  2. Consult a Mentor – A mentor can help you discern which internships you should pursue. If you haven’t already chosen a mentor begin seeking out someone who can offer advice on your pre-professional choices.
  3. Know Your Intentions – Why are you seeking out an internship? Are you hoping to learn new skills or develop ones you already have? Do you want to gain research experience? Perhaps you’re looking to earn money while furthering your pre-professional training? Recognize your reasons for seeking an internship and let these aid your selection process.
  4. Recognize Potential Benefits – You have much to gain from internships. Consider such benefits as networking, skill development, publications, and mentorship. Evaluate potential rewards afforded by the programs you are considering. Consider creating a “pro’s” and “con’s” list for each internship based on this evaluation.