Internship Opportunities for Public Health Students and Grads

Internship Opportunities for Public Health Students and Grads

The field of public health is a rapidly growing profession. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in some areas of public health is anticipated to increase by 37 percent by 2020. Public health is an excellent choice if you want an exciting career with plenty of growth potential.

Whether you are a public health student or an experienced public health professional, there also are many strong internship opportunities available where you can hone your public health skills. Some of the best include the following internship opportunities:

1      HHS Emerging Leaders Program: The Department of Health and Human Services offers a competitive, paid, two-year federal internship within HHS. The program provides public health interns with the opportunity to hone their public health leadership skills in a large federal agency. Opportunities exists in public health in the National Institutes of Health, FDA, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. You may be promoted from federal pay grades GS-9-12 during your internship. You need to already have your master’s in public health to qualify for this program.

2      World Health Organization (WHO) Internship Program: The WHO is the leader in global public health issues, and the organization is strongly committed to building future leaders in the field. These internships are unpaid, and last about three months, but they offer public health-related opportunities to learn about the many programs in WHO, and to obtain very valuable work experience. Current internships include many international assignments: epidemiologist in Vietnam, global conference and training office in Tunisia, health economist in Egypt, and IT development manager in France. You need to be enrolled in public health program in graduate school, or you need to already have your MPH.

3      American Public Health Association (APHA): The APHA is the oldest, most diverse public health professional organization in the country. This association offers many excellent unpaid internships every year that are extremely beneficial in helping public health students acquire vital work experience in various state and local health agencies. Some of the internships that are available include government relations, public health policy, affiliate affairs and developmental programs. You can be working towards your bachelor’s or master’s degree in public health. These internships are up to a year in length.

4      Association of Schools of Public Health (ASPH)/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Public Health Internship Program: The purpose of this collaborative internship program is to find new opportunities and approaches for field experience for public health students and early career professionals who can practice their skills and knowledge from the classroom. Most internships are located at the CDC headquarters in Atlanta, or around the country. You will be working in various departments and agencies in or related to the CDC. A training stipend is offered for the 10-week internships, paid in four installments (check with ASPH or CDC for amount). You need to be enrolled in either a master’s or doctoral program in public health.

5      Public Health Prevention Service Fellowship: Offered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this is designed for public health professionals with their MPH. It is a three-year training and service fellowship for those who want to improve their management leadership skills, gain tremendous hands-on experience, and work in a vital public health agency. You may work at the CDC, and also in various state, local and other public health organizations near the Center headquarters in Atlanta.

6      Diversity Summer Internship Program at the Bloomberg School of Public Health: This internship program is a three-month summer program that is offered to students who are seeking their MPH. It is sponsored by Johns Hopkins University, and you will work on many different types of research projects with an experienced public health researcher. You might work on the topic of smokeless tobacco use, or on AIDS or many other important public health subjects. All of the work in this program is related to research in public health or the biomedical field. You will do your internship in an organization in the Baltimore area.

7      Health Research Training Program: Sponsored by the New York City Health Department, this internship occurs in the summer, where students are typically taught the practices and principles of planning for public health, research, administration and evaluation. You can do an internship that is 35 hours per week, or one that is 20 hours per week. Most internships are three months in length. All of the internships in this program involve working in various public health departments in the city.

8      American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) Diversity Internship: This internship program was set up in 1991 to attract minorities to careers in public health, health care and professional society management. This is a three-month internship that is unpaid that will allow you to rotate through all of the sections at ACHE’s headquarters in Chicago, including communications, executive office, finance, administration, professional development and regional services.

9      Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation Epidemiology and Public Health Internship: You will enjoy a 12-week internship at $10 per hour, and will be involved in all parts of the public health research process. Students are typically taught projects’ backgrounds and learn how to successfully complete public health research, with the help of your mentor. You will be working in a variety of different public health-related agencies and organizations in and around Marshfield, Wisconsin.

10   The World Bank Internship Program: The World Bank offers internships in many fields, including public health and health care. Generally, you will need to have finished at least one year of your MPH degree. You will be paid a salary, and most internships last at least four weeks, and are located in Washington, DC. You have to be enrolled full time in a master’s or doctoral program. Most successful interns have completed at least their first year of graduate studies. Most interns work in the following fields: public health, nutrition, population, environment, social science and agriculture.

11   County of Los Angeles Public Health Internships: The County Department of Public Health has internships that are available for both undergraduate and graduate students in public health. Some opportunities exist in HIV epidemiology, tobacco control, women’s health, environmental health, health policy and community health in the field. These opportunities are unpaid, and last 3-6 months. You may be able to earn academic credit for your internship experience through the Community-Based Enterprise Education Program.

This list is by no means exhaustive. No matter what area of public health interests you most, there are probably challenging, rewarding and valuable internships available in those disciplines, so you can gain valuable work experience and possibly prepare yourself for a successful career in public health.

Joseph Pickett is a staff writer for a popular public health portal where he writes about science and the art of improving the health of world communities with graduate student education as it applies to the MPH degree. Learn more at


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