15 Medical Internships For High School Students (2023)

15 Medical Internships For High School Students (1)

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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:

  1. 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!).
  1. 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).
  1. When does the internship take place? Most programs take place in the summer. They range from a week long to the entire summer.
  1. 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.

  1. 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

(Video) Top 5 Medical Internships for High School Students

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.

  1. 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.)

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. Summer Child Health Research Internship at Children’s Hospital Colorado

Where: Denver, CA

Who: Rising senior high school students from Colorado

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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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. Stanford Medical Youth Science Program (SMYSP)

Where: Northern California

(Video) How to Find Internships and Research Positions in High School

Who: Low-income, first-generation high school juniors from specific counties in Northern California

When: 5-Week residential program from June to July

Cost: Free

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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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

Cost: $2,800

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.

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  1. 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.

  1. 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)

Cost: $1500

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.

  1. 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.

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.

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