Practical experience, career exploration, and impressive resumes are vital for high schoolers in today’s world. With college admissions and job markets fiercer than ever, internships are a must. Discover top internships for high school students, online opportunities, and tips for securing the opportunity in this guide.
What is an Internship?
An internship is more than just a stint on your resume; it’s an invaluable opportunity for students to immerse themselves in a real-world work environment. It is also a structured work experience that provides students with hands-on learning in the professional world and allows them to apply classroom knowledge to practical experience.
What Are the Benefits of an Internship?
Internships matter, and here’s why:
- Gaining Practical Experience: Internships bridge the gap between theoretical learning and practical application. They enhance classroom learning and equip students with sought-after skills.
- Exploring Career Interests: High school is a time of self-discovery, and internships provide a glimpse into different industries and roles. They help students identify their interests and make informed career decisions.
- Building a Resume: Internships add value to your resume, showcasing your commitment to growth. They demonstrate to colleges and future employers your proactivity and dedication.
The journey from high school to college and beyond is highly competitive. College admissions committees seek well-rounded candidates with both academic excellence and practical experience. Similarly, the job market is crowded with applicants, making it challenging for recent graduates to secure their desired positions. Internships play a pivotal role in setting you apart in both college admissions and the job market.
Top 62 Internships for High School Students
Now that we have a glimpse of the importance of internships, let’s explore some internships for high school students:
- Tech Internships
- Science and Engineering Internships
- Business and Finance Internships
- Arts and Design Internships
- Health and Medical Internships
- Nonprofit and Social Justice Internships
- Government and Politics Internships
- Environment and Sustainability Internships
- Humanities and Social Sciences Internships
- Journalism and Media Internships
- Educational Internships
1. Tech Internships
Tech internships are specialized programs that give students hands-on experience in the technology industry. They focus on information technology, software development, and computer science. These internships provide opportunities to work on real projects, collaborate with tech professionals, and develop valuable skills. Companies like Google and Microsoft often offer tech internships, making them highly sought after for skill development and networking in the tech field.
- Microsoft High School Internship Program: Microsoft offers internships for high school students passionate about technology and software development. It is open to students aged 16 and older.
- Tech360: This three-week program is open to 10th- and 11th-grade students enrolled in New York City (all boroughs), Los Angeles County, Miami-Dade, and Broward County high schools. The program teaches students how to code through web design and development.
- Data Science Institute (DSI) Summer Lab at the University of Chicago: The DSI Summer Lab program is an immersive 10-week paid summer research program that pairs high school – freshmans through seniors with a data science mentor to work on a research project.
- Anson L. Clark Scholars Program: Through this seven-week, intensive research program, 12 juniors and seniors will have the opportunity to participate in hands-on research in a variety of areas, including computer science, at Texas Tech University with faculty. Scholars receive room and board, and at the successful completion of a project report.
2. Science and Engineering Internships
Science and engineering internships provide high school students with practical, real-world STEM experience. These programs involve hands-on work alongside professionals and researchers, allowing students to apply their classroom knowledge and hone their skills. Whether working on scientific experiments or contributing to engineering innovations, these internships offer valuable insights and help students explore potential STEM career paths.
- NASA High School Internship Program: Work with NASA experts on cutting-edge space and science projects.
- Research Experiences for High School Students (REHSS): Engage in hands-on research experiences in various scientific fields.
- High School Scientific Training and Enrichment Program (HiSTEP): The goal of HiSTEP is to expand the pipeline of students interested in biomedical and healthcare careers by expanding opportunities for high school students. The program is open to current high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors.
- Fred Hutch Summer High School Internship Program (SHIP): The Fred Hutch Summer High School Internship is an 8-week-long, full-time internship for rising high school senior students. You will participate in research education seminars, attend professional development workshops, and receive mentorship from Fred Hutch research groups.
3. Business and Finance Internships
Business and finance internships offer students the chance to gain hands-on experience in finance, accounting, and business operations. These internships involve working on real-world projects, fostering skill development, and enhancing resumes for future college admissions and job opportunities. These experiences are invaluable for students pursuing business and finance careers.
- Bank of America Student Leaders Program: Student Leaders are assigned paid internships at local nonprofit organizations in a variety of locations. During one week of the internship, they also attend the Student Leaders Summit held in Washington D.C. to learn how government, business, and nonprofit sectors can work together to address community needs.
- PNNL High School Business Intern: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory provides business internship opportunities during the academic year, in which students attend regular classes for half the day and then work up to 4-hours with a PNNL mentor.
- Building-U High School Internship: Building-U is a nonprofit dedicated to helping high school students with postsecondary plans. Internships can focus on business development, marketing, multimedia, blog-writing, and more.
- Jimerson Berr High School Internship: This firm offers opportunities for students to work in a variety of departments, including accounting, communications/marketing, legal services, and information technology.
4. Arts and Design Internships
Arts and Design internships offer practical experience in creative fields like visual arts, fashion, and graphic design. These opportunities enable individuals to hone their artistic skills and gain industry insights by working alongside professionals. Interns may engage in tasks such as creating art, contributing to design projects, curating exhibitions, or assisting in fashion studios.
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art High School Internship Program: This program offers high school students the chance to immerse themselves in art and museum operations at the iconic Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
- Whitney Museum of American Art Youth Insights Program: This program invites high school students to engage with contemporary art and participate in discussions, workshops, and art-making activities at the Whitney Museum in New York City.
- National Gallery of Art High School Internship: High school students interested in art history and museum studies can intern at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., gaining exposure to museum collections and research.
- The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) High School Internship Program: MoMA offers a comprehensive internship program for high school students to explore the world of modern and contemporary art through various projects and workshops.
- Art Center College of Design Pre-College Art Experience (PCAE): This pre-college program allows high school students to immerse themselves in art and design courses, providing a taste of college-level art education.
5. Health and Medical Internships
Health and medical internships provide high school students with hands-on experience in the healthcare sector. These internships cover many areas, from shadowing medical professionals in hospitals to participating in clinical research projects. These experiences offer practical skills and insights and help students make informed decisions about careers in healthcare and related fields.
- Cleveland Clinic High School Internship Program: This program offers high school students the opportunity to explore careers in healthcare through hands-on experiences in one of the top-ranked medical institutions.
- Stanford Institutes of Medicine Summer Research Program: High school students can engage in medical research projects at Stanford University, gaining exposure to cutting-edge biomedical research.
- National Institutes of Health (NIH) High School Internship Program: The NIH offers a summer internship program for high school students to work on biomedical research projects alongside leading scientists. Candidates must be a high school junior or senior at the time of application.
- Mayo Clinic High School Biomedical Research Internship: High school students can engage in hands-on biomedical research projects at Mayo Clinic, a renowned medical institution.
6. Nonprofit and Social Justice Internships
Nonprofit and Social Justice internships involve working with organizations that address societal issues like human rights, environmental conservation, and poverty alleviation. Interns contribute through advocacy, research, and community engagement to create positive social change. These opportunities attract individuals passionate about promoting social justice and making a meaningful impact.
- Amnesty International Human Rights Advocacy Program: High school students can engage in human rights advocacy efforts, campaign coordination, and awareness-raising activities.
- United Nations Foundation Girl Up Teen Advisor Program: The teen advisor program empowers young leaders to advocate for gender equality and global issues.
- Sierra Club Inspiring Connections Outdoors Youth Leadership Program: High school students can become advocates for environmental conservation and outdoor experiences.
7. Government and Politics Internships
Government and politics internships offer hands-on experience within governmental or political organizations, allowing individuals, including high school students, to gain insights into policy development, advocacy, and political processes. These opportunities involve diverse responsibilities, from research to constituent services, and provide valuable exposure to government and politics at different levels, making them ideal for those interested in public service, law, political science, or related fields.
- Washington State Legislature House Page Program: This week-long experience is open to students between ages 14 and 16, and participants receive a stipend of $35 a day for their work and can earn up to 20 hours of community service. Those interested in the page program are encouraged to contact their member of the House of Representatives.
- Senate Page Program: The Senate Page program is one of the longest-running opportunities for rising junior or senior in high school, U.S. Citizens interested in political internships. Pages are sponsored by their senators and will reside in Washington D.C.
- New York City Office of the Mayor Internship: The NYC Office of the Mayor offers internships to high school students who are interested in the functioning of city government and policy. Interns apply to the department that interests them most and, if selected, will work within that department for the duration of their internship.
- Youth Conservation Corps | US Forest Service: The U.S. Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) is a summer youth employment program conducted by several departments within the United States Government for high school students interested in having work experiences in national forests and parks, wildlife refuges, and fish hatcheries across the United States.
8. Environment and Sustainability Internships
Environment and Sustainability Internships offer hands-on learning experiences focused on environmental conservation and sustainability efforts. Participants work with organizations to address environmental challenges and promote eco-friendly practices. These internships encompass various areas, from renewable energy to wildlife preservation. They play a crucial role in shaping future environmental leaders and fostering solutions for a sustainable future.
- Southwest Conservation Corps: Youth Conservation Crew Program: This is a paid environmental conservation summer program for high school students aged 14–18 in Southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico. The program provides food, uniform shirts, personal protective equipment, and educational lessons from trained staff.
- Hutton Junior Fisheries Biology Program: This is an 8-week, paid summer internship for high school students sponsored by the American Fisheries Society (AFS). The program matches selected students, known as Hutton Scholars, with a mentor in their local area to gain hands-on experience in fisheries and aquatic science.
- Student Conservation Association: Youth Programs: This offers a range of volunteer and paid internships for youth ages 15-19 who are passionate about conservation and love being outdoors. High school students joining a Student Conservation Association Crew become part of SCA’s nationwide network of young conservationists—thousands of students passionate about preserving wildlands, protecting nature in urban areas, and keeping the planet green.
- Tree Trust: Summer Youth Employment Program: This offers Minnesota young people (ages 14–21) the opportunity to improve their communities. Participants work on outdoor construction and landscape projects in local parks and green spaces. They can earn up to $2,000 or more while making friends, building skills, and earning school credits and career pathway credentials.
- Vermont Youth Conservation Corps: Youth Crew and Young Adult Crew: This offers paid outdoor jobs for Vermont teens ages 15 and older during the summer, spring, and fall. Participants make Vermont’s forests & waterways healthier, grow organic veggies for neighbors, build new trails, bridges, and huts in the woods, and earn wages. Positions include Youth Crew Member (15–17), Young Adult Crew Member (17+), and Leadership (19+).
9. Humanities and Social Sciences Internships
Humanities and Social Sciences Internships offer high school students practical experience in history, psychology, sociology, and political science. These opportunities involve research, data analysis, and engagement with cultural institutions or social services. They help students explore their interests, gain valuable skills, and contribute to meaningful projects within these disciplines.
- Kaiser Permanente Summer Youth Employment Program: This is an internship opportunity specifically designed for high school students and it provides interns a supportive environment to learn and grow.
- Disney Dreamer’s Academy: This is a unique and transformative program that blends entertainment and education in the magical setting of Walt Disney World. High school students participate in immersive experiences that focuses on personal development, career exploration, and leadership skills.
- Library of Congress High School Summer Internships: The Library of Congress actually has open roles for high schoolers across dozens of functions, giving them the chance to work in a real, functional research library.
- Smithsonian Youth Programs: These programs are incredibly helpful to students who may still be looking for a narrow career interest. It is structured to instill confidence and skills of self-expression, communication, leadership, and provide college and career preparation, in extraordinary museum environments.
10. Journalism and Media Internships
Journalism and media internships offer students hands-on experience in news reporting, broadcasting, and digital media. These opportunities involve writing news stories, assisting with production, managing social media, conducting interviews, and even photography or videography. Interns gain valuable skills, build portfolios, and make industry connections while exploring whether a career in journalism and media aligns with their interests and aspirations.
- The New York Times NYC Summer Academy: The NYC Summer Academy is a pre-college program designed by the New York Times that provides high school students with the opportunity to explore the fields of journalism, media, and technology in the heart of New York City.
- LA Times High School Insider: The Los Angeles Times offers high school students interested in journalism the ability to write for the LA Times via their High School Insider program. In the program, high school students work on writing assignments, receive feedback from editors, and have the opportunity to publish their work on the High School Insider website.
- Princeton Summer Journalism Program: The Princeton Summer Journalism Program (PSJP) offers high achievers from low-income families a free residential journalism and college preparation program where they will study politics and current affairs, learn from Princeton professors and journalists, and collaborate with a college advisor.
- Ladder Internships – Journalism Track: Ladder Internship is a selective program for high school students to work with startups, including media start-ups, in a real world internship. As part of their internship, each student will work on a real-world project and present their work at the end of their internship.
11. Educational Internships
Educational internships offer practical experience in educational settings, allowing individuals, including high school students, to work alongside educators and explore careers in teaching and related fields. These internships encompass roles like teaching assistants, tutors, curriculum developers, and school administrators, providing opportunities to apply classroom knowledge and develop teaching skills.
- Oak Ridge National Laboratory – High School Education Program: ORNL’s K-12 education programs help foster an early interest in science by providing scholarly competitions, summer education workshops, science camps, and various research participation opportunities. All of the programs involves students under the age of 18.
- US Department of Education Internships: The Department of Education (ED) offers internships for students interested in a career in government and federal education, policy, and administration.
- YouUnited (Virtual): This student-led 501(c)(3) nonprofit provides a database of opportunities to high school students, including summer internships, volunteering, scholarships, and competitions. Students can sign up for easy access to these resources.
Online Internships for High School Students
In addition to in-person internships, high school students can explore online opportunities to gain valuable experience:
1. Graphic Design Internship
A graphic design internship allows aspiring graphic designers to work remotely on real-world design projects. This virtual internship allows them to develop their design abilities and receive valuable feedback, all from the convenience of their computer.
- NextGen Bootcamp—Graphic Design Summer Camp: NextGen Bootcamp offers their Graphic Design Summer Camp for high school students both virtually and in-person. This course covers theories of graphic design so students have a better understanding of current trends. The program is geared towards beginners with little or no previous experience with graphic design.
- Tufts University Pre-College – SMFA Graphic Design Bootcamp: Tufts University offers a Graphic Design Bootcamp through their School of the Museum of Fine Arts (SMFA). This pre-college program teaches students fundamental graphic design skills using software found in the Adobe Creative Cloud.
- Stanford Pre-Collegiate Summer Institutes – Product Design: The program immerses students in the world of creative design. Students will learn fundamental skills in product design and design engineering. Students will end the course with a design portfolio that can be used for college applications, internship applications, and more.
2. Data Scientist Internship
A Data Scientist online internship is a virtual program where participants, often students or aspiring data scientists, gain practical experience in data analysis, machine learning, and data-driven decision-making. It offers valuable opportunities to build skills, enhance portfolios, and prepare for careers in data science, all from the convenience of an online platform.
- Harvard School Data Science Summer Program: This two-week online day camp introduces students to machine learning and programming through a project in which they program various machine learning algorithms to recognize images and make a self-driving toy car.
- NextGen Bootcamp Python Data Science Program NYC: Over the course of two weeks, students learn to input, analyze, and graph data. First, participants learn the fundamentals of Python code before transitioning into more complicated programming tasks. The second half of the course focuses on data science using Pandas, Matplotlib, and Sci-Kit learn.
3. Research Internship
A research internship allows individuals to engage in research activities remotely, typically via the Internet. During such internships, participants collaborate with researchers or organizations on various projects, gather and analyze data, conduct literature reviews, and contribute to advancing knowledge in their chosen field.
- EnergyMag Research Internship: Open to high school students, EnergyMag (a non-profit) offers virtual research internships to students looking to gain experience working in the renewable energy sector. Students gain research and analytical skills, alongside work experience, by researching specific companies, technologies, and markets.
- United Planet Virtual Internship: United Planet hosts multiple virtual volunteering opportunities that you can apply for as a high school student, and have been known to provide great exposure. Past volunteers have praised United Planet’s opportunities for their flexibility and the range of skills developed as a result of the experience.
- Building-U Internship: Building-U is a non-profit centered around helping high-school students. It operates virtually. It is currently looking for interns to assist in the administrative/business aspect of the organization. The internship position is for a duration of three months, and as an intern, you will be required to cover a vast range of duties.
- Meaningful Teams Teaching Programs: Remote learning has opened up a host of opportunities for students and professionals alike. Meaningful Teens offers internships/volunteer ships for high school students across its welfare and education programs across the world.
4. Web Development/Programming Internship
A web development/programming internship is a remote opportunity for high school students to gain hands-on experience in web development and programming. This internship offers flexibility and a chance to build practical skills remotely, making it ideal for tech enthusiasts.
- Google’s Computer Science Summer Institute (CSSI): This internship is an immersive program for high school students interested in computer science. It is open to students aged 14 and older.
- Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program: A free, two-week program for rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors, SIP gives future STEM professionals exposure to the field of computer science. Through the program, students (girls and non-binary individuals) around the world will learn about tech jobs and meet like-minded peers.
- GitHub Student Developer Pack: GitHub offers a package of tools, resources, and opportunities for student developers to enhance their coding skills.
- IBM Data Science Internship: IBM provides an online internship program for high school students interested in data science and analytics.
5. Social Media Marketing Internship
A Social Media Marketing online internship is a remote opportunity where individuals learn to manage and promote a company’s social media presence, create content, and analyze engagement metrics.
- Hootsuite Social Media Marketing Internship: This internship is for high school students with enthusiasm for social media, strong communication skills, and familiarity with social media platforms. In this internship, you will work online with Hootsuite’s marketing team to create and execute social media campaigns.
- Buffer Social Media Internship: This is open to students with a passion for social media, excellent writing skills, and knowledge of social media tools. In this internship, you will remotely assist in content creation, community engagement, and data analysis for Buffer’s social media channels.
- Sprout Social Content and Social Media Internship: The Sprout Social internship is for those with strong writing skills, social media savvy, and a creative mindset, which is necessary for application. Students will be taught how to collaborate on content creation, social media strategy, and data analysis for Sprout Social.
- HubSpot Social Media Internship: In this internship, students with an interest in digital marketing, social media proficiency, and analytical skills will be taught to work on social media projects, content scheduling, and data tracking at HubSpot.
- Socialbakers Social Media Internship: This internship is open to high school students with a creative mindset and strong communication skills. Students will be encouraged to support social media campaigns, content creation, and analytics.
6. Instead of an Online Internship, Students could Consider a Remote Job
High school students might want to consider taking on a remote job instead of pursuing an online internship. Remote jobs offer valuable work experience, flexible schedules, and the opportunity to earn income while still in school. This option can be especially attractive for those looking to balance their academic commitments with real-world work experience.
How to Find Internships for Teens
Searching for the perfect internship can be a challenging yet thrilling task for high school students. Here are some effective strategies for securing internships that align with your interests and aspirations:
- Start Early: Begin your internship search well in advance. This gives you ample time to explore different opportunities, prepare your application materials, and network with industry professionals.
- Networking: Start by connecting with teachers, guidance counselors, and family friends who may have insights or connections in your desired field. Attend career fairs, workshops, and industry events to meet industry professionals.
- Online platforms: Use online resources to explore a wide range of internship listings. Check out this comprehensive guide on finding internships. Here are a few platforms to consider:
- Join extracurricular clubs: Participation in school clubs or organizations can open doors to internship opportunities.
- School’s career counselor: Schedule appointments with your school’s career counselor to discuss your career aspirations and explore internship opportunities.
How to Secure the Internship
Once you’ve identified your desired internship for teens, follow these steps to enhance your chances of securing it:
- Tailor your resume and cover letter to highlight your relevant skills: Customize your resume and cover letter for each internship application. Highlight relevant skills, coursework, and experiences demonstrating your qualifications for the specific role. Even if you don’t have much experience, focus on transferable skills from your academic, extracurricular, or volunteer activities. Remember to include a resume summary at the top of your resume. Even if you have no work experience, you can write a compelling summary by focusing on your skills, academic achievements, and enthusiasm for the role.
- Prepare for your internship interview: Research the organization you applied to and understand its mission, values, and recent projects. Practice common internship interview questions to prepare you for discussions about your skills, experiences, and why you’re a good fit for the internship.