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How do I Choose the Best Public Health Internship?

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  • Written By: Florence J. Tipton
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 27 November 2016
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You have several options for choosing a public health internship. Choosing the best internship depends on the benefits you would like to receive and the type of work you will be doing. Local, national and international public health organizations are always looking for interns to help advance missions. You will benefit from real-life experiences in a work environment that enhances your academic studies. Researching various public health organizations and contrasting them with your needs will help you to make a good choice.

There are several types of public health internships, including summer internships, semester internships and field internships. Most public health internships do not pay, but you might find some organizations that offer a paid internship. Contact the career services department at your college or university for a listing of possible public health internship opportunities.

You can also broaden your search by contacting organizations directly. An overview of the internship program and the application process is likely available on the websites of most public health organizations. Review several sites to determine whether the process and program is suitable for your career goals. Be mindful of the application deadline and give yourself ample time to apply.

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Local organizations are another resource for finding a public health internship. The city or county health department in your area may have a resource list of nonprofit organizations. Public health associations in your area can also connect you with member organizations that hire interns.

A summer internship program is generally offered to both undergraduate and graduate students. These internships offer public health training through an opportunity to work on critical projects. The best public health internships will usually offer personal development and networking opportunities. This gives you a chance to connect with senior leadership at the organization.

Semester internships are typically offered during the fall, winter and spring semesters. Public health organizations look for students to work on projects based on specific skill sets. If the concentration of your major or graduate degree is geriatric care, for example, you might find a public health internship with an organization that specializes in senior citizen issues. As an intern, you will gain insight on the daily operations of the organization by working with a team or staff member.

Going global is another way to find a public health internship for gaining experience in the field. Public health issues are an international concern. You may have the opportunity to travel to different countries to provide much needed services. Choosing an internship with an international health organization provides a wide range of opportunities for helping diverse cultures. Your duties may include work in a community clinic or hospital, executing health programs and teaching a class on nutrition.

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