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How to Choose the Perfect Public Health Internship

October 31, 2012

Sarah Rawson is an avid blogger and independent researcher. She has recently been researching various online masters in public health courses and reporting her findings to various higher education blogs.

Sarah Rawson

By Sarah Rawson

If you’ve recently completed an educational program in health services, it is most likely you have noticed that there are a number of internship opportunities available, offering a great variety in different sectors and geographical locations. It can be difficult selecting the right one so we have created this guide that will help you choose the perfect Public Health internship for you.

What is an Internship?

It is widely acknowledged that one of the best ways to launch a career in Public Health is to take the internship route, but what does it entail? An internship is a temporary position within an organization in a field of work that you are looking to forge a career in. You may or may not actually get paid for this work as the main purpose of the scheme is to provide you with valuable experience with your chose niche sector and gives you a head start when applying for future salaried positions as you can demonstrate a previous working knowledge in the sector and be able to produce work references to confirm your suitability for the intended role.

Which Types of Organizations offer Internships?

Government Agencies are mainly focused on policy development and research but they do offer Public Health internships and a number of opportunities abroad via Government embassies. Non-Profit Organizations who are focused on educating and providing aid might offer internships that are focused on aid and humanitarian principles. For-Profit Corporations offer internships relating to their production of health products and the health care industry in general. Clinics, Hospitals and Nursing Homes offer internships that give you a firsthand experience in learning how the frontline of public health works and also dealing with administrative aspects as well.

Applying for a Public Health Internship

There are a number of internships that are subject to strong competition for places even when they are not paid positions. You will have to demonstrate that you have the required grades, have an emphasis on Public Health and are willing to learn more about a career in this sector. Applying for an internship is very much the same process as making a standard job application where you will be required to supply a resume, covering letter, references and any relevant letters of recommendation from suitably qualified people. You should also be prepared to be subjected to a background check depending on the position that you are applying for.

Finding a Public Health Internship

The first starting point in your search should be your University career center. Even if they do not have any suitable vacancies advertised, the career adviser should be able to advise or make a search for you in order to locate a suitable opening. You should also take a pro-active approach by searching online for suitable opportunities and also visiting state and federal agency websites together with targeting known companies within your specialized area of interest. A basic starting point should be sites such as USA Jobs and the U.S Department of Health and Human Services.


As part of your overall strategy to secure the right position you should always consider volunteering as it always looks great on your resume. Taking a volunteering position demonstrates initiative and commitment and could make the difference when being shortlisted for a sought after position. It is highly likely that the volunteer work that you do may not be the ideal work that you are looking for and it may even be a thankless task that you have to perform, but that experience in Public Health could well be the catalyst to launching your full time career in the future.

Search here to see what type of Public Health internships are available now.

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