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10 Internships for High School Students in California

If you are a high school student from California and looking to expand your resume or sharpen your college applications, an internship may be a great choice!  These internships provide students with hands-on exposure to their chosen fields, allowing them to apply classroom knowledge to practical scenarios. We understand that a lot of the internships that you’ve come across may be located in other cities and states so we’ve conveniently compiled a list of opportunities near the California area. 


This early exposure to the professional world not only strengthens college applications but also equips you with the skills and confidence needed for future academic and career success. 


In this blog, we'll explore 10 internships for high school students in California.


These internships will enable you to gain practical, real-world experience in the industry that you are looking to pursue, enhancing your résumé and increasing your competitiveness on college applications. While most of the internships provide stipend, there are some internships that provide financial aid on their program fee as well. 


Ladder Internships represent a highly selective program aimed at offering firsthand experience collaborating with startups and nonprofits worldwide. These organizations span various industries, allowing participants to choose the specific field they are most passionate about delving into. Throughout their internship, each student will undertake a tangible project, culminating in a presentation of their findings. Overall, you will spend 10-15 hours per week on this internship and end it with a letter of completion from the company.


These internships furnish a well-defined pathway for engaging in real-world research and innovation, ensuring a blend of academic enrichment and practical skill honing. What distinguishes Ladder Internships is their strong emphasis on mentorship, affording students the opportunity to work alongside seasoned tech professionals from renowned companies like Google, Microsoft, McKinsey, and others. This hands-on experience offers exposure to diverse technology domains, including AI, machine learning, and programming, fostering a comprehensive learning journey. The virtual internship is usually 8 weeks long.


Location: Virtual

Dates: 8-week programs with multiple cohorts throughout the year.

Cost: $1990. Financial aid is available.

Eligibility: Open to all high school students.

Deadline: Multiple deadlines throughout the year. The deadline for the upcoming spring cohort is January 14, 2024.


The Stanford Health Care Healthcare Summer 2024 Administrative Internship Program offers high school students a unique opportunity to gain practical experience in healthcare administration and operations. Interns will work on-site alongside peers and leaders in various departments, including Housekeeping and Environmental Services, Supply Chain, Sterile Processing, and the Anesthesia Clinic. Through involvement in specific projects, interns will observe and audit existing processes, gather qualitative and quantitative data, and draft project deliverables. The program emphasizes skill development in critical areas such as active listening, resourcefulness, attention to detail, and basic computer proficiency.


Location: Palo Alto, CA

Dates: Summer 2024

Stipend: $21-$26 per hour

Eligibility: Open to all high school students.

Deadline: TBA


SFUSD's Work-Based Summer Internships offer an exceptional chance to delve into computer science and bridge theoretical classroom concepts with practical, real-world applications. This internship provides unparalleled insights into industry operations. Interns will tackle projects extending beyond foundational concepts, ranging from software development and data analysis to innovative technological solutions, granting a comprehensive view of the diverse facets of the tech sector.


A pivotal component of this program lies in its mentorship and networking opportunities. Interns will benefit from guidance by seasoned professionals in the field, acquiring insights unique to hands-on experience. Through this internship, participants will not only possess a robust technical skill set but also a nuanced understanding of evolving trends within the tech landscape.


Location: San Francisco

Dates: Dates vary based on the internship, but the program is typically held in the summer months.

Stipend: Students will be paid a weekly salary.

Eligibility: Open to all high school students(Rising 11th grade seniors)

Deadline: April, 2024


This initiative offers an immersive experience in computer science research and technological advancement. Participants will encounter a myriad of opportunities to partake in projects spanning software development, computational modeling, data analysis, and exploration of innovative algorithms. 


Each participant will be paired with a mentor who will oversee a tailored research project, crafted to align with individual interests and proficiency levels in computer science. This mentorship stands as a cornerstone of the program, facilitating the acquisition of invaluable insights into the research process, problem-solving methodologies, and technical proficiencies pivotal for a career in science and technology. Engaging actively in projects, participants will partake in lab meetings and make substantive contributions towards their research team's objectives. The program reaches its apex with a symposium, affording participants the platform to present their findings, showcasing their learning journey and contributions to the scientific community.


We’ve covered the program in detail here!


Location: University of California Santa Cruz

Dates: June 26, 2024 - August 18, 2024

Cost: $4,000

Eligibility: Students who are at least 14 years of age on the program start date can apply.

Deadline: March 31st, 2024


The Department of Justice's Student Trainee (Clerical) Program, hosted by the University of California, Santa Cruz, offers a unique opportunity for enrolled United States citizens/nationals and current interns within the Department of Justice's local commuting area to engage in clerical support roles at the United States Attorney's Office. Participants can expect to undertake various duties, including telephone management, operating office equipment, organizing materials, and assisting with messenger tasks. Over time, responsibilities will escalate in complexity as interns undergo training and gain experience. This program emphasizes practical, hands-on learning, providing students with valuable exposure to the inner workings of a federal agency while contributing to critical functions within the United States Attorney's Office.


Location: Sacramento, CA

Dates: TBA

Stipend: $16.73 - $17.07 an hour - Part-time

Eligibility: Students from high school to graduate levels. At Least 16 years of age.

Deadline: TBA


Northrop Grumman's Space Systems Sector High School Intern Program offers an exciting opportunity for aspiring engineers to immerse themselves in the realm of aerospace technology. This program invites high school-level engineers to join a dynamic environment within Northrop Grumman's Engineering Function. As interns, participants will engage in a comprehensive summer internship program designed to cultivate competencies across various engineering specializations. From electronic and mechanical systems to calibration and testing procedures, interns will gain hands-on experience under the mentorship of seasoned professionals.


Qualified candidates will have the chance to work on groundbreaking projects and interact with users, customers, and developers, contributing to Northrop Grumman's legacy of innovation. Through a combination of practical experience and structured learning opportunities, interns will develop the skills and expertise necessary to pursue careers in engineering, physics, mathematics, cybersecurity, computer science, or manufacturing. 


Location: Redondo Beach CA

Dates: TBA

Stipend: $15 - $17 an hour

Eligibility: Students from high school can apply. At Least 16 years of age.

Deadline: TBA


Meta Summer Academy, initiated by Facebook, offers participants the chance to gain firsthand insight into Meta's operations and culture as externs over six weeks, spanning from June to July, and based in California. Students are expected to commit 30 hours per week to the program, which provides a comprehensive learning experience.


Guided by mentors from Meta's summer academy, who are established employees within the company, participants will explore various facets of Meta while also delving into the technological and computer science aspects of the industry. With a strong emphasis on learning and exposure to the tech sector, the program promises invaluable insights and growth opportunities. Additionally, Meta facilitates accessibility by providing transportation for all externs, ensuring that high school students from across California can participate. Given the highly competitive selection process, where only 150 students are chosen for the final cohort. 


Location: Menlo Park, CA

Dates: 6 weeks (June through July)

Stipend: Students will receive a stipend!

Eligibility: High school sophomores who are full-year residents of East Palo Alto, Belle Haven, or Redwood City are encouraged to apply.

Deadline: March 1, 2024


The Stanford SHTEM: Summer Internship offers a distinctive pathway for students to delve into the realms of computer science and technological innovation. From cutting-edge projects to collaborative endeavors, participants are immersed in hands-on experiences that extend beyond conventional classroom learning. Throughout the internship, individuals engaged in computer science research, facilitated remotely with necessary materials provided for hardware projects, while maintaining regular communication with mentors and fellow group members.


Under the guidance of Stanford's faculty and industry experts, interns have the opportunity to deepen their understanding of the dynamic tech landscape. The program's emphasis on interdisciplinary collaboration mirrors real-world scenarios within the tech industry, fostering the development of technical skills alongside teamwork and communication abilities. It is important to note that interns are expected to commit 30-40 hours per week to the program, ensuring a comprehensive and immersive learning experience. 


Location: Virtual

Dates: June 17, 2024 - August 9, 2024

Cost: Free 

Eligibility: Students who will be in grades 11-12 at the time of application, OR full-time community college students (within the first 3 years of community college), are eligible to apply.

Deadline: Applications typically close in January


The Science and Engineering Apprenticeship Program (SEAP) by the Department of Navy presents an exceptional chance for students to acquire practical experience in science and engineering. Participants engage in hands-on projects spanning cybersecurity, software development, algorithm design, and data analysis, facilitating the application of classroom knowledge and exposure to emerging technologies. Typically an eight-week summer apprenticeship, SEAP offers an immersive experience in a professional research setting, where students are mentored to navigate their assigned projects, gaining invaluable insights into scientific research and development. This program is ideal for high school students keen on exploring science applications beyond the classroom, particularly those considering careers in science and technology, notably in areas relevant to national defense.


Location: Many lab locations to choose from across the country, with several in California.

Dates: Eight weeks in the summer. Exact dates vary depending on the lab you choose.

Stipend: $4,000 (new participant) | $4,500 (returning participant)

Eligibility: High school students who have completed at least grade 9, and are at least 16 years old when the internship begins, can apply.

Deadline: November 1, every year.


The Khan Academy internship offers a unique opportunity to work with a mission-driven team of engineers dedicated to providing free, world-class education for everyone, anywhere. As an intern, you will be assigned to one of the engineering teams based on your interests and paired with a full-time engineer who will serve as your mentor throughout the summer. Together with your mentor, you will set goals, solve problems, and develop your intern project.


Unlike traditional internships, where tasks may be limited to demos or menial chores, at Khan Academy, interns work on projects that integrate with the team's broader work and have a real impact on learners around the world. You will spend the majority of your summer dedicated to your project, honing your coding skills, gaining insights into the life of a software engineer, and building valuable professional experience to carry forward into your future career.


Location: Remote within the United States

Dates: 10-12 week summer internship

Stipend: Competitive pay rate

Eligibility: High school seniors or rising undergraduate juniors can apply.

Deadline: Applications are accepted in October. 



Lumiere Research Scholar Program

If you’re interested in pursuing research in various topics, you could also consider applying to one of the Lumiere Research Scholar Programs, selective online high school programs for students I founded with researchers at Harvard and Oxford. Last year, we had over 4000 students apply for 500 spots in the program! You can find the application form here.


Stephen is one of the founders of Lumiere and a Harvard College graduate. He founded Lumiere as a Ph.D. student at Harvard Business School. Lumiere is a selective research program where students work 1-1 with a research mentor to develop an independent research paper.


Image Source: Ladder Internships logo

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