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10 Summer Hospital Volunteer Programs for High School Students

If you’re a high school student interested in pursuing a medical career and want to spend the summer engaging in meaningful activities, consider participating in a hospital volunteer program! These programs tend to be more flexible than internships, making them a great option for busy students. 


Volunteering for a hospital will allow you to observe how different medical professionals work, interact with patients, and explore new possibilities within the field. Gaining early practical experience can also enhance your college applications and help you develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills.


Such experiences demonstrate your ability to take initiative, work collaboratively, and contribute positively to society. Moreover, these experiences can result in powerful personal statements, allowing you to share stories of growth, challenge, and impact.


To help you get started, we’ve compiled a list of 10 summer hospital volunteer programs for high school students!


Cost: Free, but there is a $30 volunteer jacket fee.

Location: Multiple locations around Los Angeles, CA

Application Deadline: Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, but processing takes up to a month, so if you’re ready to begin volunteering on July 15, plan on applying by June 15.

Dates: Volunteer opportunities are available year‑round and require a minimum of 100 hours.

Eligibility: High school students aged 14–17 years are eligible.


Cedars-Sinai offers volunteer opportunities at their hospitals in the greater Los Angeles area. Their volunteer program is designed for high schoolers who are interested in a career in health care. They require an application and 100 hours of service. You can choose from two different volunteer tracks—clinical or clerical. In either track, they emphasize hands-on work and staff and patient connection.

 

During the program, you can expect to answer patient phone calls, perform data entry, assist new patients in getting oriented, delivering flowers and amenities. Most volunteer assignments are four hours each week, but you can dedicate more hours than that if you’d like. 


If you’re interested in research or want to do more work with Cedars-Sinai after your volunteer hours, they also offer a research internship. You can learn more about it here.


Cost: Free

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Application Deadline: Applications open in early February each year.

Dates: 7 weeks, mid-June to early August. The 2024 program ran from June 17–August 2.

Eligibility: High school applicants must be 15-17 years of age by the program start date.


Children's Hospital Los Angeles offers a high school summer program for students who have completed their freshman year. During the program, you’ll provide service to patients, families, and staff throughout the hospital. You’ll work directly with patients by escorting them to appointments, greeting them upon hospital entry, and assisting with administrative support.


You will be expected to serve 15 hours per week during the program. The 15 hours can be broken down into 2 full days (9:00 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.) on campus or 4 single shifts either in the morning or afternoon shift. This program is competitive as only 20 students are accepted into the program each year and it requires two recommendations and an extensive essay portion to the application. If you’re interested in pediatric care specifically, this can be a great fit for you!


Cost: Free

Location: Kansas City, KS

Application Deadline: Applications typically close in March.

Dates: Multiple 2-week sessions are available between June and August.

Eligibility: This program accepts incoming freshmen through rising seniors at least 14 years old by the start of the program.


The University of Kansas Health System in the Kansas City area offers a high school summer volunteer program each year. This program offers you the chance to learn how an academic medical center works. You’ll get firsthand experience in the clinical and nonclinical sides of the health system. You need to be able to commit to a full two weeks working 8:30 am–3:00 pm.

 

During the program, you can expect to observe procedures, learn about different health sciences career opportunities, and interact directly with patients. One of the main goals of this program is to help volunteers learn what daily life in the health sciences is like. It will also help you explore the different areas and fields of medicine that you could pursue in the future. 


They also offer a shadowing opportunity for older high school students. You can learn more about it here.

 

Cost: Free

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Application Deadline: The applications usually open in January and close in early spring.

Dates: Orientation dates usually take place in the third week of June and the participants must complete 50 volunteer hours by August 31, 2024.

Eligibility: Applicants must be at least 16 years old at the time of registration.


UCLA Health’s Volunteen Summer Program offers high school students the opportunity to work in critical areas like patient transport, wayfinding, and floating deliveries. During the program, you’ll discharge patients, assist with transfers, and help patient transport staff. You’ll also greet visitors and patients, provide wheelchair and escort services, deliver patient mail and newspapers, and develop your communication and patient service skills.

 

You must commit to at least 50 volunteer hours and you can design your schedule. This program is also highly competitive and only accepts a limited number of volunteers each year, so it’s better to apply early.

 

They also offer a hybrid virtual program that you can learn more about here!


Cost: Free

Application Deadline: Applications are accepted on a rolling basis (for both full-year and summer volunteer opportunities).

Dates: Vary depending on the opportunity (Volunteers typically commit to three hours per week).

Eligibility: Students 13–18 years old are eligible to apply.


The Junior Volunteer Program at Children’s Hospital Colorado provides teens with opportunities to get involved with their community and gain valuable experience. They offer both full-year and summer volunteer opportunities and also provide volunteer credit for teens working to complete scholarship applications. You’ll get to meet many different people in clinical roles, like doctors, nurses, and therapists, and nonclinical roles like finance, information technology, and human resources professionals, and experience working with a team.


You can work in many hospital departments and support fundraising events. As a teen, you can connect with kids and other teens in the hospital on a unique level. From doing a craft project with children to staffing an event, volunteering in a hospital setting will allow you to see the impact of pediatric healthcare up close.


Cost: Free

Location: 18 different locations are available throughout Texas.

Application Deadline: Varies by year and your chosen location, but plan on applying as early in the calendar year as possible

Dates: This program runs throughout the entire summer

Eligibility: Applicants must be 16-18 years old and have a valid Social Security number.


Texas Health Resources’ Junior Volunteer Program offers students exposure to world-class healthcare operations so that they can make a difference in their community while learning character and career-building skills. There are several Texas Resources hospitals to choose from, all with slightly different opportunities. Each Texas Health Resources hospital has specific requirements for its Junior Volunteer program. You’ll learn a lot about operations and spend most of your time on clerical work.

 

Texas Health Resources also offers a highly competitive Student Service Learning Program at its Dallas location. This opportunity is volunteer, but more highly specialized and allows for greater exposure to medical work. You can learn more about it here!

 

Cost: Free

Location: The Montlake Campus of the UW Medical Center and the Harborview Medical Center with more location opportunities coming soon.

Application Deadline: Volunteers for six-month opportunities at the Harborview Medical Center are accepted on a rolling basis. Applications for the UWMC Summer Teen Program will open in early spring 2025.

Dates: Volunteer program dates range from one month in the summer to six months.

Eligibility: 

  • For the Harborview Medical Center, the applicants must be at least 16 years old to volunteer at the Information Desk and 18 or older for inpatient units and in clinical areas.

  • For the UWMC Summer Teen Program, all high school students are eligible to apply.


The University of Washington offers several volunteer opportunities at various locations in and around the greater Seattle area. They offer a summer teen program at the Montlake campus and opportunities for people 16 and up at some of their other campuses. During the program, you’ll get to see healthcare in action and learn customer service and professional skills at the same time.


Opportunities vary by location, but you’ll likely have the chance to provide non-medical comfort to patients, read to patients, provide administrative support, answer patient calls, escort patients to clinical appointments, distribute books, magazines, and activities to patient rooms and waiting areas, and assist with wayfinding and the information desks. The summer teen program runs only during the summer months, but some of the other locations require a six-month commitment.  


Cost: Free

Location: Washington, D.C.

Application Deadline: Applications are currently closed, but they’ll open again in early February 2025.

Dates: You can choose from two different 2-week sessions during the summer:

  • Session 1: June 20–July 10, 2024

  • Session 2: July 16–August 2, 2024

Eligibility: Volunteers must be 15 years of age or older by the start of the program, and must be current high school students who are returning to high school in the fall (i.e.: not currently in 8th grade and not currently a senior).


Children’s National Summer High School Volunteer Program is highly intensive and takes place at the main Children’s National Hospital on Michigan Avenue. As a volunteer, you’ll be directly supervised by the Volunteer Services team and you can expect to attend guest speaker lectures and workshops, greet patients and visitors, assist with wayfinding, and provide support to various hospital departments.

 

You’ll participate in team-building and social activities and prepare for life after high school by participating in a Post-High School Graduation Workshop. You’ll also work in small cohorts with other students to complete a culminating group project that benefits Children’s National and its patients. The program runs for two weeks, during which you’ll work from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.


Cost: Free

Location: Miami, FL

Application Deadline: Applications typically close in April.

Dates: This program runs from mid to late June through the beginning of August. The 2024 program ran from June 20 to August 2.

Eligibility: High school students 16 years old or older can apply.


The University of Miami Health System Student Volunteer Program runs through the summer and is a great way to see different career options within the health sciences field, particularly if you’re interested in patient communication. During the program, you’ll assist with patient transfers between hospital floors, guide patients and visitors to the correct departments, develop and provide customer service to patients, visitors, and staff, and provide general and clerical support. You’ll be responsible for socializing with the patients as well as restocking supplies, as needed. 


You’ll need strong interpersonal skills, compassion for patients, and a demonstrated detail-oriented approach to work. You’ll be required to commit to the 5-week program, working 4-6 hours per day and up to 20 hours per week. This program will allow you to give back to your community, learn new skills, and see what it is like to work in health care.


Cost: Free, $20 for a uniform shirt

Location: UVA Health Prince William Medical Center in Manassas, VA

Application Deadline: Usually the second Friday of April. Early submission is highly recommended.

Dates: 2 weeks during the summer. You can choose from three sessions, starting in June and ending in early August.

  • Session 1: June 17–June 28, 2024

  • Session 2: July 8–July 19, 2024

  • Session 3: July 22–August 2, 2024

Eligibility: Applicants must:

  • Have finished or will finish their sophomore year of high school by summer.

  • Be a student in good academic standing with a “B” (3.5) grade point average or above.


The UVA Health Prince William Auxiliary’s Summer Teen Volunteer Program offers volunteering opportunities in some unique service areas, including the Emergency Department, guest services, surgical services, materials management, physical therapy, registration, and the gift shop. During the program, you’ll get to assist in transporting ambulatory and wheelchair patients to areas within the ESD, escort visitors to treatment rooms, restock supplies, clean or remake stretchers per procedure, meet and greet patients and visitors, and try to make them feel comfortable, deliver medical equipment and supplies to departments throughout the hospital, and more.


This wide array of volunteer opportunities provides you with a chance to see the full spectrum of medical care and develop an impressive depth and breadth of experience to include in your college applications. The program runs for two weeks and there are three sessions you can choose from. Spaces are limited, so the sooner you apply, the better.

 


One other option — Lumiere Research Scholar Program

If you would like to participate in a rigorous research program open to high schoolers, you should also consider applying to the Lumiere Research Scholar Program, a selective online high school program for students 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.


Also check out the Lumiere Research Inclusion Foundation, a non-profit research program for talented, low-income students.


 

Elise is a writer for Lumiere and a graduate of the University of Montana School of Law. She began writing for Lumiere in 2024 to help connect high school students to research opportunities. Lumiere is a selective research program where students work 1-1 with a research mentor to develop an independent research paper.


Image Source: Cedars Sinai logo

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