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11 Internships for High School Students in San Diego

With internships augmenting your high school journey, you can get practical, real-world experiences while still in school, explore potential career paths, and build a strong roadmap to your future.

If you’re in San Diego looking to do just that, we’ve got you covered. San Diego and its surrounding areas offer a range of internship opportunities designed for students like you, whether you're interested in science, technology, governance, or business, there's an internship tailored to your interests.

In this article, we’ve explored 11 diverse internships in and around San Diego, offered by popular institutions and organizations, offering you the chance to take conscious steps towards your future.

Note: You can also check out our blog on 10 of the best programs for high school student in San Diego!

Application deadline: Applications open in August and close on November 1st every year.

Eligibility: High school students who have completed at least grade 9, are at least 16 years old when the internship begins, can apply. Graduating seniors are eligible as well. There is room for some exceptions. Students are recommended to check whether their preferred lab choice has any other particular requirements.

Program dates: Eight weeks in the summer. Exact dates are not provided at the moment.

Location: While there are several lab locations to choose from, students in San Diego may select Naval Information Warfare Center, San Diego, CA.

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

If you’ve been thinking about science and engineering for your future studies and career, you must consider including this program in your high school journey. It’s an opportunity to work alongside leading researchers and engineers at Navy laboratories and facilities across the country, on real Naval research. During the program, you will receive mentoring from expert scientists and engineers. While working on projects hands-on, you will gain valuable knowledge and skills in various STEM disciplines, such as computer science and aeronautics. SEAP is a fairly competitive program, with only 300 placements a year – and several students go on to pursue careers at the DoN.

Application Deadline: April 16 and May 14

Eligibility: Students who can work 10-20 hours/week for 8-12 weeks. Open to high school students, undergraduates, and gap year students!

Program Dates: 8 weeks, June to August

Location: Remote! You can work from anywhere in the world.

Cost: $1490 (Financial Aid Available)

Ladder Internship is a selective program for high school students to work with startups.

Ladder Startups work in fields including healthcare and medicine, technology, machine learning and A.I., finance, environmental science and sustainability, business and marketing, media and journalism, and more. You can explore all the options here on their application form.

As part of their internship, each student will work on a real-world project and present their work at the end of their internship. In addition to working closely with their manager from the startup, each intern will also work with a Ladder Coach throughout their internship - the Ladder Coach serves as a second mentor and a sounding board, guiding students through the internship and helping them navigate the startup environment.

Note that as a Ladder Intern, you will engage in a coaching+work-based model - a component that sets it apart from most internships in this list. The virtual internship is usually 8 weeks long.

Application deadline: Four internship rotations in a year, four application rounds in October, January, April, and July.

Eligibility: Students who are at least 16 years old before starting the application process may apply.

Program dates: Four 6-month internship rotations in a year, starting March, June, September, and December.

Location: Palomar Medical Center Escondido, Escondido, CA

Fee: $150 onboarding fee (on acceptance)

Stipend: No information is available at the moment.

If you’re thinking about pursuing a career in healthcare and related fields, you can consider this 6-month internship, which takes place at the Palomar Medical Center Escondido, located about 30 minutes from San Diego. The Pathmaker Internship, where Level I is for high school students, is a hands-on experience opportunity in a real-life setting. Level I interns will support Palomar staff and college-level interns, getting insight into what it means to work in the healthcare industry. You will participate in daily operations while assisting with patient care tasks, including interaction with patients, rehabilitation exercises, and administrative support. You will be attending shifts in several departments, such as Acute Care, Progressive Care, Imaging, Rehabilitation, Intensive Care, and Emergency.

Application deadline: Applications typically open in early spring, and close by late spring or early summer.

Eligibility: Students who are San Diego County residents, have completed their most recent semester of high school at a public or private high school within San Diego County, are at least 16 years old on or before June 26, 2023, have completed at least one year each of high school level chemistry and biology, can apply. Check the page for all the program requirements.

Program dates: June 20, 2023 - August 11, 2023 | 30-40 hours per week

Location: Salk Institute, La Jolla, CA

Stipend: $16 per hour

This paid 8-week internship is a research opportunity for students passionate about scientific exploration – it’s a chance to gain real-life experience performing scientific research while developing skills needed for careers in STEM. This competitive program immerses you in cutting-edge research projects, as you work alongside renowned scientists and researchers in various fields at the Salk Institute, La Jolla – 20 minutes away from San Diego. You will learn advanced laboratory techniques, and contribute to ongoing projects. The program emphasizes mentorship and fosters a supportive learning environment to nurture your passion for science. During the internship, you will find yourself honing your critical thinking and problem-solving skills, along with your communication skills - all essential for your future scientific endeavors.

Application deadline: March 28, 2023

Eligibility: Highly motivated students in high school who will be at least 16 years old before the internship begins can apply.

Program dates: June 5, 2023 - August 11, 2023 OR June 19, 2023 - August 25, 2023

Location: Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA. There are housing options.

Stipend: Unpaid

This 10-week internship at Scripps Research is located in La Jolla, just 20 minutes from San Diego. The fairly competitive internship brings together 40 talented and motivated students (high school, undergraduate, graduate, and professional) from across the country for an immersive, college-level research experience. During it, you will learn about current topics in translational science, such as the genetic basis for common and complex traits and diseases in humans. You will also study design and analysis procedures relevant for translational research, including genomic/genetic association studies. You will observe the steps of proposing, designing, undertaking, and analyzing clinical trials. At the end of the program, you will present a scientific concept to your peers and mentors. Based on your interests, you will be assigned a primary mentor for the program who will guide and advise you. While it is unpaid, school credit or transcript notation is awarded and is required for your research training and participation.

Application deadline: Applications open in October and typically close in January.

Eligibility: Current high school juniors and seniors are eligible to apply. See all eligibility criteria here.

Program dates: 8-week summer internship, including an all-expenses-covered week-long Student Leadership Summit in Washington, DC. Dates vary by location, but the internship usually begins shortly after the school year ends.

Location: A local non-profit organization in San Diego that the Bank of America has partnered with for the internship program.

Stipend: It is a paid internship, but no information is available on the exact amount.

With this program, the bank aims to foster community-mindedness, encouraging and training students who are passionate about improving their community. The program offers an opportunity for you to work at a local non-profit organization, as you develop your leadership and community skills. While you learn about the various aspects of running such an organization, engage in community service projects, and develop a deeper understanding of social issues, you will simultaneously work on skills that will aid in your future academics and career. This 8-week paid internship includes a week-long Student Leadership Summit held in Washington, DC. The travel, food and stay for the same will be covered by the bank. This entire experience will equip young leaders like you with the knowledge and tools to drive positive change in your community.

We have covered this opportunity in depth here!

Application deadline: Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, as received once the position is posted.

Eligibility: High school students aged 18 and above can apply.

Program dates: May - August, with occasional opportunities offered throughout the year. Exact dates are not available at the moment.

Location: J. Craig Venter Institute, La Jolla, CA

Stipend: $16.50 per hour

In their own words, JCVI aims to inspire the next generation of scientists with this internship program. It offers an opportunity for you to engage in cutting-edge scientific research, guided by a dedicated mentor, while collaborating and networking with your peers and renowned scientists at the institute. Your participation and experience at the internship will be curated to your academic experiences and interests. While interning at JCVI, you will have access to their state-of-the-art equipment and technology, and towards the end of the program, you will present your research at a judged poster presentation. During the program, there will also be multidisciplinary scientific seminars and workshops for you to attend.

Application deadline: December 13 (spring internships) | April 1 (summer internships) | September 1 (fall internships)

Eligibility: High school seniors are eligible to apply.

Program dates: Internships are offered every quarter. Interns will work 20 hours a week, for 10-12 weeks, depending on the availability of the students who apply.

Location: Congressman Scott Peters’ San Diego District Office

Stipend: $15 per hour

This internship at Congressman Scott Peters’ office is for students interested in the intriguing world of politics. As an intern, you will be involved in a variety of tasks, including day-to-day office responsibilities such as answering phones, drafting letters, and addressing constituent inquiries. You may also assist with constituent casework and District-based projects of importance, with plenty of opportunities for community outreach and engagement. Moreover, you will have the chance to contribute to constituent casework and significant district-based projects. The internship emphasizes community outreach, offering ample opportunities to connect with the local community and gain valuable insights into the legislative process. With this program, you can develop essential skills, build professional relationships, and contribute to the betterment of San Diego's constituents under the guidance of the congressman’s team.

Application deadline: Applications are accepted on a continuous basis.

Eligibility: All full-time high school students are eligible to apply.

Program dates: Exact dates will be per the student’s availability.

Location: Various department offices of the County of San Diego

Stipend: $11.67 per hour

This unique opportunity offers students practical work experience and valuable skills in various departments across the county government that can complement their academic studies and prepare them for future careers. While internships are offered across various departments, students are encouraged to apply for positions that are related to their field of study or interest. See all available positions here.

As part of this program, you will be engaged in a variety of tasks and responsibilities, contributing to the efficient functioning of the department. Student Workers may assist with administrative duties, data entry, maintaining records, and supporting day-to-day operations. You will work with experienced professionals, collaborate on meaningful projects, and contribute to the betterment of the community.

Since there are numerous internships offered by different city departments, there isn’t one application deadline or set of program dates that applies.

Eligibility: Most internships offered are open to all students in high school. Students are recommended to check their preferred department’s internship requirements before applying.

Program dates: Vary from role to role

Location: Vary

Fee: No information is provided, but you can expect to be provided with a stipend

The City of San Diego offers a range of paid internships for high school students, in its various departments – a chance to gain hands-on experiences and explore potential career paths in public policy and governance. These internships are designed to provide training and mentorship from professionals in various city departments, such as finance, energy and the environment, architecture, tourism, communication, public services, and more. You can apply for any of the numerous available positions. As an intern, you can expect to work on significant projects, participate in team meetings, and collaborate with experienced professionals. These city internships can help shape your future endeavors, and give you the platform to build knowledge and skill in your chosen fields.

Application deadline: January 15 (winter/spring internships) | April 30 (summer internships)

Eligibility: All high school students can apply.

Program dates: Dates vary year to year and will be available as internships are announced on the SDHC page.

Location: San Diego History Center

Stipend: Unpaid

This one’s for students who wish to delve into the world of history, culture, and community engagement. During this program, interns will participate in the day-to-day operations of one of San Diego’s leading museums. These internships are usually available in several museum departments including Education, Collections, Exhibitions, Marketing, and Development. As an intern, you will assist in various aspects of museum operations, collections management, and educational programming. While you will be primarily working with one department, the internship includes mentoring by a hosting supervisor, and break-out sessions hosted by other departments. You will also be able to request one-on-one interviews with staff members in order to learn more about their professions.

If you are interested in doing university-level research, then you could also consider applying to the Lumiere Research Scholar Program, a selective online high school program for students that 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: SEAP banner



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