As baby boomers age, they will need an increasing number of public health workers to take care of their needs. Individuals who are knowledgeable about pollution and environmental contaminants will be able to play a large role in shaping the approach the country takes to their health and how disease spreads.
To develop a strong career in the field of public health, individuals should first get an undergraduate or graduate degree in public health. With a competitive job market, every year of schooling directly impacts how successful a career can be. During or after school, students should start a public health internship. These internships give them the hands-on experience that makes it easier to find a paying job later on.
What is a Public Health Internship?
As most students know, an internship is like a job that does not pay. Some might provide a stipend, but most will not pay the amount that a normal career would. Luckily, an internship offers a significant level of benefits to the interns. It gives them experience in the field and helps interns to network with all of the people around them. Many internship programs will also grant college credit so students can work toward their degree and career goals at the same time.
Public health internships require students who have at least a couple of years of schooling. They must meet minimum GPA and test score requirements. Much like a college application, internships may require a student to turn in references, essays and supporting documents. Each public health internship program is trying to find the best applicant possible. The better the grades and experience level of the applicant, the more likely the applicant is to receive the internship position.
Before starting a public health internship, consider the different fields it can be in. Someone who wants to be a researcher should try an internship in the field of pandemics or lab work. Future clinicians or counselors should try to find an internship in the field of counseling. When a student chooses an internship that matches their interests, they create a more successful internship experience. It also enables them to gain skills in the field that they actually want to pursue in the future.
Finding a Public Health Internship
Start looking for a public health internship at the college’s career center. A career counselor can inform students about openings in the area and point them the right way. Often, businesses will visit college career centers to get help in finding interns. Students who visit the career center are more likely to find an internship that matches up with their field.
Students should always look into local and federal government agencies. Many government programs have spots designed for interns. These programs will generally have very strict deadlines and application procedures. When applying for these internships, always remember that the process is almost exactly the same as applying for a job. Students will need to turn in a resume, cover letter and interview for the position. Professors will often need to provide professional recommendations for the student to be placed in the internship.
Many students have also found success by seeking internships at local clinics, non-profits and professional organizations in their area. These locations offer each student the chance to find a public health internship that matches up with their particular skill-set.