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20 High School Internships in San Diego in 2023

What’s Covered:


Internships provide high school students with a multitude of benefits. For example, internships allow high schoolers to build skills, gain work experience, and start building a network of professional contacts. They also allow students to explore career paths, meet like-minded peers, and, in the case of paid internships, start earning money for college. Another benefit of internships is that they look great on a college application!


San Diego high schoolers can find a variety of available internships in fields ranging from healthcare to engineering to athletics. Below are just a few of the excellent opportunities in the area.


20 High School Internships in San Diego


1. Palomar Health Pathmaker Internship


Application deadline: Rolling

Duration: 96 hours over a variable time frame


High school students between ages 16 and 18 with an interest in healthcare careers will want to check out this opportunity. Interns assist with daily operations, including tasks like delivering food, transporting specimens, performing exercises, interacting with patients, and executing administrative duties. Opportunities are primarily focused on the following areas:


  • Acute care
  • Progressive care
  • Imaging
  • Rehabilitation
  • Intensive care
  • Emergency


Interns go through 16 hours of training/orientation and are subsequently expected to commit to four hours of weekly service and a total of 96 hours by the completion of the program.


2. Rady Children’s Hospital FACES for the Future


Application deadline: N/A

Duration: N/A


This program for students from San Diego’s City Heights neighborhood is aimed at introducing young people to careers in healthcare. Students begin the program in their sophomore year of high school and continue it through graduation.


Participants gain work experience, connect with mentors, and build valuable life skills. The program also has an academic component, which refers students to tutoring, provides college advising, and offers enrichment activities like skill-building workshops.


3. Banfield NextVet


Application deadline: N/A

Duration: N/A


High schoolers interested in a veterinary career will be interested to learn about the NextVet program from Banfield Pet Hospitals. NextVet is open to students over the age of 16 in a variety of cities where Banfield operates, including San Diego. Participants are given the opportunity to shadow veterinarians and veterinary technicians, explore a variety of aspects of the veterinary industry, and connect with Banfield’s senior executives.


This is an ideal opportunity for students with an interest in animals and science, as well as multitaskers, like those who can cuddle a kitten while simultaneously scratching them behind their ears.


4. Scripps Research Summer High School Internship Program


Application deadline: April 3, 2023

Duration: 8 weeks (June 19 – August 11, 2023)


Students explore contemporary issues in biomedical research, gain hands-on laboratory experience, and meet mentors through this well-regarded high school internship program. The program aims to increase the number of students choosing careers in biological and chemical sciences—particularly first-generation college students and students from backgrounds underrepresented in science.


The program is open to high schoolers who are San Diego residents over the age of 16, with a minimum 3.0 GPA, who’ve completed high school biology. Interns are asked to commit 40 hours a week to the program.


5. Heithoff-Brody High School Scholars Program at the Salk Institute


Application deadline: April 7, 2023

Duration: 8 weeks (June 20 – August 11, 2023)


The Heithoff-Brody High School Scholars Program at the Salk Institute is a paid eight-week internship that provides high schoolers with the chance to perform research and build the skills needed for a career in STEM.


The program is open to San Diego residents over the age of 16, with a minimum 2.75 GPA, who’ve completed high school biology and chemistry. Interns are asked to commit 30 to 40 hours a week to the program.


6. Northrop Grumman High School Technical Intern


Application deadline: N/A

Duration: N/A


Aspiring engineers will want to look into this opportunity with the aerospace and defense technology company Northrop Grumman. Interns work with developers and customers while developing numerous engineering competencies, such as:


  • Embedded software engineering
  • Digital circuit design
  • Agile software development
  • DevOps
  • Integration and testing
  • Software automation


The program is open to high school seniors over the age of 16 who’ve completed the Northrop Grumman HIP Mentoring Program. Successful candidates will have a minimum GPA of 3.0 and plan on majoring in engineering, physics, math, cybersecurity, computer science, or a closely related field.


7. JCVI Summer Internship Program


Application deadline: N/A

Duration: 10 to 15 weeks


This summer internship aims to provide the next generation of great scientists with mentors. Interns work with a dedicated mentor on a research project tailored to their academic experience, gain real-world knowledge of technology and equipment, and build a network of world-class scientists. They’ll also attend seminars designed to help them build both their scientific and soft skills.


Internships are open to extremely motivated high school, undergraduate, and graduate students over the age of 18.


8. Coffman Engineers Fire Protection Engineering Intern


Application deadline: N/A

Duration: N/A


Coffman Engineers is looking for a fire protection engineering intern to work out of their San Diego office. This paid position is open to graduating seniors planning to enroll full-time in a fire protection engineering program.


The ideal intern will have previously completed an engineering internship, possess strong communication skills, be detail-oriented and organized, and have a working knowledge of AutoCAD, Revit, or Bluebeam.


9. Department of Navy (DoN) Science and Engineering Apprenticeship Program (SEAP)


Application deadline: N/A

Duration: 8 weeks


SEAP places talented students with an interest in science and engineering in eight-week internships. Interns work in one of more than 30 DoN labs—including the Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific in San Diego—performing research under the mentorship of top scientists and engineers. Interns gain real-world research experience and explore potential career paths in science, technology, and research and development.


This is a paid opportunity; new participants earn $4,000 over the eight weeks, and returning participants earn $4,500. These internships are available to high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors who are over the age of 16 and U.S. citizens.


10. Bank of America Student Leaders


Application deadline: January 12, 2023

Duration: 8 weeks


By definition, the Bank of America Student Leaders Program isn’t an internship; rather, the prestigious program connects students to paid internships at nonprofits in their local communities. More than 300 students participate in the program annually from over 100 areas, including San Diego.


The program is open to high school juniors and seniors living in eligible markets. It concludes with an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., where participants will attend the weeklong Student Leaders Summit.


11. Congressman Scott Peters Internship


Application deadline: N/A

Duration: N/A


Scott Peters, congressman from California’s 50th Congressional District, offers internships to high school seniors in his San Diego office. Interns assist in a variety of day-to-day activities, including answering phones, writing letters, and responding to constituents. Interns may also engage in community outreach, assisting with constituent casework and district-based projects.


12. Pacific Arts Movement Reel Voices


Application deadline: April 10, 2023

Duration: 8 weeks (June 20 – August 10, 2023)


Over the course of eight weeks, Reel Voices teaches high school students all the stages of documentary filmmaking and shows them how they can become socially conscious storytellers. Under the guidance of an experienced filmmaker, students are encouraged to explore storytelling techniques and styles to create thought-provoking and inspiring films.


The program culminates in a showcase of the students’ films at the San Diego Asian Film Festival. Students are also invited to a gala where they’ll be recognized by the public for their projects, and where they will receive a $500 scholarship.


13. Marine Technology Society (MTS) Summer Internship


Application deadline: May 1, 2023

Duration: 6 weeks


This program connects students with paid six-week internships with MTS-San Diego corporate sponsors. Past sponsors include:


  • BAE Systems
  • Deep Sea Power & Light
  • Hubbs-Seaworld
  • Lockheed Martin
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
  • Scripps Institution


Interns are expected to work four hours a week over the course of the internship. During this internship, participants will gain hands-on experience with science and technology, and will build scientific, technical, and career skills under the supervision of a mentor.


14. Birch Aquarium Volunteer


Application deadline: N/A

Duration: Minimum 6 weeks


Volunteer opportunities are open to students at the Birch Aquarium—volunteers range from students to working adults to retired professionals. Volunteers assist with a variety of duties, such as guiding guests through exhibits, answering questions, and facilitating animal encounters. Volunteers are asked to commit to a minimum of six months of service and work one four-hour shift per week.


15. The Nat High School Internships


Application deadline: N/A

Duration: N/A


The San Diego Natural History Museum, also known as The Nat, offers unpaid internships to high school students over 16. Interns rotate through three science departments—Entomology, Paleontology, and Botany—while receiving training and guidance. Ideal candidates have a strong interest in science and the natural world, and will have completed a biology course.


16. Fleet Science Center Volunteer


Application deadline: N/A

Duration: N/A


The Fleet Science Center—a science museum and planetarium in San Diego’s Balboa Park—has a number of volunteer opportunities available to high schoolers. Positions include working with one of the center’s exhibitions, in its store, or with one of its multiple departments and programs.


The program is open to students over the age of 15. Volunteers are asked to commit to working two shifts per month. A handful of perks are available to volunteers, such as free admission, a discount at the store and cafe, and the chance to meet fascinating people from across the globe.


17. San Diego County Sheriff’s Department Student Worker


Application deadline: Rolling

Duration: N/A


High schoolers can get a close-up look at careers in law enforcement and public service through the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department Student Worker program. This paid program is open to full-time high school students with a minimum 2.0 GPA.


18. San Diego Youth Jobs Corps


Application deadline: Rolling

Duration: N/A


Youth Jobs Corps aims to connect low-income, former foster, justice-involved, and unemployed youth with local government and community-based organizations tackling issues like COVID-19 recovery, food insecurity, and climate action. In addition to employment, participants gain access to services like resume preparation and job training intended to ensure future success.


Priority is given to applicants between the ages of 16 and 30 who may have difficulty finding employment due to:


  • Transitioning from the foster care system
  • Involvement in the justice system
  • Engagement with the mental health or substance abuse system
  • Low income
  • Unemployment and/or being out of school


19. San Diego Sockers


Application deadline: Rolling

Duration: N/A


San Diego students with an interest in pursuing a career in professional athletics will want to connect with the indoor soccer franchise known as the San Diego Sockers. The 16-time champion Sockers provide internships to high schoolers with an interest in sports. To be considered for an internship, you’ll need to submit a resume and tell the club about your career goals and why you want to intern with the Sockers.


20. San Diego Zoo Conservation Career Quest


Application deadline: N/A

Duration: N/A


This program at the world-renowned San Diego Zoo introduces students to careers in conservation. Participants learn from experts in a variety of fields, including:


  • Pathology
  • Genetics
  • Veterinary medicine
  • Animal behavior
  • Reproductive physiology
  • Ecology
  • Zoology
  • Horticulture


The program is open to high school juniors and seniors with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Participants must also demonstrate a commitment to the environment and conservation.


How Do Internships Impact Your College Chances?


The influence your participation in extracurricular activities, like internships, has on your college chances varies depending on their impressiveness. A good method for understanding how colleges view your activities outside of the classroom is the 4 tiers of extracurriculars.


Tier 1 and Tier 2 are typically reserved for the most attention-grabbing and rare extracurricular activities. Consequently, these tiers hold the most sway over college admissions. Tier 3 and Tier 4 activities are more common, less prestigious, and have less of an impact on college admission odds.


Generally, any given internship will fall under Tier 2 or 3, depending on the internship’s selectivity and prestige, as well as the responsibilities interns have to take on. Internships are less common than typical Tier 4 activities, but are not quite as rare and distinguished as typical Tier 1 activities.


CollegeVine’s free chancing engine can help you gain a better understanding of your college profile and of the impact factors—like your participation in internships—have on your chances of admission. It can also estimate your odds of getting into hundreds of colleges across the country!

Short Bio
A graduate of Northeastern University with a degree in English, Tim Peck currently lives in Concord, New Hampshire, where he balances a freelance writing career with the needs of his two Australian Shepherds to play outside.