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Duke University
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Unweighted GPA: 3.7
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21 High School Internships in San Diego in 2024

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. 


21 High School Internships in San Diego 


1. Palomar Health Pathmaker Internship


Application Deadline: N/A

Duration: 96 hours


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. Ladder Internship Program


Application Deadline: Varies by cohort. Main summer deadlines are March 15, April 15, and May 15

Duration: 8 weeks for the startup internship 


Ladder Internships is a selective start-up internship program for ambitious high school students! In the program, you work with a high-growth start-up on an internship. Start-ups that offer internships range across a variety of industries from tech/deep tech, AI/ML to health tech, marketing, journalism, consulting, and more.  Ladder’s start-ups are all high-growth companies raising over a million dollars, on average.


Past founders have included YCombinator alums, founders raising over 30 million dollars, or founders who previously worked at Microsoft, Google, and Facebook. In the program, students closely with their managers and a Ladder Coach on real-world projects and present their work to the company.


This program is designed to accommodate your schedule—internships are available throughout the year, and you can also do your work fully remotely. Students can expect to work 10-20 hours per week, for 8-12 weeks. Gap year students are also eligible to participate! Here is the application form.


4. Banfield NextVet


Application Deadline: N/A

Duration: Six to 10 weeks  


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 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. This is a paid opportunity—the hourly rate varies by location, however, all positions start at a minimum of $15 per hour.


5. Scripps Student Research Internship Program


Application Deadline: March 30

Duration: 10 weeks (June 3 – August 9 or June 17 – August 23)


High school, undergraduate, and graduate students explore topics in health sciences, statistics, and computational/computer science in this 10-week internship. Interns are assigned a mentor, under whom they learn about translational research, clinical trials, and the presentation of scientific concepts.


This residential program is extremely competitive—just 40 students are selected to participate annually.


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


Application Deadline: April 5

Duration: Eight weeks (June 17 – August 9) 


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.


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 16.


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


Application Deadline: N/A

Duration: Eight 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.


9. Bank of America Student Leaders


Application Deadline: January 17

Duration: Eight 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.


10. Congressman Scott Peters Internship


Application Deadline: 

  • Spring: December 13 
  • Summer: April 1
  • Fall: August 20 

Duration: Varies 


Scott Peters, congressman from California’s 50th Congressional District, offers both paid and unpaid 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.


11. Pacific Arts Movement Reel Voices


Application Deadline: April 7

Duration: Eight weeks (June 18 – August 10) 


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.


12. Birch Aquarium Volunteer


Application Deadline: Rolling

Duration: Six months


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.


13. 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.


14. 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 16. 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.


15. 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.


16. 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.


17. San Diego History Center Internships


Application Deadline:

  • Winter/Spring: January 15
  • Summer: April 30
  • Fall: September 8

Duration: N/A


The San Diego History Center offers unpaid internships to high school, undergraduate, and graduate students in a wide variety of departments, including Education, Collections, Exhibitions, Marketing, and Development. Interns participate in day-to-day operations and receive mentorship, attend breakout sessions, and have access to the museum’s public programming.


Students must be at least 15 years old to intern.


18. The San Diego Museum of Art Teen Council


Application Deadline: N/A

Duration: October – May


Students can take on a collaborative role at the San Diego Museum with this unique opportunity. Participants work with museum staff to develop programming, implement a workshop, and provide feedback on existing museum programs.


The program is open to high schoolers in grades 9 through 12 and is limited to 30 participants.


19. La Jolla Playhouse Internships


Application Deadline: March 15

Duration: Eight weeks (June 11 – August 9)


The La Jolla Playhouse has a variety of open summer internship opportunities in fields ranging from management to marketing to production for recently graduated high schoolers. Participants work side by side with experienced artists, administrators, and technicians, getting an up-close look at the production of musicals and plays.


Interns are asked to commit to working 30 hours a week and are compensated San Diego’s minimum wage.


20. DPR Build Up High School Internship


Application Deadline: April 12

Duration: Eight weeks


Rising high school juniors and seniors, along with recent grads, can gain first-hand experience in the construction industry through this awesome internship. Participants work on a major commercial construction project while learning about planning, scheduling, design, and the wide range of professional roles involved in large building projects.


Interns work between 30 and 40 hours a week and are paid an hourly rate. Transportation stipends are available to students with demonstrated financial need.


21. Media Arts Center San Diego Internship


Application Deadline: N/A

Duration: N/A


This internship program places students in a variety of fields, including film, education, social media, marketing, nonprofit management, and arts administration. The program is open to San Diego high schoolers and provides students with personal experience working for a nonprofit and making a difference in the community while helping them build valuable professional skills like communication.


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!


Disclaimer: This post includes content sponsored by Lumiere Education.

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.