Internships - Getting Experience
Experience, experience, experience. It is impossible to overemphasize the impact that experience will have on your success. It is crucial that you obtain as much professional experience as possible. There are countless avenues for obtaining that experience, you are only limited by your energy and resourcefulness. A few general areas to think about exploring and to organize your search:
  • Zoos and Aquariums (accredited and otherwise)
  • Animal Shelters & SPCA
  • Government Agencies
    • Federal agencies, such as USFWS & USDA
    • State agencies, such as the Game Commission and DCNR
  • Museums (natural history, natural sciences, etc.)
  • Retail pet trade, kennels, local trainers
  • Park systems - often hire naturalists and environmental educators
    • Federal parks (such as Yellowstone)
    • Parks run by your state, county or city
  • Wildlife refuges (associated with US Fish and Wildlife Service)
  • Wildlife rehabilitation centers
  • Private centers, such as the Audubon Societies.
  • Societies - for birds, mammals, herps, conservation, etc. - these often post jobs, sign up for their newsletters

In addition, there are a great many other organizations that offer valuable experience. Some provide housing or a stipend, others are volunteer. For more information on any particular program, use the links below.

Zoos and Aquariums

Association of Zoos and Aquariums - Job Listings  Job listings for all accredited zoos and aquariums are posted here, a great place to get started.
American Association of Zoo Keepers - Job Board  AAZK "Opportunity Knocks" board, zoo keeper jobs and internships.

  Wildlife Parks, Refuges & Wildlife Research Organizations

National Park Service Job information available but you have to dig. Try going to individual park sites as well or government job boards.
USAJobs Database of all federal jobs, including wildlife openings. Limited utility.
National Wildlife Refuge System Excellent opportunities are available. Explained and cross-listed under USFWS below. 

US Fish and Wildlife Service

This link opens a new browser window that in turn offers multiple links and some suggestions for finding opportunities.
Hawk Mountain Fantastic place, offers semester-long research internships with housing and pay.
PRBO Point Reyes Bird Observatory - multiple internships, stipends available
Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Internships with herps sometimes available if you search the site.
Institute for Bird Populations Offers internships with training, housing, and a stipend.
The Wetlands Institute Salt marsh ecology, internships in chelonian biology, education, aquarist assistants

NSF REU listing

The mother lode of academic research internships, usually paid, sponsored by the National Science Foundation (research experiences for undergrads)

Wildlife Rehabilitation

National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association General information on careers, explanations of the field, and useful links.
Possumwood Acres Wildlife Sanctuary Interns will receive intense rehabilitation training focusing on native wildlife.
NWRA Job Listings Searchable, national job listings, you can choose the search criteria - an excellent resource.
Environmental Jobs & Careers Job and internship opportunities, but the site is very broad - not limited to wildlife.
Wildlife Internship Listing Good listing of rehab and other internships, hosted by the University of Vermont.
Marine Mammal Stranding Center Volunteer opportunities for those that want marine mammal experience.

State Organizations

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR)

 
State agency for conservation, includes links to all Pennsylvania state parks. There are similar agencies in each state although the precise name and organization will vary.
State Wildlife Agencies This page provides links to the game commissions in each state in the US and the provinces of Canada. Note that some states may have other relevant agencies in addition to the ones listed. For example, PA has the DCNR, game commission, and fish and boat commission - all with different jurisdictions.

Other Sites

Wildlife Job Postings at TAMU An outstanding site maintained at Texas A&M University. Great listings of permanent & temporary positions, internships, and other links.
NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates Listing of all NSF-REU sponsored research opportunities nationally, paid research internships.

USDA Current Job Openings

USDA Student Opportunities, internships, and Scholarships

The USDA offers a number of openings related to wildlife, animal control, and animal welfare. Often overlooked.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) National Network for Environmental Management Studies (NNEMS), environmental fellowships
Institute for Wildlife Studies Some seasonal and full-time positions, also picked up at the Texas A&M job board.
Dolphin Research Center Unpaid internships in FL working with dolphins and/or sea lions.
Bottlenose Dolphin Research Institute BDRI

BDRI engages people worldwide in scientific projects to participate as students, volunteers in hands-on research with wild bottlenose dolphins in Sardinia, Italy.

National Audubon Society Explore the state Audubon societies as well for opportunities close to home.
Student Conservation Association Diverse conservation positions from around the country. Volunteer although some pay living expenses. Youth Conservation Corps in some states hire upperclassmen or recent grads to direct their youth corps (see state chapters of interest and make an inquiry).
Ornithological Societies of America Listings primarily on birds (of course!). Good site for summer internships and biological technician positions.

We welcome any feedback or suggestions you may have for improving our Career tools. Please email comments to: support@animaledu.com. Enjoy!


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