14 Internships For Animal Lovers

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated February 22, 2021 | Published July 23, 2020

Updated February 22, 2021

Published July 23, 2020

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

If you're interested in an animal-related profession, obtaining a relevant internship provides you with professional, hands-on experience. Internships also sharpen your skills and provide you with the knowledge to succeed in your future animal-related endeavors. Understanding the variety of animal internships available helps narrow down your search and gives you a greater idea of what career you'd like to pursue. In this article, we define animal internships, provide you with a list of steps to obtain this type of position and list several animal internships for you to consider.

What are animal internships?

An animal internship refers to a temporary period of work experience offered by a company or organization that involves working with animals in some capacity. Candidates use these internships to gain experience for future animal-related employment. For example, if you're interested in becoming a veterinarian, an internship in a vet clinic can give you adequate experience for your aspirations. If you want to become a marine biologist, intern at a related institute or marine conservation to gain relevant skills and knowledge.

Related: 18 Popular Jobs That Involve Working With Animals

How to find animal internships

Now that you know what an animal internship is, begin your internship search. Consider the type of animals you want to work with, your passions and your skill set before starting your search. Here are the steps to follow to find a suitable animal internship:

Search online.

Start your internship search using online job boards. No matter the animal-related discipline you're interested in, you should be able to find one you're interested in as several employers post opportunities online. If there's a specific company or organization you want to work for, check the careers page on their website.

Use your school's resources.

If you need extra guidance, refer to your high school's or university's career center or office. A career counselor can lead you to unadvertised or school-exclusive opportunities. It also gives them the chance to introduce you to alumni currently working in your field. Not only does this help you find more opportunities, but it also helps you expand your network.

Find opportunities locally.

Consider looking for an animal internship close to home. Many aquariums, zoos and veterinary clinics offer internship opportunities to qualified candidates. Also, if you plan on working in the same area after your internship, having a local internship may help you get nearby employment since you're already living in the same vicinity.

Communicate with your network.

When you search for an animal internship, use your network to your advantage. Ask them where they worked after school to get some ideas of where to look for an internship. You can also ask them if they know of any opportunities you may be interested in. If you're lucky, they may introduce you to the right person at a relevant organization or company and help you get a qualified animal internship. If you want to expand your network, consider joining one of the many animal-related organizations.

Related: 15 Highest Paying Jobs for Animal Lovers

Should you look for paid or unpaid animal internships?

Internships often offer a wage, stipend, college credit, housing or no reimbursement at all. Whether you look for a paid or unpaid animal internship comes down to your personal preference. Though it's nice to receive compensation for your work, there may be an unpaid opportunity at a well-known organization that offers more experience in the career you want to pursue. Consider the pros and cons of both a paid and unpaid internship as they relate to your future career endeavors. It should ultimately come down to the value the experience would add to your resume.

14 animal internships

Since there are several avenues within the animal field, you have plenty of choices when it comes to internships. Once you've narrowed down the type of internship you'd like, start the application process. Consider the following internships and their primary duties:

1. Animal care intern

Primary duties: Animal care interns work alongside animal keepers as they learn the basics of animal care. They also handle the husbandry of their assigned animals, prepare daily diets and ensure their assigned animals have up-to-date records. Animal care interns may also help with exhibit cleaning and public demonstrations.

2. Animal keeper intern

Primary duties: Animal keeper interns assist with a facility's collection of domestic and exotic animals. They participate in daily care, training and relevant animal-assisted activities. They also learn about these animals through training and animal-based education. Depending on their place of employment, they may also prepare food for a variety of diets, administer medications and assist with setting up animal exhibits.

3. Animal nutritionist intern

Primary duties: Animal nutritionist interns assist animal nutritionists with their daily duties which involve the study of an animal's nutritional needs. They determine these needs based on an animal's age, breed or species. They also determine the nutritional value of an animal's food and attempt to improve an animal's dietary products.

4. Animal shelter intern

Primary duties: Interns at an animal shelter provide care for animals by bathing them, feeding them and playing with them. They also help clean and sanitize animal cages and kennels and assist with other duties as needed.

5. Animal welfare intern

Primary duties: Animal welfare interns perform various duties related to animal well-being. This includes ensuring proper housing, nutrition, disease prevention and humane handling. Animal welfare interns look after a facility's collection of animals, observing their appearance for signs of illness or general discontent. They may also clean and disinfect certain areas of the facility.

6. Aquarist intern

Primary duties: When you intern at an aquarium, you have the opportunity to learn about a variety of fish and marine animals. An aquarist intern's main responsibilities include assisting an aquarist with animal feeding and monitoring the cleanliness and temperature of the animal tanks. They may also clean animal environments as needed.

7. Cattle operations intern

Primary duties: Cattle operations interns gain experience with both cattle handling and cattle health. They perform several duties related to feedlot operations. Some of their responsibilities may include processing incoming cattle and sorting cattle inventory.

8. Equine intern

Primary duties: Equine interns assist with the treatment, assessment and daily care of horses. Though their duties vary by employer, some common responsibilities include grooming and bathing an equine population and providing educational tours. Equine interns may also perform duties related to community outreach.

9. Marine biology intern

Primary duties: A marine biology intern assists marine biologists with species inventory and sea creature testing and monitoring. They also help with collecting ocean samples and testing them for signs of pollutants.

10. Veterinarian intern

Primary duties: Veterinarian interns monitor the well-being of a veterinarian clinic's animals and assist the clinic's senior veterinarian. They help with tasks like veterinarian treatments, surgeries and behavioral observations. Some of their observations include monitoring an animal's feeding, lethargy and body changes. Veterinarian interns also receive mentoring and clinical training from senior staff members.

11. Veterinary pharmaceutical sales intern

Primary duties: Veterinary pharmaceutical sales interns assist veterinary pharmaceutical sales representatives with their daily tasks. This includes following up on leads, recommending products to new and current customers and answering customer questions regarding product pricing and availability.

12. Wildlife rehabilitation intern

Primary duties: Wildlife rehabilitation interns help with the daily care of a variety of animals within a wildlife rehabilitation center. They often hand-feed younger mammals, clean animal enclosures, administer daily medications and prepare food for a variety of species. Wildlife rehabilitation interns work alongside experienced staff members and other volunteers to carry out their duties.

13. Zookeeper intern

Primary duties: Zookeeper interns learn about and perform daily duties related to the care of a zoo facility's animal collection. Their various duties include cleaning and maintaining animal enclosures, feeding and observing animals and handling animals during presentations.

14. Zoology intern

Primary duties: Zoology interns spend time working with animals in captivity. They assist senior-level zoologists with their wildlife research studies. Whether they work in a lab or a zoo, a zoology intern's other duties involve learning about how mammals and reptiles behave.

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