Internships: Get Exposure, Gain Experience, Become Competitive

When I first entered college I knew immediately that I wanted to work in the health field. Most of my life I looked up to the health professionals that I was exposed to growing up—nurses and doctors. But I didn’t feel that a clinical setting was right for me and I quickly became discouraged. I felt that my dream of working in the health field was not possible, and suddenly I wasn't sure how to move forward with my education and career planning. I had no clue what other career options existed for someone like me.

Until I gained my first summer internship.

There are so many career options and paths available to you—public health, policy, administration, clinical care, health IT, social work, health education, planning, and much much more. Growing up I had no direct exposure to much of these fields on a day-to-day basis. 

Internships can be the solution. Internships can provide this exposure and help you make informed decisions about YOUR career. 

So why should you apply for an internship? 

Maybe you...

  • Aren’t quite sure what career path you want to embark on
  • Think you have an idea of your ideal profession, but need exposure to the ins and out of the field
  • Lack marketable skills or experience, or would like to strengthen existing skills
  • Would like exposure to something completely new

As you see, most people could benefit and advance their career goals by participating in an internship.

For me, I learned that I could still pursue a career that was aligned with my passions and skill set, even if I didn't want to be a clinician. I found direction, and more importantly the tools to start creating my own path. 

An internship can provide:

  • Insight into the day-to-day experiences and life of professionals in the field you aspire to join
  • Knowledge to make an informed decision about the direction of your career path
  • The opportunity to develop a meaningful relationship with a mentor 
  • Skills and work experience that will make you competitive when entering the job market or applying to graduate programs

If you have time in your schedule during the summer months, there are many programs that provide summer internships in a variety of settings.

The time to apply is now. 

Health Career Connection provided me with my first summer internship during college at the Santa Cruz County Public Health Department. This was my first exposure to the field of public health, and launched the career that I am living now.

HCC places talented, diverse undergraduate students in PAID summer internships that provide them with invaluable exposure, experience, and mentoring to pursue health careers. The Program includes:

  • A paid, full-time 10 week placement in a host organization. Interns work under the direction of a preceptor that serves as the primary supervisor and mentor. Interns work on meaningful projects that are educational for the student and benefit the organization and its community. Interns also learn about the how the organization is structured and operates and about the roles of administrative and clinical professionals.
  • Workshops on key professional and personal development topics including: leadership, advocacy, cultural competence, life and career planning and graduate education preparation.
  • Site visits to a diverse set of intern host organizations to provide exposure to multiple settings and leaders
  • Peer support and network among interns within and across regions who share similar interests, passions and career decision dilemmas but come from diverse backgrounds and experiences
  • Mentoring from HCC’s team
  • Connections to top graduate schools in public health and medicine for assistance with preparation
  • Support from HCC’s network of alumni and professionals during and after the internship

HCC recruits nationally and within regions for interns. HCC’s key focus is finding the best fit between intern passions, goals and capabilities and organizations needs and learning opportunities.

If you are interested in learning more about Health Career Connection you can visit or apply today. The deadline to apply is December 20, 2017 11:59 PST. You still have time!

Explore all of your options

There are internship programs and opportunities across the country that offer invaluable experience and skills in a variety of fields and settings. 

To start exploring your options visit our NEW Internships page at

Here you can learn more about:

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