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Any career in medicine or public health puts you in important, life-or-death situations. So, if you’re asking how to get a public health internship, then you’re going to be doing work that matters. However, if you want to go where your work can make a difference, you should be asking how to get an internship in public health with a nonprofit.

Public health NGO internships are some of the most impactful public health internships you can find. They let you travel to places in the world where medical access is restricted, and they provide people with the help they need.

All the while, they provide you with skill development, learning opportunities, and real-world experience, and they will communicate a global mindset and philanthropic attitude to future employers. There are so many reasons why it’s worthwhile to do an NGO internship.

However, public health requirements can be strict. So, in this article, we’ll run through all the steps to get a nonprofit internship in public health. We’ll answer questions like: What internships can public health majors get? Where to find public health internships? And how much does it cost to intern in public health?

6 Steps to Get a Nonprofit Internship in Public Health

1. Set your goals

Working out how to find a public health internship can be arduous and time-consuming. The process will be quicker and easier if you have clearly defined goals and priorities to serve as your compass.

Ask what kind of careers you’d like to explore, what topics you’d like to learn more about, and what kind of experience you’d like to gain.

Additionally, an important part of how to get an internship in public health with a nonprofit is working out what cause is closest to your heart. What internships can public health majors get in the nonprofit sector? You could contribute to important work helping aids, washing, mental health, or public health education

2. Research opportunities

The next step in how to find a public health internship is to discover what kind of internships are for public health majors.

You might have a school or college teacher who can advise you on where to find public health internships. Otherwise, you’ll find plenty on Google.

Remember, not every internship in public health is created equal. Some might not provide the experience you are after. So, it’s important to check these key areas:

  • What task will you be involved with?
  • What skill development and tuition will you receive?
  • What are the public health internship requirements?
  • What mentorship will be available?
  • How much does it cost to intern in public health?
a medical technician working in a laboratory

3. Seek advice

Now that you have an idea of what internships can public health majors get, it can be useful to reach out for advice.

A college professor, school teacher, or employer can offer guidance on the career development you should seek. It can also be useful to talk things over with friends, family, or those who know you on a personal level.

Alternatively, you could get some expert advice and get in touch with us. We can talk you through all the options available and where to find public health internships that fit your goals.

4. Make a shortlist

Now it’s time to start narrowing down your options. Take all the options you found and start assessing them critically. How well do they support your goals? Does the work align well with your values?

Another important factor to consider is the logistics. Primarily, do you meet the public health internship requirements? Then, paid public health NGO internships are rare. So, you’ll have to figure out how much it costs to intern in public health and how much you can afford.

5. Prepare materials

This is one of the most important steps to get a nonprofit internship in public health. Your application will be your first impression. Make sure you get off on the right foot.

Personalize both your CV and cover letter for every public health internship you apply for. Your CV should highlight your relevant skills and experience and respond to the public health internship requirements included in the listing.

Your cover letter should outline why you are drawn to the opportunity personally, how it will benefit your career, and, vitally, what value you can bring to the organization.

a woman sitting while using laptop

6. Interview

No one likes them but interviews are an inevitable part of how to get an internship in public health with a nonprofit, and indeed, how to get a public health internship of any kind.

The best advice we can offer, though, is to remember that this is your opportunity to get to know the organization you’ll be working with too. Prepare a few questions and make sure the public health internship is a good fit for you, not just vice versa.

3 Common Questions about Public Health Internships

What Skills and Experience Can I Gain With a Public Health Internship?

Public health NGO internships can provide varied learning experiences, depending on the program. In any case, though, you’ll equip individuals with valuable skills essential to medicine or care careers.

Interns can engage in hands-on research, honing their abilities in data analysis and interpretation. They might participate in the planning and execution of health programs, gaining practical insights into program management, evaluation, and implementation. Furthermore, the internship fosters the development of effective communication skills through community outreach and education initiatives.

How Much Does It Cost to Intern in Public Health?

The financial aspects of an internship in public health can vary widely, influenced by factors like location, organization, and the nature of the internship itself.

While some internships offer stipends or compensation, many are unpaid. It’s important to note that various scholarships and grants are often available to support aspiring public health professionals in pursuing these opportunities. So, when researching, try to focus on where to find public health internships in budget-friendly destinations.

Furthermore, many of the countries where your work can make the biggest impact also tend to be budget-friendly destinations where interns can expect very low living costs.

a book, stethoscope and pencil laid on top of the table

What Kind of Internships Are There for Public Health Majors?

Public health majors can explore a diverse array of internship opportunities to find learning experiences that fit their interests and goals. Have a look through our best public health internships in 2023 to get an idea.

Research internships can provide practical scientific research experience on cutting-edge investigations, while community health outreach positions allow direct interaction with diverse populations. Additionally, involvement in global health initiatives broadens perspectives, fostering a comprehensive understanding of public health challenges on a global scale.

4 Public Health Internships to Consider

Mental and Physical Health Development Internship in Cambodia

Here’s a great opportunity for those wondering how to get a psychology internship too. Join a fantastic organization in Siem Reap, Cambodia, that provides holistic education and developmental support to impoverished children.

This organization aims to reduce poverty in the region by improving education around key issues like nutrition, health, employable skills, and personal finance. As an intern, you’ll help to improve the organization’s mental or physical development by training their local team of social workers.

Community Healthcare Internship in Peru

Travel to the Peruvian Amazon and work in the local health center of a remote, rural community. This is a versatile internship where you’ll gain hands-on experience in healthcare provision, specializing in a range of departments depending on your experience and interests.

You’ll join an organization whose focus is supporting sustainable development in these rural communities. As part of their work, they provide medical support to the Puerto Inca Province, which struggles with poor infrastructure, overcrowding, and limited resources.

a doctor checking a local in a community

HIV Health Support Internship in Malawi

Live and work in the “Warm Heart of Africa,” where you’ll engage in truly meaningful, fulfilling work. One of the top reasons to do an internship in Malawi is for community integration. This program is a great opportunity for just that.

This internship places you with an organization that organizes group support sessions for those who are HIV-positive. You’ll play an important role in devising and implementing educational programs around sexual health, as well as planning and hosting support sessions.

Healthcare Internship in South Africa

Here’s an ideal opportunity for pre-med students looking to gain insight into public healthcare systems and what it’s like to work as part of them. You’ll join an organization based in Cape Town, South Africa, that works to support regions where governmental services struggle to meet health care needs.

Your internship could involve you in a variety of areas, depending on the organization’s needs at the time and your interests. You could assist medical professionals and observe their work, provide hospice or therapeutic support, or help relieve departments of administrative burden.

Why should you do a Public Health Internship with a Nonprofit?

Working out how to get a public health internship is a smart career choice. Working out how to get an internship in public health with a nonprofit is more than that. Public health NGO internships go beyond conventional work experience. They enable interns to travel to regions with limited medical access and make a tangible impact on global health disparities.

While navigating the steps to get a nonprofit internship in public health may involve challenges, the rewards, both personally and professionally, are immeasurable.

If you’d like help with these challenges, let Roots be the one you turn to. With Roots, you’ll receive comprehensive guidance and support from nonprofit internship specialists, helping you find your ideal public health internship.

Browse all Public Health Internships available with Roots