Public health internships are known to be one of the best ways to gain employment in the industry. You will gain relevant knowledge about how organizations function and have the chance to both develop your skills and build your professional network. All internships vary in terms of their length, style and pay, so be sure to do your research before applying.
Public health internships in the UK provide opportunities in both health and social care. Placements can be in hospitals, GP surgeries, research centers or with charity health organizations. Within the health sector, goods and services are provided to patients in the form of preventative, palliative, rehabilitative and curative care. This includes dentistry, pharmaceuticals, rehab and medicine and is one of the largest industries in the world.
Social care refers to the daily care provided by care workers, such as social workers and cares about home personnel.
Many public health and medicine degrees will already have industry placements built into the course. If, however, your course does not, and you are looking for experience in this field, summer internships are relatively common and generally last between 1 -12 weeks. Placements forming part of your degree programme of study are likely to be much longer than this.
Some internships in this field will be paid, whilst others are unpaid but will support you with expenses (such as lunch and travel costs). If you are interested in working abroad through a public health internship, this is available, but you will be working on a voluntary basis and therefore will not be paid during the placement.
How to Find a Public Health Internship
The search tool on this website allows you to search for public health internships by location, category (such as Medicine & Health) and type (internships). At the time of writing, 350 public health internships were advertised globally on the website, 8 of which were located in the UK.
e4s is a convenient place for students looking for an internship in any field. Its search tool allows you to find internships by area, type, and sector, making it an easier way to find health and medical internships.
This organization provides public health internships in international communities. Through these internships, students will take part in a range of experiences, that could include assisting doctors and nurses, shadowing healthcare professionals, educating the community about health and wellness and taking part in hospital rounds. World Endeavors offers internships in locations across all five continents, including Thailand, Vietnam, Ghana, Argentine, and Australia, as well as European destinations.
This organization also offers a range of internships in public health around the world. You will have to pay to take part in one of these placements, however, and prices generally range between $2000-$3000. The benefit of taking on a paid-for internship is that the company will set up the placement for you, ensuring that it is legitimate and that you complete all of the necessary legal steps, such as acquiring a visa, to work in that country. The company will also offer support to you throughout your stay.
A useful website if you are looking for a non-paid volunteering opportunity. Using the search tool, enter the word ‘intern‡ into the keyword box, and you will see all available internships within the charity sector. You are also able to filter the search according to location and industry.
Other job websites, such as Linkedin and Indeed, also feature advertisements for internships in a range of sectors and are definitely worth checking out.
Internships with the NHS
The National Health Service (NHS) is the healthcare system for the UK. As the leading organization for healthcare in the country, and leading employer of healthcare professionals, it is probably the top choice for public health students seeking internship opportunities.
At one of the largest teaching trusts within the NHS, the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, there is the opportunity to participate in the NHS Management Internship Programme. The internship provides an opportunity for experience across a range of clinical services. Interns will assist, advise and help to transform a particular aspect of a clinical service through becoming part of a team within the Trust and through liaison with leaders.
The internship offers a ‘real-world‡ opportunity for students to implement and influence change within a Trust. Therefore, applicants must be enrolled in full-time undergraduate or postgraduate study, or have graduated within the last 12 months. The internship lasts for a minimum of six weeks between July and September. Interns will be remunerated at £250/week.
How to Apply for a Public Health Internship
If you are looking for a work placement as part of your degree programme, it is recommended that you follow the advice of your university to ensure you meet the requirements of your course.
For those seeking summer internships, be aware that these can be advertised as early as the previous September and closing dates will differ. You are advised to start looking and applying for placements as early as possible. When looking at adverts for internships, be sure to look at the job description carefully to ensure that the experience you will be provided with meets your expectations of the placement.
If you are interested in public health internships abroad, these are available. Be sure to use a reliable website to find placements and carefully check the visa requirements for that country. Many organizations, such as Project Abroad, will support you throughout the process, from application through to completion of the internship.