14 Types of Internships for Medical Students

Debra Riley


Internships can be a great opportunity for a person to gain experience in a certain type of work. For medical students, internships usually include teaching, research, and lab work.

If you are in medical school, consider taking an internship in an interesting field to gain valuable skills and experience.

In this article, we’ll discuss why internships for medical students are beneficial and the 14 types of medical school internships.

Let’s get started.

medical internships

Why are internships for pre-med students beneficial?

In many professions, internships can allow students or other professionals to learn about their field. Internships for pre-med students can be especially beneficial, allowing students to get hands-on experience in the healthcare field.

This can include anything from defending health care policy to learning about brain science.

Pursuing a pre-med degree equips students with the foundational knowledge and skills needed for medical school and a successful career in healthcare.

Here are some of the benefits of internships for pre-med students:

  1. It develops knowledge of health care: the health care industry is vast and complex, involving many different fields and specialties. A pre-med internship can allow a student to learn about this multifaceted industry, including its standards and principles.
  2. You learn skills to succeed in health care: certain skills allow health care professionals to succeed in their jobs, such as patience, attention to detail, and teamwork. Completing an internship can allow medical students to practice these skills with the help of others.
  3. You gain experience in a specific area: Pre-Medic students can complete an internship to gain hands-on experience in an area of interest to them. They can learn proper terminology and best practices in a particular field, such as pediatrics, women’s health, or cancer care.
  4. You may determine which career to choose: There are many different positions in health care, including physician, registered nurse, travel nurse, staff nurse, dentist, surgeon, psychiatrist and internist. Completing an internship can allow a medical student to determine which career path he or she wants to pursue.
  5. You can find out if you like the healthcare field: like internships in other fields, pre-med internships can help a student determine if they like the medical environment at all. They may find that they are passionate about another field, such as art, science or marketing.
  6. You get an income: Since pre-med internships are usually paid, students can earn an income while getting all the other benefits of the position. Depending on the internship, they may also be eligible for travel reimbursement, paid housing and free meals, which can help them pay their medical school bills and save money for the future.
  7. It updates your resume. An internship can be a great addition to your resume and impress future potential employers. Whether you pursue a career in medicine or not, an internship shows that you’ve gained valuable skills and knowledge from an experienced professional.
  8. You build your professional network: Pre-Med internships usually involve students following an experienced healthcare professional through their daily duties and learning how they overcome challenges. Students also often meet other professionals and peers who can help them expand their professional connections.

14 Types of Internships for Medical Students

Pre-Medic students are all students who plan to go to medical school in the future. Medical school is an institution of higher learning that teaches health care and is usually authorized to award students professional degrees, such as Ph. Pre-Medic students can study in a variety of fields, but usually take certain courses that may allow them to enter medical school.

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Internships are recommended for Pre-Medic students because many medical schools require them to do so. Internships are usually temporary or seasonal, but they can provide many benefits to pre-med students. They can also take internships in their field of interest to learn more about it. Here are some types of pre-med internships:

1. Pre-Med Summer Internships

Pre-Med summer internships, sometimes called externships, are specifically for Pre-Medical students who are considering going to medical school. They are usually held at hospitals, universities, or other health care facilities and may involve various health care departments.

Pre-Med summer interns work over the summer following a physician and performing their daily duties, such as communicating with patients, completing reports, performing exams, and operating medical equipment.

2. Clinical Laboratory Intern

The clinical laboratory intern works in the laboratory to conduct research, experiments, observational studies, and other scientific methodologies. They collect, record, organize, test, analyze, interpret, and discuss medical data to learn more about and solve medical problems.

They usually assist more advanced professionals in ongoing research and perform statistical analyses, design surveys, and plan studies.

3. Cancer Treatment Organization Intern

Medical students interested in treating and curing cancer can apply for internships with cancer treatment organizations such as the American Cancer Society or the National Cancer Institute.

These internships can include conducting biomedical research and studying epidemiology, biostatistics and genetics to understand and learn how and why cancer affects the human body. There are many organizations that do cancer research and provide comfort to cancer patients and their families.

4. Brain Science Intern

Brain science, or neuroscience, studies and learns how the human brain functions. Brain science can help medical professionals treat brain injuries, understand human behavior and cognitive function, treat mental disorders and developmental disorders, and study the human nervous system. Brain science interns can learn about the following topics:

  • Modeling: representation of the human brain
  • Neuroanatomy: the structure of the human brain
  • Neural coding: brain activity
  • Human cell types: cells such as stem cells, bone cells, blood cells, muscle cells, fat cells, skin cells, and nerve cells.
  • Flow cytometry: measuring physical and chemical characteristics of cells
  • Data science: understanding programming and data
  • Bioinformatics: collecting and interpreting biological data such as genetic codes.
  • Electrophysiology: electrical activity of the heart
  • Immunology: the study of the immune system

5. Political Intern

The political intern is usually responsible for studying public issues and legislation, attending conferences, policy forums and hearings, writing on topics related to politics and health care reform, and conducting landscape analysis.

They can learn about media relations and how to promote and shape public discussion of health policy. Typically, those in this role are interested in helping to improve society through physical and mental health policy.

6. Red Cross Intern

A Red Cross intern works for the American Red Cross and learns about their humanitarian mission of providing health care to those in need. Red Cross interns provide medical services locally and nationally by working with donors, volunteers, and staff.

The primary mission of the Red Cross is to promote blood donation to save patients’ lives. They also provide disaster relief, training and certification services, and international assistance.

7. Education Intern

The educational intern works for an organization that promotes knowledge about health practices, medical problems, and the well-being of others. This may be a school, university, community center, or other organization dedicated to the dissemination of educational materials.

Educational interns may be responsible for coordinating curricula, creating curricula, and using technology to engage their audiences and encourage learning.

medical internship programs

8. Nonprofit Intern

A nonprofit intern works for a nonprofit health care organization, a group that does not make a profit and is usually dedicated to advancing a social cause. Nonprofit interns learn about how nonprofit organizations work and how they receive funding from foundations or other donors.

They can learn about grant writing by asking the organization for funding. Nonprofit interns usually help with outreach and community programs.

9. Cooperative Intern

Similar to a nonprofit organization, a cooperative is a group of people working together to meet common needs and goals. Cooperative members usually donate their time and effort to the activities of the cooperative organization. Their goals are usually to build a more inclusive and equitable economy.

A cooperative trainee may conduct research in a particular area of health care, as well as explore ethics and health disparities in the medical field. Co-ops may focus on improving access to health care for a certain group of people.

10. STEM Intern

The STEM intern deals with the scientific, technological, engineering and mathematical components of health care issues, products and services. They may study molecular biology, plant and animal cell and tissue mechanics, bioengineering, biochemistry and biophysics, and computational biology.

They can also help develop nanotechnology and devices that can help treat disease and injury.

11. Pharmacology Intern

Pharmacology studies drugs and how they affect human health. Medical students can complete an internship in pharmacology to learn important information about how certain drugs work and how doctors can use drugs to treat diseases and injuries in patients. Their research may include toxicology and biological chemistry.

12. Diversity Inclusion Intern

A diversity intern works for an organization that focuses on health access and health education for a certain minority group. Those in this position may research health disparities and the causes of health problems in certain communities. They may also promote public education through courses, pamphlets, and other materials.

13. Health Administration Intern

A health administration intern learns about the workings of a hospital, outpatient clinic, doctor’s office, or other health care facility. They usually perform clerical tasks such as collecting data and writing reports.

They may also learn how to use databases and other health care software to record patient information. Internships in health care administration can be a great opportunity for medical students to get a job as an administrative assistant in health care or other fields.

14. Environmental Health Intern

The environmental hygiene intern examines environmental problems and the impact of human actions, such as pollution, on environmental resources. This may include water and air quality, sanitation, and waste disposal. Unlike human health, environmental health often has a direct impact on physical and community health.

This also includes the same skills that professionals use in the medical field, such as data collection, scientific experimentation, and research.

In Conclusion

Internships for medical students can provide a multitude of benefits, ranging from gaining knowledge and skill in a particular area to making valuable connections in the medical field.

With the 14 types of internships for medical students discussed in this article, it is no wonder that they are such a popular choice among pre-med students. Whether a student is interested in clinical research, political activities, or just understanding the human brain, there is bound to be an internship that fits their needs.