Marine Mammal Internships

Marine Mammal Internships

You are finally prepared to find an internship, apply, and land that opportunity. Now what? It’s time to make that dream a reality. The internships listed can help provide you with the experience you need to succeed. Best of luck with the search and the start to your career as a marine mammal trainer!

(Please note that this resource is intended as a starting point for new opportunities. The Animal Behavior Institute does not endorse these positions or the institutions that provide them.)

Alaska SeaLife Center

The Alaska Sea Life Center sponsors a variety of internships for college students or graduates. A large array of experiences is available. Duties can include anything from assisting staff with animal husbandry in an aquarium, avian or marine mammal setting to participating in research projects through the education department. Interns are required to participate in a variety of areas. This position requires a 40 hour work week for 10-12 weeks.

Opportunities are available in Aquarium Husbandry, Avian Husbandry, Dive/Aquarium Husbandry, Eider (Sea Duck) Husbandry, Eider (Sea Duck) Laboratory, Interpretation – Avian, Interpretation – Education, Interpretation – Mammals, Interpretation – Marketing, Interpretation – National Park Service, Interpretation – Steller SeaLion Video Monitoring – Chiswell Project, Marine Animal Stranding Program, Marine Mammal Husbandry, Marine Mammal Research, Steller Sea Lion Video Monitoring – Chiswell Project, and Veterinary Laboratory.

Alaska SeaLife Center
301 Railway Avenue
P.O. Box 1329
Seward, AK 99664

Phone: 907-224-6300
Toll Free: 800-224-2525
Fax: 907-224-6320

The Bottlenose Dolphin Research Institute (BDRI)

BDRI engages people worldwide in scientific projects to participate as students and volunteers in hands-on research with wild bottlenose dolphins on the northwestern coast of the Iberian Peninsula. An internship period with the BDRI offers an excellent opportunity for qualified and motivated individuals to obtain field and laboratory training in marine mammal’s research methodology and analysis under the mentorship of experienced bottlenose dolphin researchers.

Bottlenose Dolphin Research Institute BDRI
Av. Beiramar 192, O Grove, Pontevedra 36980 - Galicia, Spain.
Tel. +34 886 310608
Tel. +34 605 521441
[email protected]

Clearwater Marine Aquarium

A large variety of internships is available at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. These full time internships are available to full time college students, part time college students, or college graduates within 12 months of course completion. The opportunities include HR and Volunteer Management, Marketing and Advertising, Aquatics and Water Quality, Education, Guest Relations, Hospitality, Marine Mammal Training, Non-Profit Management, Sea Turtle Nesting, Sea Turtle Rehabilitation, Standing Team, Virtual Merchandiser, and Aquarist.

The Marine Mammal Training internship includes an emphasis on Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphins and North American River Otters. Interns will get the opportunity to work with animals trained for medical procedures such as blood draw and ultrasound, and animals trained in more “fun” activities such as bows and summersaults. Interns will learn how to prepare diets, maintain exhibits, provide enrichment and mental stimulation, keep behavioral records, and give public presentations. They will also learn how trainers use principles such as positive reinforcement, classical conditioning and shaping to train animals.

The Education internship provides a unique education setting for interns interested in teaching. They will get the opportunity to interact with guests, educate school groups, and work with summer camps. The internship will provide enriched experience in public speaking, classroom presentations and management, science education instruction, and guest relations. Interns will even get the opportunity to snorkel in local waters to provide campers with hands-on learning.

Clearwater Marine Aquarium
249 Windward Passage
Clearwater, Florida 33767

Contact Eveanna Ventimiglia, Volunteer Coordinator, at [email protected] or 727-441-1790 x258

Dolphin Cove

Dolphin Cove’s internship program is available to students and college graduates. Interns will work with animal care staff and have the opportunity to assist with many aspects of animal care, husbandry, guest relations, and day-to-day operations. Duties will include assisting trainers in training sessions, diet preparation, overseeing swim sessions, and basic cleaning and maintenance at the facility. The internship will enhance knowledge of dolphin identification and dolphin behavior. Interns will also participate in a lecture series and cross train in another department. Finally, they will contribute to ongoing research data collection, entry, and analysis.

Dolphin Cove
P.O. Box 870
Key Largo, FL 33037

Toll Free: 1-877-365-2683
Fax: 1-305-451-4021
[email protected]

Dolphins Plus

Dolphins Plus provides internship opportunities to undergraduates, graduate students, and recent college graduates interested in research. Interns will be exposed to ongoing research and in doing so, gain a deeper understanding of the scientific process. Areas of discipline include, but are not limited to, husbandry, marine mammal social and physiological development, social dynamics, acoustics, applied behavior analysis, clinical studies, education, and conservation

Dolphins Plus Inc.
31 Corrine Pl.
Key Largo, FL 33037

Phone: 1-305-451-1993
Toll Free: 1-866-860-7946
International Callers: 1-800-451-1993
Fax: 1-305-451-3710

Dolphin Quest

Dolphin Quest’s internship program is specifically for college students or recent college graduates. It aims to prepare them for a career in animal training by giving hands-on experience working with animals, trainers and teachers. They offer three main programs: Marine Mammal Training Internship, Marine Conservation Education Internship, and Baby Watch Internship. Each one has specific goals and areas of focus to hone the intern’s skills.

The Marine Mammal Training Internship includes four main areas of focus: Health and Care of Animals, Education and Global Stewardship, Sensational Guest Service, and Professionalism and Teamwork. It also includes a lecture series to enhance the intern’s learning experience. Often, it can count as college credit.

The Marine Conservation Education Internship has goals that are believed to be transferrable to any marine facility or conservation organization. It focuses on Education, Conservation and Global Stewardship, Sensational Guest Service, and Professionalism and Teamwork.

The Baby Watch Internship involves the record keeping and monitoring of a new baby calf and its mother. Interns will be able to record their observations, assist trainers, interact with visitors and share information.

Dolphin Quest Bermuda
National Museum of Bermuda
15 The Keep
Sandys, Bermuda MA 01

Phone: 441.234.4464
Fax: 441.234.4992

Dolphin Research Center

The Dolphin Research Center offers a large selection of internship opportunities with concentrations in various departments. Interns will typically work a 40-hour week, spending four days in their concentrated department and one day in other areas of operation within the facility through the Volunteer Resources Pool. This extra day helps interns to develop skills that can be used in multiple employment settings. The areas of concentration include Animal Care and Training, Education, Information Technologies, Research, Special Needs and Visual Communications.

Dolphin Research Center
58901 Overseas Highway
Grassy Key, FL 33050

Phone: 305-289-1121
Fax: 305-743-7627
[email protected]

Georgia Aquarium

The Georgia Aquarium offers internships that provide hands-on experience and professional connections. Interns will shadow experts for 20-40 hours a week for three to eight months. The aquarium offers internships in Audio/ Visual-Multimedia Services, Digital Media, Dive Operations, Event Sales and Services, Exhibits and Graphics, Group Sales, Human Resources, Information Technology, Life Support Systems, Marketing and Communications, Public Relations, Theater Production: Dolphin Show, Veterinary Preceptorship/Externship, Volunteer Programs, Water Quality Lab, Zoological Operations: Animal Training (Dolphins), Zoological Operations: Animal Training (Mammals and Birds), Zoological Operations: Fish and Invertebrates, and Zoological Operations: Quarantine. All internships are unpaid and money for housing, food and travel are not provided.

Georgia Aquarium
225 Baker Street NW
Atlanta, GA 30313

Phone: 404.581.4000

Gulf World Marine Park

Gulf World Marine Park offers three internship programs: Education, Animal Care and Training, and Veterinary. The Education Internship is ideal for college students to act as a camp counselor, conduct public presentations, coordinate field trip groups, and work on various other projects. This internship is paid and requires 30 hours per week including weekends and holidays.

The Animal Care and Training Internship will teach interns about daily animal care and training techniques. Interns will work on shows and swim with animals. They will be placed in the Dolphin Area, Sea Lion Area, or the Avian and Small Mammal Area. Responsibilities will include food preparation, cleaning, maintenance, water quality testing, guest interactions, animal observations, and assisting with animal training.

The Veterinary Internship is for students in their fourth year at vet school. Students will study a variety of species and participate in the emergency response team. Specific responsibilities will be assigned based on the student’s skills and interests.

15412 Front Beach Road
Panama City Beach, Florida, 32413

Phone: 850-234-5271
Fax: 850-235-8957

Island Dolphin Care

Internships at Island Dolphin Care provide opportunities for both students and young professionals. Their program allows interns to observe and assist with various therapy programs and Marine Science Education programs. There is also an opportunity for research, but to participate in this, candidates must note this in the application and submit a research design to Gretchen Thomasson at [email protected] before scheduling an internship. The internship will typically last four to eight weeks and involve approximately 40 hours of work per week.

Duties of this internship may include taking photos or notes of the sessions, assisting with class and water sessions, assisting instructors with planning, setting up or implementing class sessions, and assisting with the clean up of classrooms and the facility. Interns will not train or feed dolphins. They will also not provide instruction to children in the classroom or the water. Dolphins Plus does not guarantee that an intern will get the chance to swim with dolphins during their experience.

Island Dolphin Care
150 Lorelane Place
Key Largo, FL 33037

Phone: 305-451-5884
Fax: 305-453-5399
[email protected]

Marineland Dolphin Adventure

Two internships are offered at Marineland: one in Animal Training and one in Education. These are available for college students and recent graduates. The education program provides interns with the opportunity to develop programs, prepare materials, give presentations, lead field trip groups, and conduct summer camps. Interns in this program will also assist in creating a newsletter. The Animal Training internship allows interns to work directly with staff, learning by observation. They will gain enhanced knowledge of operant conditioning of marine animals and husbandry. They can also assist in training and feeding as they gain skills. However, the emphasis in this internship is placed on tasks such as food preparation, daily cleaning, facility maintenance and interacting with the public.

Marineland Dolphin Adventure
9600 Oceanshore Blvd.
St. Augustine, FL 32080

Phone: 904-471-1111, ext. 117 (Animal Training Internship) or ext. 112 (Education Internship) or 877-933-3402
Fax: 904-460-1330

Multicultural Initiative in the Marine Sciences

This program is designed to increase diversity in marine scientists. Current college students belonging to groups currently underrepresented in the marine sciences (i.e., Native Americans, Alaskan Natives, African Americans, Latino/Hispanics and Pacific Islanders) are encouraged to apply. The program will expose students to intensive training and professional opportunities. In one semester, it will provide 31 credit hours of seminars, workshops and supervised research. Students will also attend a regional or national science meeting.

Department of Environmental Sciences
Western Washington University
Bellingham, QA 98221

Phone: 360-650-7400 ext 297
[email protected]

The Perry Institute

The Perry Institute affords interns firsthand experience with standard field procedures, experimental design, sampling protocol, environmental monitoring techniques, diving and boating. Interns will get the opportunity to work with marine scientists in one of two internship programs: Marine Science and Diving Operations.

The Marine Science Internship provides direct involvement in support of scientific research and experience in the operational support of science. Interns will work on the varying projects being conducted at the time of their internship. They may be required to assist in procuring funds or grants to support their internship. The position will last three months for each semester.

The Diving Operations Internship allows the intern to work with Diving Safety Officers and researchers with shore and in-water support. They will get the opportunity for one-on-one interaction with active marine scientists and scientific divers. Duties will include filling SCUBA cylinders, routine maintenance of diving equipment including compressors, preparing vessels for daily use and maintaining the dive locker and waterfront. Interns will learn a variety of diving techniques and technologies while participating in advanced training opportunities such as Dive Rescue and Accident Management (DRAM) course, hazmat training for compressed gas handling and filling, and other hands on experiences.

Perry Institute for Marine Science
100 N. US Highway 1, Suite 202
Jupiter, FL 33477

Phone: 561-741-0192

REEF Marine Conservation Internships

REEF is a non-profit organization that utilizes education and research to seek ocean conservation. They offer three main internship programs: the Volunteer Fish Survey Project, Invasive Lionfish Program, and Grouper Moon Program. Each is a four-month long internship that provides experience with scientific diving, outreach and education, data collection and management, non-profit operations, public speaking, conservation fieldwork, and marine biology laboratory techniques. It will allow interns to build relationships and connections in the field and prepare them for a career in marine biology.

Interns can carry out independent projects related to their area of interest. A wide array of opportunity is available. In addition, duties can include performing fish identification surveys while SCUBA diving, assisting with invasive lionfish fieldwork, capture and dissection of lionfish, assisting with invasive lionfish education, outreach, and control programs, presenting seminars for school groups and dive clubs, planning and implementing special events like the Great Annual Fish Count and Lionfish Derbies, writing articles for websites, newsletters, blogs and social media, helping members of the public that come into REEF Headquarters for information, creating flyers and other promotional materials, and responding to phone calls and emails from REEF members.

REEF Headquarters
P.O. Box 246
98300 Overseas Hwy
Key Largo, FL 33037

Phone: 305-852-0301
[email protected]

Sea Life Park Hawaii

Sea Life Park Hawaii offers a variety of internships including Marine Mammal Care & Training, Reef & Sea Turtle Care & Training, Seabird Care & Rehabilitation, Veterinary Technician, and Educator Experiences. These internships provide hands-on experiences for students interested in marine mammals. They also provide group research project opportunities for interns. A unique training program exposes interns to training techniques and technology. Interns are expected to work five days a week, totaling 40 hours per week. These internships are unpaid.

41-202 Kalanianaole Highway #7
Waimanalo, Hawaii 96795

Phone: 808-259-2500

Sea World

The Education and Conservation Department at Sea World Orlando sponsors a paid Camp SeaWorld internship each summer for undergraduate students who have completed their sophomore year. Applicants should be seeking a degree in education, science, recreation or a related field. They should also be CPR certified. SeaWorld offers two camp programs that are accredited by the American Camp Association: Day Camp and Resident Camp. Day Camp is a week long-program that focuses on animals and their habitats. Resident Camp is a 6-day overnight program for middle and high school students that focuses on marine science.

SeaWorld of Florida, Discovery Cove and Aquatica
7007 SeaWorld Drive
Orlando, Florida 32821

Phone: 407-370-1562


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