The IMMS Animal Training Internship Program is designed as a way for students/individuals interested in a career in animal care and training to gain valuable experience in a real-world setting. Interns will primarily be trained in aspects of animal care, but will also participate in other activities at IMMS. Our goal is to give interns a well-rounded experience in a variety of areas while providing expert training and experience. This is an unpaid position and all interns are responsible for their own housing and transportation. Once accepted, IMMS staff will be able to assist interns in suggesting suitable housing and locations. Positions are limited. IMMS reserves the right to end an internship at any time.

Eligibility Requirements

Interns must be:

  • 18 years or older.
  • A recent graduate or actively pursuing a college degree in the sciences.
  • Willing to accept the internship as an unpaid position.
  • Able to commit to a minimum of at least 12 weeks, 40 hours a week. The internship can be extended depending on work performance.
  • Available to work weekdays, weekends, and holidays.
  • Able to lift 50 lbs, work long hours on your feet, and work outside in extreme conditions.
  • Able to maintain a positive attitude, good work ethic, sense of responsibility, and a strong willingness to learn.
  • Financially stable enough to obtain housing and transportation, though IMMS staff will do their best to assist you in making arrangements.
  • Able to comply with IMMS rules and regulations.


Term:                           Deadline to apply:

Spring (Feb-April)       December 1

Summer (May-Aug)    March 1

Fall (Aug-Nov)            June 1

Winter (Nov-Feb)       September 1


The IMMS animal care and training staff is in charge of caring for Atlantic bottlenose dolphins, California sea lions, and large parrots. Interns will work directly with animal care staff and be exposed to all aspects of the daily routine. Heavy emphasis is placed on basic tasks such as food preparation, and daily cleaning and facility maintenance. Interns will learn how to train animals with operant conditioning through observation and may assist during sessions. Enrichment is very important to the well-being of our animals and interns will be asked to design and implement an enrichment device for our dolphins and/or birds. Interns will also give educational presentation to guests before they interact with our animals, as well as help staff with daily water quality. Because we want interns to have a well rounded experience, they will also be asked to assist in other departments. Interns may participate as 1) environmental educators and assist in giving presentations to the public, 2) research assistants that help with our many wild dolphin based research studies, or 3) emergency responders as IMMS is part of the Southeast Regional Marine Mammal Stranding Network and responds to stranded marine mammals and sea turtles. Please check the FAQ link, as it may answer other questions you may have.

To Apply:

Please send the following documents to: Jennifer Pishnyuk at jpishnyuk@imms.org with “Animal Training Internship” in the subject line.

  • IMMS Animal Training Internship Application
  • Resume with cover letter.
  • Two letters of recommendation – Provide at least one academic, and one work/volunteer- related reference if applicable. Letters may be emailed from the applicant or the person providing the recommendation letter.
  • A copy of your current official college transcript. Applicants may submit an unofficial copy.
  • Full photograph

Documents must be in one of the following formats – PDF, .doc, .docx, and must be submitted together with your first and last name and the date in the file name.