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15 Paid Ocean Conservancy Internships 

Engaging in ocean conservancy internships comes with a host of benefits, including the opportunity to gain valuable work experience while receiving financial compensation. Beyond skill development, these paid internships may open doors to potential full-time employment opportunities after graduation.

Various organizations offer paid internships as part of their college recruiting programs. These opportunities are often accessible to students from diverse academic backgrounds, while some may be tailored to specific majors or degree programs. We have curated an extensive list of paid internships in the realm of ocean conservancy to aid you in finding the perfect opportunity to contribute to a sustainable future.

National Geographic 

National Geographic’s paid internship program provides a summer opportunity, spanning 10 weeks from June to August. Interning at National Geographic offers a unique opportunity to be part of a prestigious and globally renowned organization dedicated to exploring and protecting the wonders of our planet. While projects vary each year, several internships usually relate to ocean conservation, marine biology, and/or ocean exploration. To be eligible, applicants must be currently enrolled students at an accredited college or university, preferably rising sophomores or above. They should also have authorization to work in the United States. The internship postings become available in mid-January.

Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation

The Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation’s whale research internship seeks candidates who are outgoing, enthusiastic, detail-oriented, and eager to learn and teach. During the internship, participants work with naturalists aboard the M/V Granite State, a commercial whale watch vessel, in the Gulf of Maine— a thriving ecosystem renowned for excellent whale-watching opportunities. Duties include collecting detailed electronic data whilst on the boat, educating passengers about marine life, and engaging in environmental education i during 4-5 hour whale watch trips. While biology knowledge is beneficial, prior experience is not required for this entry-level position, specifically designed for college students. All majors and degree levels, including undergraduate, graduate, and career changers, are welcome. The internship offers a housing and food stipend of $3,000 for full-time summer interns and $1,500 for part-time fall interns.

Red Sea Project

The Red Sea Project’s Marine Conservation internship program offers a unique opportunity to contribute to underwater ecosystem and marine park conservation. Participants will receive training in identifying marine wildlife such as turtles, fish, corals, and invertebrates. They will learn about coral baseline surveying, a vital skill in marine conservation. The program provides a chance to become a certified diver, and interns will gain hands-on experience in various aspects of marine research and data collection. Participants must be 18 years or older and physically fit to apply. Adequate travel and scuba diving insurance, completion of program paperwork, and a COVID-19 vaccination record are mandatory. The internship is paid, and the Red Sea Project also offers to assist with any student grant proposals upon inquiry.

The Wetlands Institute

The Coastal Conservation Research Program (CCRP) offers a 10-week summer internship hosted at The Wetlands Institute in southern New Jersey’s Cape May Peninsula. This internship is designed for undergraduate students and provides hands-on experience in research, education, and conservation of coastal ecosystems. Mentored by research scientists, interns engage in a variety of projects focused on coastal birds, diamondback terrapins, horseshoe crabs, and wetland ecosystems. They also conduct independent research and present their findings at the annual Intern Symposium. Interns work up to 40 hours per week and are compensated at NJ Minimum Wage. Applicants must have completed two years of college and possess reliable transportation, as housing is not provided.

REEF Environmental Education Foundation

REEF’s Marine Conservation Internship offers a comprehensive experience encompassing various aspects of marine conservation work. During the three to four-month program, interns gain hands-on experience in outreach, education, data collection, non-profit operations, conservation science, social media development, and public speaking. Beyond their work at REEF, interns have the opportunity to volunteer with partner organizations in the Florida Keys and South Florida, collaborating with environmental and conservation groups, dive operators, local schools, and other community partners. Thanks to the support of the REEF Oceans for All Fund, housing is provided for Marine Conservation Interns, and they receive a monthly stipend of $200.

The Nature Conservancy

At The Nature Conservancy, those seeking real business experiences within a global conservation organization can find internship options catered to high school, undergraduate, and graduate students. These internships, which may be paid or unpaid, are closely related to current or recently accredited educational programs and can also offer school credit. Specifically for those interested in marine conservation and marine biology, there are opportunities to engage in projects and challenges focused on marine ecosystems, biodiversity, habitat preservation, and educational outreach. Interns work with conservation experts and researchers, participate in field studies, and contribute to efforts to protect our environment. While internship postings are available on The Nature Conservancy’s Careers site, reaching out to specific business units or locations is recommended to explore ocean-focused opportunities.

Oregon State University

Oregon State’s Summer Scholars Program is a paid 10-week opportunity that offers undergraduate students the chance to work with various Oregon-based host organizations, including tribal, public agency, non-profit, and non-governmental entities. The program aims to provide diverse students with hands-on experience mentored by seasoned professionals. Scholars actively participate in fieldwork, lab work, analysis, research, policy development, and outreach efforts. The ultimate goal of the OSG Summer Scholars Program is to foster a diverse ocean workforce that comprehends the technical and social challenges confronting coastal communities and the natural environment. The program aims to equip undergraduate students with the necessary preparation for pursuing graduate school and future careers in marine science, policy, management, and outreach.

Whale & Dolphin Conservation USA

The North American Office of Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) offers a 12-week Marine Mammal Conservation Internship for candidates with limited experience in the field. This entry-level opportunity provides valuable skills relevant to marine conservation and insight into non-profit operations. The internship focuses on three key program areas: Marine Animal Rescue and Response, Education, and Boater Outreach, with occasional opportunities to observe whales at sea. The internship is full-time and paid, with three positions available throughout the year. Candidates will be responsible for their own housing and transportation.

National Park Service

The Everglades BioCorps internship program is a collaborative initiative between the National Park Service, The Alliance for Florida’s National Parks, and other agency and university partners. The program’s goals include providing assistance on biological programs, offering training, and providing an immersive experience in the Everglades ecosystem and NPS organization for potential future staff. Examples of recent internship projects include invasive reptile management and research, sea turtle nest monitoring, and marine water quality assessment. Modest stipends and limited housing are available for non-local interns. Opportunities are regularly announced on the Texas A&M Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences job board and Handshake platform.

Nautilus Live Ocean Exploration Trust (OET)

The Nautilus Science and Engineering Internship Program (SEIP) offers community college, undergraduate, and graduate students studying ocean sciences, technology, engineering, and video a real-world experience at sea. Interns, specializing as Data Loggers, Seafloor Mappers, Navigators, ROV Pilots, or Video Engineers, work aboard E/V Nautilus alongside scientists, engineers, students, and educators for 3-5 week periods. The program emphasizes communications and leadership development, involving interns in educational outreach activities like broadcasts and live ship-to-shore connections with classrooms. All interns receive a paid stipend, and Nautilus OET funds and organizes travel to/from the expedition.

California State University 

COAST collaborates with federal and state agencies, non-profit organizations, and industry partners to offer paid summer internships to current CSU undergraduate and graduate students. These internships provide hands-on experience alongside professionals engaged in scientific research, policy development, and resource management projects across California. The program offers an excellent opportunity for interns to acquire valuable technical skills and expertise while working with experts in fisheries, marine ecology, policy, and marine technology. Projects encompass diverse areas such as fisheries, climate change, invasive species, resource management, and marine engineering.

Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI)

The Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program at GMRI offers an exciting opportunity for students to engage in marine and fisheries science research. GMRI provides a unique experience where students lead projects in fisheries ecosystem research, with a focus on the impacts of Gulf of Maine warming trends. GMRI accepts applications from undergraduate students interested in contributing to our understanding of climate change’s effects on coastal and marine ecosystems, communities, and industries. They will work with mentors to design and conduct an intensive 10-week independent research project. Participants will receive a stipend of $600 per week for 10 weeks, along with housing, a meal allowance, and travel support.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

The Hollings Scholarship Program offers successful undergraduate applicants valuable academic assistance, providing up to $9,500 per year for two years of full-time study. Recipients then have the opportunity to participate in a 10-week, full-time paid internship at a NOAA facility during the summer, receiving $700 per week. Moreover, a housing subsidy is offered to scholars who do not reside at home during the summer internship. This internship between the first and second years of the award allows scholars to gain practical, hands-on experience in various NOAA-related areas such as science, research, technology, policy, management, and education activities. Hollings Alumni have reported that this experience greatly influenced their academic and career paths, expanded their professional networks, and enhanced their skills for working in NOAA mission fields.

California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) 

California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) presents a captivating 10-week Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program set in the scenic Monterey Bay Region. Participating students collaborate with mentors from local host institutions, engaging in hypothesis-driven projects and receiving valuable feedback. The primary objective of the program is to foster an increase in diversity and the overall number of students pursuing careers in marine geosciences, encompassing fields such as atmospheric, earth, ocean, and polar science. By providing an immersive and supportive research experience, the program aims to inspire and encourage students from diverse backgrounds to pursue and excel in these vital scientific disciplines, thus contributing to a more inclusive and vibrant future in marine geosciences.The program targets sophomore and junior-level students from 2-year or 4-year institutions of higher education.

Central Caribbean Marine Institute (CCMI)

CCMI offers paid internships for early career scientists to gain hands-on experience in marine science education, research, and field station operations in the Cayman Islands. The institute maintains active field research and education programs in the Cayman Islands, supported by a dedicated team of scientists, educators, outreach coordinators, and communications experts. Internship opportunities are open to applicants aged 18 years or older and are typically available throughout the year, with durations of 3 to 6 months at our Little Cayman Research Centre. Internships are posted periodically throughout the year. For more information, contact This remote tropical island is an ideal location for coral reef research and marine protection work.

Make a Difference with An Ocean Conservation Career

Helping the ocean through purpose-driven career work is not only rewarding, but also a meaningful investment of time and effort. Working to conserve and protect our oceans goes beyond just a job; it is a lifelong commitment to safeguarding one of our planet’s most vital ecosystems. While obtaining paid work in this field can be quite challenging, choosing a career path that revolves around ocean conservation allows individuals to align their passion for the environment with their professional pursuits, creating a sense of fulfillment in their work.