Unpaid Volunteer Positions

The Aquarium offers unpaid internship opportunities that provide career exploration for rising college juniors and seniors seeking academic credit with an interest in pursuing careers related to Biology, Marine Biology, Science Education, Aquarium Sciences or related support staff positions. Select positions are available for undergraduate, graduate and post graduate students seeking experience, not academic credit. See intern positions for details.

All interns must perform duties as required, keep a log of hours and activities, meet with cooperating staff member at least once a week, abide by established dress code and give the minimum number of hours required for class credit. Interns can expect to receive help from and access to cooperating staff, receive experience to enhance skills and build resume, receive Aquarium intern benefits and make lifelong contacts.

Application packets must be complete when they are submitted and include the following. Incomplete application packets will not be considered.

  • A Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center Intern Application.
  • A cover letter.
  • A letter detailing your expectations and how you plan to use your experience to assist your career and/or academic goals.
  • A resume.
  • An official copy of your college/university transcript. Unofficial copies are not acceptable.
  • Two letters of recommendation; one must be an academic reference.

Forward your completed application packet to:

Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center
717 General Booth Boulevard
Virginia Beach, Virginia 23451
Attn: Volunteer Resources Office - Intern Applicant
OR email complete application packet to aquavols@virginiaaquarium.com. Please put “Intern Application Packet” in the subject line.

For questions call,  (757) 385-0274. Applicants will be contacted by phone or email to schedule an interview with the coordinating staff member.


Internship Opportunities

Acquisitions and Quarantine is now accepting intern applications for summer 2017. There is one position available. The application deadline is March 31, 2017. Please note that all internships are non-compensatory and intern housing is not provided by the Virginia Aquarium.

Duties: Assist in the duties of aquatic husbandry and maintenance at the Virginia Aquarium Marine Animal Care Center. Responsibilities will include marine and freshwater specimen collection (seine net, hook and line, dip net, trawl net, etc.), disease recognition and treatment of marine and freshwater fish, water chemistry testing and treatment, food preparation, feeding aquatic animals, cleaning habitats, system maintenance and repair. Interns will have the opportunity to become involved in various marine mammal and sea turtle stranding activities and participate in various field research projects.

Qualifications: Recent college graduate or current student with course work in biology, marine science, fisheries science or related field. Applicant should have a strong career interest in fisheries management, aquaculture, public aquarium management, or marine science. Previous field and/or laboratory research and small boat handling experience a plus. Applicant must know how to swim. SCUBA certification open water level preferred. Must be able to work in extreme environmental conditions for up to 8 hours as well as be able to lift 50lbs.

Duration of Internship: Minimum of 8 weeks, minimum of 3 days a week for 8 hours per day.

A complete Acquisition and Quarantine Intern application packet must include the following required components:

  • Cover Letter
  • Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center internship application form
  • (2) Letters of Recommendation (one must be from an academic instructor)
  • Statement of Intent: (1) page describing how the intern applicant intends to use the internship experience to assist in career or academic goals.
  • Resume
  • Official College Transcript(s)

Fishes department is now accepting intern applications for summer 2017. There are three positions available. The application deadline is March 15, 2017. Please note that all internships are non-compensatory and intern housing is not provided by the Virginia Aquarium.

A successful candidate will:

  • Have a desire to pursue a career in public zoos and aquariums, aquatic animal health management, fisheries management, or biology
  • Be a rising junior, senior, or college graduate
  • Have a 2.0 (C) grade point average or higher
  • Be able to lift 50 pounds
  • Be comfortable working in environmental extremes (very warm or cold)
  • Be able to stand for long periods of time

Duties: Interns assist with duties related to aquatic exhibits husbandry and maintenance in the Fishes department. Responsibilities will vary based on the intern's previous experience and demonstrated proficiency, and may include food preparation, system maintenance, specimen collection, and animal feeding. Each intern will complete a project that focuses on a particular aspect of aquarium husbandry, and deliver a presentation about their project and experience to Virginia Aquarium staff and volunteers. Interns will be required to keep a daily journal and participate in other duties as assigned by managing staff. A 270-400 hour commitment, generally over the course of 10 weeks, is required. Some weekend days may be necessary.

Qualifications: Must be a current college student (rising junior or senior status), or graduate with previous college level course work in biology, marine science, or related field. Candidates should have a strong career interest in fish and invertebrate husbandry, aquaculture, public aquarium management, marine science, etc. Field and laboratory research experience is a plus.

Collection: Temperate Atlantic and tropical saltwater fishes and invertebrates, and tropical and native freshwater fishes and turtles. Includes sea turtles, sharks, stingrays, coral and jellyfish propagation, and culturing.

Please note that all internships are non-compensatory and intern housing is not provided by the Virginia Aquarium.

A complete Fishes – Aquarist Assistant Intern application packet must include the following required components:

  • Cover Letter
  • Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center internship application form located at http://www.virginiaaquarium.com/join/Documents/Intern-Application-Form.pdf
  • (2) Letters of Recommendation (one must be from an academic instructor)
  • Statement of Intent: (1) page describing how the intern applicant intends to use the internship experience to assist in career or academic goals.
  • Resume
  • Official College Transcript(s)

Mammals department is now accepting intern applications for summer 2017. There aretwopositions available. The application deadline is March 1, 2017. Please note that all internships are non-compensatory and intern housing is not provided by the Virginia Aquarium.

Duties: Responsible for, but not limited to, daily husbandry of Harbor seal and North American river otter collections in addition to preparing diets and feeding, cleaning enclosures and maintaining records, assisting full time staff, performing exhibit repairs, animal observations, entering large aquatic habitats for cleaning and maintenance, and behavioral training. There is possible interaction with members of the general public and the Harbor seals during animal interactive programs offered by this department. Interns will be trained on facilitating interaction programs that are offered throughout the year. Interns will also be required to speak on microphone for educational programs.

Qualifications: Applicants must be available for a minimum of 32-40 hours per week. Length of service for summer applicants is mid-May through mid-August; fall applicants, September through November; and spring applicants, January through April. Schedule flexibility is important and will include weekends and possible evenings. Applicants should be in excellent physical health and be able to lift 50 pounds and tolerate working in varying environmental conditions that could include direct sun and warm temperatures, confined spaces with delicate exhibit materials, cold temperature for food storage, and wet conditions in and around aquatic habitats. Applicants should be strong swimmers and SCUBA certification is a plus.

Requirements: Intern must provide written proof of his or her rabies pre-exposure vaccinations. The rabies vaccination process will allow an intern to safely work with our mammal collection protecting both the student and our animals. The approximate cost of re-exposure vaccinations varies with different agencies, but will cost up to $300 per shot. Currently, this process involves a series of 3 shots given over a period of 21 days. It is possible to make these arrangements though a family doctor or local health department. Intern will also be expected to complete a designated project and/or presentation at the end of their service.

A complete Mammals Intern application packet must include the following required components:

  • Cover Letter
  • Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center internship application form
  • (2) Letters of Recommendation (one must be from an academic instructor)
  • Statement of Intent: (1) page describing how the intern applicant intends to use the internship experience to assist in career or academic goals.
  • Resume
  • Official College Transcript(s)
  • Written proof of rabies pre-exposure vaccinations
  • If you are SCUBA certified, include a copy of your certification

The Education Department is now accepting Sea Camp Intern applications for summer 2017. There are two positions available. The application deadline is April 14, 2017. Please note that all internships are non-compensatory and intern housing is not provided by the Virginia Aquarium.

Duties: Interns conduct public presentations on marine related topics; supervise and teach volunteers; assist program staff with group check-in, visitor services, and other related activities. Interns will also develop, implement and conduct a variety of education programs and visitor enhancement events for the general public using Curiosity Carts. Curiosity Carts are “roving” educational programming opportunities for Virginia Aquarium guests where interns can create new topics of discussion. Educators bring these informational carts to guests in all areas of the Aquarium. Interns will be expected to complete a designated project and/or presentation at the end of their service.

Qualifications: Applicants must be a junior or senior college student; major in biology or education with biology or environmental sciences concentration. Public speaking or customer service experience is helpful. Candidates must be self-motivated, outgoing and enthusiastic.

Duration of Internship: This is determined by the applicant’s college/university’s requirement to receive course credit.

A complete Gallery Education Programs Intern application packet must include the following required components:

  • Cover Letter
  • Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center internship application form
  • (2) Letters of Recommendation (one must be from an academic instructor)
  • Statement of Intent: (1) page describing how the intern applicant intends to use the internship experience to assist in career or academic goals.
  • Resume
  • Official Transcripts

The Education Department is now accepting Nature Play Place Intern applications for summer 2017. The application deadline is April 28, 2017. Please note that all internships are non-compensatory and intern housing is not provided by the Virginia Aquarium.

Duties: Gain an exciting array of new skills and experiences in outdoor education. Assist education staff in a team environment to develop and present informal outdoor education programs and activities in the Nature Play Place outdoor education area. Interns will supervise and mentor young volunteers ages 11-14 and provide guests and volunteers with unique outdoor experiences that cultivate an appreciation for the natural world.

Qualifications: College student studying Biology, Education, or other related field. Must have the ability to maintain a high energy level in hot, humid, wet, and muddy conditions; have good communication skills and comfortable with public speaking; must enjoy working with children. Candidate should also be a team player with the ability to lift up to 50 pounds. CPR/First Aid preferred but not required.

Duration of Internship: This is determined by the applicant’s college/university’s requirement to receive course credit.

A complete Nature Play Place Intern application packet must include the following required components:

  • Cover Letter
  • Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center internship application form
  • (2) Letters of Recommendation (one must be from an academic instructor)
  • Statement of Intent: (1) page describing how the intern applicant intends to use the internship experience to assist in career or academic goals.
  • Resume
  • Official Transcripts

The Education Department is now accepting Online Media Intern applications for summer 2017. There is one position available. The application deadline is March 31, 2017. Please note that all internships are non-compensatory and intern housing is not provided by the Virginia Aquarium.

Duties: Research and develop program content that will be used in our new online learning initiative. Film and develop educational video clips of Aquarium programs and research and work with education specialists to develop activities that tie in with developed video clips. Correlate developed curriculum to national science standards. Research ways to market and implement distance learning packages.

Qualifications: Working towards bachelor's or master's degree in film, marketing, education or science. Experience editing film and ability to work with limited supervision required.

Requirements: Minimum of 150 hours with a schedule to be determined with supervisor. Intern reports to the Education Outreach Specialist. Fall applicants intern September through December, spring applicants intern January through April, and summer applicants intern May through August.

The Education Department is now accepting School Programs Intern applications for summer 2017. There are two positions available. The application deadline is March 31, 2017. Please note that all internships are non-compensatory and intern housing is not provided by the Virginia Aquarium.

Duties: Work with education specialists to complete administrative tasks and special projects related to school programming. Assist staff with live animal presentations and hands-on programming both at the Aquarium and offsite at schools, libraries, camps and festivals.

Qualifications: Interest in marine biology or education; ability to lift up to 50 lbs; ability to work with limited supervision; comfortable interacting with children and adults; public speaking and customer service experience preferred.

Requirements: Minimum of 150 hours on a schedule to be determined with supervisor. Intern reports to Education Programs Specialist. Intern will be expected to complete a designated project and/or presentation at the end of their service.

A complete School Programs Intern application packet must include the following required components:

  • Cover Letter
  • Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center internship application form
  • (2) Letters of Recommendation (one must be from an academic instructor)
  • Statement of Intent: (1) page describing how the intern applicant intends to use the internship experience to assist in career or academic goals.
  • Resume
  • Official College Transcript(s)

The Education Department is now accepting Sea Camp Intern applications for summer 2016. There are two positions available. The application deadline is April 15, 2016. Please note that all internships are non-compensatory and intern housing is not provided by the Virginia Aquarium.

Duties: Assist Education staff with all aspects of the Aquarium's summer Sea Camps. In addition to aiding with daily instruction of weekly camps, intern may work closely with camp coordinators in an administrative role.

Qualifications: Prefer candidate majoring in biology/science or education. Applicant must have completed at least one year of college. The ability to work with limited supervision and to work actively outdoors is also required. Experience working with children is a plus.

A complete Sea Camp Intern application packet must include the following required components:

  • Cover Letter
  • Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center internship application form
  • (2) Letters of Recommendation (one must be from an academic instructor)
  • Statement of Intent: (1) page describing how the intern applicant intends to use the internship experience to assist in career or academic goals.
  • Resume
  • Official College Transcript(s)

The Virginia Aquarium’s Research & Conservation Division is now accepting Stranding Response Intern applications for summer 2017. There are four positions available. The application deadline is March 17, 2017. Please note that all positions are non-compensatory and housing is not provided by the Virginia Aquarium. Interns are fully responsible for fulfilling all requirements of their home institutions in order to receive academic credit.

Duties: Review a full list of duties included below:

  • Assist in stranding response for live and dead marine mammals and sea turtles in the field and at the Marine Animal Care Center. Work may be conducted under adverse weather conditions such as extreme heat and humidity or rain/wind.
  • Assist with data and sample collection.
  • Participate in post-mortem examinations, data collection and disposal.
  • Assist in the care of animals in rehabilitation including, but not limited to: food preparation, feeding, cleaning (mopping floor, washing dirty laundry, vacuuming tanks, washing dishes, etc.), tank repairs, and other husbandry duties.
  • Assist in coordinating the release of rehabilitated and disentangled animals.
  • Assist with public outreach and education events.
  • Assist with volunteer and cooperator trainings.
  • Assist staff with daily administrative tasks including answering phones, taking messages, preparing volunteers for response, office organization and data entry.
  • Develop and complete an independent, staff assigned project and 15 minute presentation for the stranding staff and volunteers.
  • Other duties as assigned by Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response staff.

Qualifications: Applicants must: 1) be at least 18 years of age; 2) be comfortable with driving full-sized pick-up trucks; 3) be in good physical condition and able to lift over 25 pounds and 4) be able to work in adverse conditions. Applicants should work well both independently and as part of a team. Candidates should be self-motivated, articulate, mature, reliable, responsible and able to take, as well as give direction. Internships are open to undergraduate and graduate students. Preference is given to students who have completed their sophomore year and are working towards credit for a degree in science. Undergraduate, graduate and post-college students are all encouraged to apply. A background in biology and familiarity with stranding response is preferred but not required.

Requirements: Interns are expected to work 24 hours a week (three eight-hour days) for 10 consecutive weeks unless prior approval for breaks is approved. Some weekends and holidays may be assigned. Housing and transportation cannot be provided. Most of the animals the stranding center works with are dead (approximately 90%) and most are decomposing. The center may get 10-12 strandings per day in the peak summer season. This is a position that requires a strong nose, stomach and mental state. IT IS NOT FOR EVERYONE! Please consider this before applying.

A complete Stranding Response Intern/Apprentice application packet must include the following required components:

  • Cover Letter
  • Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center internship application form
  • (2) Letters of Recommendation (one must be from an academic instructor)
  • Statement of Intent: (1) page describing how the intern applicant intends to use the internship experience to assist in career or academic goals.
  • Resume
  • Official College Transcript(s)

Forward your completed application packet to:

Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center
717 General Booth Boulevard
Virginia Beach, Virginia 23451
Attn: Volunteer Resources Office - Intern Applicant
OR email complete application packet to aquavols@virginiaaquarium.com