The North Carolina Zoo offers a variety of exciting and unique internship opportunities. A zoo environment offers a fun, yet challenging atmosphere to gain valuable career building knowledge and experience. Most positions are unpaid, with on-site housing available for a nominal fee. All related expenses are the responsibility of the student. Jump-start your career with an internship at the North Carolina Zoo!

Internship Position: Research Internship

Students will work with PhD level curatorial staff to learn about research in zoos. Students will gain hands-on experience collecting behavioral data, learn to manage and analyze their data, and receive training in public speaking and professional dissemination of scientific findings. Results from these projects are used by zookeepers and curators to inform management decisions and provide insight into the welfare of the animals in our care. Students are responsible for all expenses associated with serving as an intern (i.e. housing, transportation, food, uniform, etc.). Depending on the timing, a stipend may be available to help off-set these costs.

Time Commitment:

Summer Internship: May - August

  • Application packet due: March 1

Academic Year Internship: September - May

  • Application packet due: June 1

A hybrid schedule with a minimum of 24 hours each week is required. Interns will serve a minimum of two, 8-hour days each week on site at the Zoo to collect behavioral data. A minimum of 8-hours each week is required remotely for data analysis, report writing, meetings, etc.

Who Can Apply:

Upper-level undergraduates (rising juniors or seniors) or graduate students with an interest in animal behavior research.

Competitive applicants will have a minimum GPA of at least 3.25, completed relevant course work (e.g. statistics, animal behavior), and/or have some applied research experience.

Application Packet Requirements:

  • Letter of intent detailing what you hope to gain from the internship and what skills you will bring to the position
  • Current resume (not to exceed one page)
  • College transcript (unofficial copies are accepted)
  • Two letters of recommendation written and dated within the last year (one must be from a faculty member and can be included in the packet or emailed separately to with Subject Line: Recommendation Letter for ‘Name of Applicant’)
  • Indicate which internship you are applying: Summer or Fall

Email all required documents to no later than the deadline indicated. Late or incomplete entries will not be considered.


Internship Position:  Wildlife Rehabilitation Center  

Summary: Wildlife rehabilitation is the care of sick, injured, or orphaned native wildlife for return back into the wild, in a condition that will optimize their chances of survival. The Valerie H. Schindler Wildlife Rehabilitation Center believes that compassion, civic responsibility & environmental stewardship are lessons best learned in the company of leaders who embody & practice these values. The center is a teaching facility, scientific in their approach, compassionate in their care, and is involved in rehabilitation, research & education.

Primary Role: 
Interns assist with the routine daily care of wildlife patients, as well as caring for the resident animal collection. Interns' duties include preparation of diets, cleaning cages, admitting patients, feeding animals, answering phones, and record keeping. Interns will also have the opportunity to assist with medical tasks, as ordered by Veterinary staff, such as administering treatments, helping with radiographs and assisting with surgeries. In addition, interns participate in special projects, tours, training, cage building/maintenance and animal rescues. The paid intern provides supervision and guidance to volunteers and unpaid interns and acts as liaison to the veterinary staff.

Requirements: Prospective interns must be in an undergraduate, associates program, or recently graduated (within one year) from a relevant field of study, be able to lift a minimum of 50 lbs., bend, stoop, stand for periods of at least 30 minute intervals, walk on variable substrate, work in all climatic conditions, be able to read & follow instructions, communicate clearly, perform simple calculations and have dependable transportation. Interns must be rabies vaccinated to care for adult self/feeding and education mammals. Unvaccinated interns may assist with the hand-rearing of orphaned mammals, care for birds and reptiles, and perform all other responsibilities. This position may not be suitable for individuals who are immune suppressed and/or pregnant. Persons who are hearing, sight, or speech impaired should bring this to the attention of the supervisor so reasonable accommodations can be made.

This internship is part of the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Councils’ Practicum Accreditation Program; interns will receive a certificate upon successful completion of the program. 

Applicants: Preference will be given to candidates pursuing a career in animal care (i.e. wildlife rehabilitation, pre-vet, veterinary technician, zoo and/or aquarium and animal science students, etc.). 

Availability    Application Deadlines

Summer Session 
(Mid May - Aug.)     - March 5

Fall Session 
(Aug. - Mid Oct.)     - June 5

Spring Session
(Mar. - Mid May)     - January 5

Internships available:

10 Week Unpaid Internships:

  • This internship is a minimum of 10 weeks, 200 hours, 3 6-hour shifts per week, plus 2-hour trainings every Wednesday.
  • Must be available to work a set schedule alternating between opening and closing shifts, weekends including holidays.
  • Housing available for ~$300/month; must have own transportation.
  • Spring -3 positions available, Summer - 7 positions available, Fall - 3 positions available.

12 Week Unpaid Internships:

  • This internship is a minimum of 12 weeks, 360 hours, five 6-hour shifts per week plus 2-hour trainings every Wednesday.
  • Must be available to work a set schedule alternating between opening and closing shifts, weekends including holidays.
  • Housing is provided, no fee; must have own transportation.
  • Spring -1 position available, Summer - 1 position available, Fall - 1 position available.

This internship is part of the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Councils’ Practicum Accreditation Program

To Apply: Please mail an application to Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, North Carolina Zoo, 4401 Zoo Parkway, Asheboro, NC  27205 or email to All items in the application packet must be submitted together by mail or email. Incomplete packets will not be considered. Please email us if you have any questions. 

Guest Services Intern

Job Duties: The Guest Services Intern plays a pivotal role in providing project management assistance in supporting the North Carolina Zoo Guest Services teams in Admissions, Entertainment, Transportation and Environmental Services. The North Carolina Zoo serves over one million guests each year and ongoing hospitality management is crucial to the success of this much beloved state organization. 

Major Task to be Performed: 

  • Guest Services Intern will become familiar with each area of the operation including Guest Relations, Admissions, Attractions, Transportation, Environmental Services by training and working on a rotational basis in each area.
  • Assist Guest Services Administrative Assistant with coordination of the Volunteer Zoo Host and Reception programs as well as staffing of the Guest Services Office at North America and Africa Entrance as needed.
  • Respond to customer inquiries via phone, email and in person and advise on the appropriate resolution as assigned.
  • Assist with special events and projects as assigned by Guest Services Director.
  • Assist with administering and gathering employee satisfaction feedback through the creation and implementation of a seasonal employee survey. 
  • Assist with employee appreciation initiatives and events as assigned by Guest Services Director. 
  • Assist with day to day tasks as they arise, and other duties as assigned within Guest Services.

Final Product or Outcome Anticipated: The intern will complete the scheduled internship positioning the North Carolina Zoo as a premier customer-friendly destination for tourism; maintaining or improving the reputation of the Zoo.    

Academic Majors Desired: BA/BS degree in Hospitality/Destination/Tourism Management, Business Administration, Communications or related field  

More Information and Apply

Social Media Intern

Job Duties: The North Carolina Zoo is launching a TikTok account, @northcarolinazoo, with the goal of growing our reach to new, younger, and more diverse audiences. TikTok, a relatively new but wildly popular social media platform—particularly among teens and children—provides a unique opportunity to connect with and serve younger users and would-be Zoo guests. Coinciding with the Zoo’s busiest season, both in terms of guest attendance and animal activity, the Summer 2023 Social Media Intern will primarily assist our in-house social media team in creating engaging, entertaining, and educational content expressly for TikTok.  

Major Task to be Performed: Researching trends; developing and creating short-form mobile video content centered around the Zoo’s animals; engaging with diverse audiences by highlighting the Zoo’s iconic animal and plant populations; and analyzing the Zoo’s presence and performance on TikTok.  

Final Product or Outcome Anticipated: With training and guidance from the Zoo’s social media team, the Social Media Intern will gain hands-on experience and work to 1. create of a body of dynamic short-form mobile videos, 2. analyze the performance and growth metrics of this content, and 3. adjust their overall TikTok strategy accordingly. 

Academic Majors Desired: Media Production, Communications, Film, Marketing, Advertising, Journalism & Mass Communication  

More Information and Apply

Photography Intern

Job Duties: The North Carolina Zoo is celebrating its 50th Anniversary in 2024 and in 2023 will be updating our website and other digital and traditional material with new photography. This project scope will include having the intern take and process high-quality photographs on-site at the Zoo, as well as scan select archival 35mm slides documenting the Zoo’s history. The project’s objective is to reconnect North Carolinians with the Zoo’s 50 year history and visually understand our mission to protect and save wildlife and wild places.  
Major Task to be Performed: Photography using a Canon DSLR camera; scanning select 35mm archival slides; photoshop editing to improve images; cropping and processing digital image files; uploading images to website; accurate labeling and filing of digital files; collaborating with the Zoo’s Communications team.  

Final Product or Outcome Anticipated: With guidance from the Zoo’s communications team, the Photography Intern will gain hands-on experience with animal/wildlife/nature photography; processing images for a variety of content uses; and creating collections of images (both archival and recent) to use during the Zoo’s 50th anniversary celebration on digital and traditional platforms.  

Academic Majors Desired: Photography, Digital Media, Graphic Design, Photojournalism, Communications 

More Information and Apply