Internship


The internship program at Island Dolphin Care provides a unique experience for students and young professionals to observe and assist with the therapy programs and Marine Science Education programs at Island Dolphin Care. This is a volunteer (unpaid) position.  An internship at Island Dolphin Care is six weeks in length.

Internship applications are considered on a first come first serve basis. Your application WILL NOT be reviewed until all materials (application & two letters of recommendation) have been received. The schedule is generated beginning as much as a year in advance. We receive many applications for a small number of positions; therefore it is necessary to apply far in advance. On occasion we do have last minute cancellations due to undue circumstances and you can ask to be considered for a waitlist position.

We are now accepting applications for the 2017 therapy season. If interested, you will need to submit an application, two letters of recommendation as soon as possible. Applications will continue to be accepted until all positions have been filled. Please contact Gretchen Thomasson at internship@islanddolphincare.org for more information.

All internship positions are 6 weeks in length.  If you would like to stay longer because of a school credit requirement, there is the possibility of completing two consecutive 6 week positions (12 weeks total).  This option is subject to availability and any supporting documentation (ie. University paperwork showing internship requirements, etc.) must be submitted along with this application.  Below is the list of internship positions available for the 2017 season.  We are only able to accept a maximum of 6 interns for each position.

2017 Internship Positions

Spring I:  March 6 – April 14, 2017

Spring II:  April 17 – May 26, 2017

Summer I:  May 29 – July 7, 2017

Summer II:  July 10 – August 18, 2017

Fall I:  August 21 – September 29, 2017

Fall II:  October 2 – November 10, 2017

 

Click here for one intern’s story

**Before you print out and send in your internship application for Island Dolphin Care; please read the following information:

Internship criteria and information:

  • Must be at least 21 years of age and enrolled in or a graduate of a college or university.
  • Island Dolphin Care provides therapy internships to applicants who have a background/education in the health sciences (special education, physical therapy, speech/language, psychology, etc.)
  • Island Dolphin Care provides marine science education internships on a limited basis to applicants who have a background/education in marine science and/or education.
  • The internship is six weeks in length.
  • Application packets must have all required information, including references before being considered for the program.  Materials can be submitted together or separately.
  • Island Dolphin Care staff members must approve applications
  • We may need to contact the applicant and/or references for additional information regarding the internship program.
  • Research MUST be PRE-approved by Island Dolphin Care prior to your arrival.

** For more information please see below the Frequently Asked Questions section on this page.

Interns are not allowed to train or feed the dolphins. Interns do not provide instruction to the children in the classroom or in the water. IDC provides the interns with a “behind the scenes” experience as much as possible

**If your internship is intended to fulfill requirements for university credit, we will work with universities or colleges to assure that your work is worthy of receiving credit. Requirements of internship for credit must be submitted with your application

Candidates interested in conducting research during their internship must note this in their application and discuss their research design with the Internship Coordinator prior to scheduling their internship. All candidates must understand that the mission of Island Dolphin Care is bringing joy & assisting families in meeting their needs. Any research or papers written by an intern MUST be consistent with our mission.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where will I stay while interning?
Island Dolphin Care rents a house to our interns. The house is located within a short distance (approximately 1/2 mile) from the IDC facility. The cost of the lodging is $16 per day per intern. Island Dolphin Care has furnished the house with bunk beds in order to accommodate all of our interns. Therefore you may be sharing bathrooms and bedrooms with other interns. The house is equipped with washer and dryer, TV with cable, bedding, towels, basic kitchen utensils & appliance and Internet access. (Many interns prefer to bring their own sheets & towels) Island Dolphin Care does require a non-refundable deposit to secure your spot in the house.

Does Island Dolphin Care provide pay or stipends to interns?
Island Dolphin Care does not provide any paid internship opportunities. While in Key Largo you will be responsible for the cost of your housing, meals, entertainment, and transportation to and around Key Largo, etc. Please refer to the transportation question below for more information.

What will my hours be while interning?
Typically interns are at the Island Dolphin Care facility Monday through Friday from approximately 8am until all sessions and other responsibilities are completed. Interns are usually at the facility no later than 5pm. We also may ask interns to volunteer for occasional evening hours or weekends, to assist with our marine science programs or fundraising events.

What exactly are the intern responsibilities?
The Island Dolphin Care staff depends on help from interns to make our programs the best possible for children and families. Your duties may include taking photos or notes of the sessions, assisting with class and water sessions, assisting instructors with planning, setting up and sometimes implementing class sessions, and assisting with the clean up of classrooms and the facility.

How will I get around the island? Is there public transportation?
Key Largo has very limited public transportation. Island Dolphin Care does provide bicycles for the interns to use throughout their stay. In addition there are taxis and very limited bus services.

How do I apply for an internship?
Complete an application printed from our Website and mail/email/fax the app along with two reference letters with attention to Gretchen Thomasson at IDC. Reference letters should be from current/former employers, or supervisors, or professors.

Do I have to be a student?
No. Typically Island Dolphin Care interns are current students or young professionals with degrees in special education, occupational therapy, physical therapy, or other related fields. However, we have had older interns that are working in one of these fields.

Is there an age requirement? Why?
We only accept interns 21 years of age and older. This is for a variety of different reasons. Most importantly, we feel that at that age you have had a couple of years of school in a related field, and will therefore be able to understand and benefit more from the internship experience. Island Dolphin Care can NOT accept interns under the age of 21 because they are still minors.

How far in advance should I apply for an internship?
Due to the popularity of our internship program, positions usually fill up about one year in advance. We usually post the time frame for which we are accepting applications on our internship page.

Do I need to complete any type of study or project while I am there?
No, you do not need to be working on any type of study or project while you are interning. If you do wish to complete any type of project, it must be approved by our staff prior to the start of your internship.

What do I need to wear during my internship?
You will need to wear a one-piece bathing suit of any color or design, shorts and flip-flops/sandals. We will provide you with two intern shirts to wear at IDC.

Will I get to work with clients in the water during sessions?
You will not be allowed in the water with clients during in-water sessions. Interns will photograph & monitor sessions by taking notes when required by the team or family. Interns will also provide assistance to the therapists from the dock. Assistance includes: holding the child, & interacting with the IDC team & family.

Will I get to swim with the dolphins during my internship?
Island Dolphin Care makes every effort to let the interns swim with the dolphins once during their internship. However, this is NOT guaranteed. If you would like to guarantee a swim during your internship you will need to book and pay for this swim.  Please contact our Internship Coordinator for more information.

What types of clients will I meet and observe during my internship?
Island Dolphin Care works with individuals with a wide variety of disabilities and illness, including, but not limited to, Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation, Rett Syndrome, Angelman’s Syndrome, Mitochondrial disorders, Cancer, Veterans, etc. **If you have additional questions, please read the other information provided on this page regarding internships carefully. If you continue to have questions after reviewing all the information provided, please contact our Internship Coordinator at internship@islanddolphincare.org.

Thank you for your interest in our internship programs. Island Dolphin Care, Inc. is a not-for-profit organization that offers dolphin assisted therapy for children, adults and families coping with various developmental, physical and emotional challenges. Our philosophy is to provide a recreational program, which focuses on the emotional and physical well being of the participant and his/her family. Our programs feature educational, recreational, and motivational activities to assist the participants in reaching their fullest potential.

Please understand that your internship is an opportunity to learn from, and assist the IDC team and participating families. There is no guarantee that an intern will swim with or be in the water with dolphins at any time.

Once accepted into internship, make payment here

**If you have additional questions, please read the other information provided on this page regarding internships carefully. If you continue to have questions after reviewing all the information provided, please contact our Internship Coordinator at internship@islanddolphincare.org

Please return your internship application as soon as possible.
We are now accepting internship applications for the 2017 therapy season. In order to be considered for an internship position in 2017, please submit your application materials as soon as possible.
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