Roanoke Island Internships

Unpaid Internship opportunities

College students can explore their interests and gain practical work experience through an unpaid internship. Interns are an integral part of our staff and assist with all aspects of Aquarium operations. You must be at least 18 years old to apply for all of our unpaid internships. Typically, our unpaid internships last for 10 weeks with possible evening, weekend and holiday work required. Start and end dates are flexible.
Internship Application  

Internship application Deadlines

Spring - January 15th
Summer - March 15th
Fall - July 15th


Summer Public Programs interns will gain skills in conducting education programs on a variety of marine and freshwater topics including sharks, sea turtles, snakes and more. Interns will be trained on handling live animals and how to effectively do presentations for the public with our animal ambassadors. Other areas in which interns will receive training include but are not limited to interpreting at our interactive touch pools, staffing discovery carts, interpreting during feeding presentations, and answering questions in various galleries. Qualifications: Currently enrolled in college-level coursework; candidates must be working toward a degree in Biology, Marine Sciences, Natural Resources, Environmental Education, Parks and Recreation, Teaching or a related field. 


Assist staff with exhibit designs, multimedia and graphics. These opportunities may include facilitating and coordinating projects involving exhibits, interior design, exterior projects, signage, the appearance of public spaces, archiving historic materials, data entry and short term and long range planning. Design interns must be prepared to bring new and creative ideas with them that will benefit the Aquarium. Prefer prior experience working in an aquarium, zoo or museum setting, ability to use office and design software (AdobeTM Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Acrobat, Word Processing), ability to use a SLR digital camera, and ability to lift 50 lbs.


Work alongside Husbandry staff to care for a variety of fish, invertebrates, reptiles, amphibians, and plants. Interns will learn to maintain water quality and understand the operations of major salt and freshwater aquarium systems. Responsibilities include (but are not limited to) testing water chemistry, preparing food, feeding animals, cleaning filters and exhibits, creating enrichment activities for animal welfare, making saltwater, watering plant areas, learning to observe animal behaviors, and operating major aquarium systems including quarantine, holding and display tanks. Additional responsibilities may be assigned. This is a great opportunity to gain field experience in marine biology.
An applicant must have one year of college courses completed and must be self-motivated, a good communicator, and able to work well independently or in a group.

Special Activities

Our goal is to change visitors’ lives by increasing their self-worth and their ability to work together with others, while emphasizing environmental stewardship and experiential learning by placing visitors in a natural environment where they can learn first-hand about their vital relationship with the environment. Spring interns (March-May) will focus on learning and leading hands-on, experiential, educational and outdoor courses such as overnight stays at the Aquarium, special fee educational programs, school group programs and birthday parties. Summer interns will be teaching pre-approved curriculum, facilitating team-building and conducting indoor and outdoor activities such as summer camps, kayak eco-tours, beach ecology trips, marsh explorations, animal feeding programs, themed birthday parties and overnight stays at the Aquarium.


Daily routine may include (but is not limited to) watering, weed control, pest monitoring and control, installing new plants, rotating seasonal exhibit plants, pruning, soil preparation, mulching and propagation. Work areas will include the Aquarium’s greenhouse, nursery, wildflower meadow, indoor exhibits, exhibit support areas and the outdoor landscaping and demonstration gardens. Daily tasks will vary depending on weather and seasonal needs. Field work opportunities, such as native plant surveys and seed collection, are possible. The intern will also work on a special project designed in cooperation with the Horticulturist which will focus on an area of special concern for NC Aquarium Horticulture.

STAR Center

Sea Turtle Assistance and Rehabilitation (STAR) Center interns will complete daily husbandry tasks for the sea turtles (including, but not limited to, physical exams and treatments, food prep, cleaning and pool maintenance). During their internship, they learn medical procedures for sea turtles and techniques for caring for sea turtles to treat various illnesses and injuries. During the summer, sea turtles are regularly released back into the ocean, and interns will assist with transport preparations and crowd management on the beach. Public speaking will be required on a daily basis – an important function of the STAR Center is to educate Aquarium visitors on sea turtle natural history and the specific illnesses and injuries they experience that bring them to the STAR Center.

Apply for an internship in Education, Exhibits, STAR Center, Horticulture or Special Activities by emailing your application along with a cover letter and résumé to [email protected] or send it to the following address:
Volunteer Coordinator
NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island
P.O. Box 967
Manteo, NC 27954

Those applying for an internship in Husbandry need to send a cover letter and résumé to [email protected] or mail it to the following address:
Britt Purtee
NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island
P.O. Box 967
Manteo, NC 27954

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