Clearwater Marine Aquarium volunteer group


Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA) offers structured internships to current full-time or part-time college students (or recent graduates within 12 months of course completion) that will directly benefit their education and ultimately their career.

We offer full-time internships in the following areas:

HR & Volunteer Management
Marketing & Advertising
Aquatics/Water Quality
Guest Experience
Marine Mammal Training
Non-Profit Management
Sea Turtle Nesting (Summer Internship ONLY)
Sea Turtle Rehabilitation
Stranding Team
Visual Merchandiser
Retail Stores Operations Management
Video Assistant

How to Apply

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HR & Volunteer Management

The primary role of the HR/Volunteer Management Intern is to assist with the design, implementation and management of the HR/volunteer program. You will assist with the HR Administrator/Volunteer Coordinator’s chief responsibility of managing the HR/volunteer program, which includes marketing and recruitment; scheduling and supervision. As a HR/Volunteer Management intern, the need to handle community relations is of key importance. You will assist with management of all volunteer program-related communications and special events, as well as other duties and tasks assigned. Candidates applying for this position should posses the following:

  • Exceptional organizational skills with reliability and consistency in work performance
  • Flexibility with a team player mentality
  • Ability to work with minimal to moderate supervision
  • An extreme focus on good judgment with a proactive approach to problem-solving
  • Ability to maintain a professional demeanor with great interpersonal and communication skills
  • Ability to multi-task with the capability to learn quickly and integrate efficiently
  • Maintain professional standards of performance, demeanor and appearance at all times
  • Exercise discretion and professional judgment at all times, maintaining the strictest of confidentiality
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office (Word, Excel and Outlook)

Applicants should be pursuing a degree in HR or Volunteer Management.

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Marketing & Advertising

The Marketing & Advertising Assistant position at CMA will be a once in a lifetime experience for the student chosen to intern during this exciting time at CMA. In the midst of filming and promoting our new digital TV series, Rescue-Clearwater, there are opportunities to learn many different areas of the marketing world. This opening has potential to grow a student’s knowledge of marketing on a national level as well as participate in a cause-based capital campaign marketing effort. It is a ONCE in a lifetime internship where students will engage in the following educational experiences:

  • To have students employed in a fast paced, out of the box, creative marketing environment while developing practical marketing and communications experience
  • To challenge students ideas of conventional marketing practices to create unique and extraordinary results in a timely manner
  • To analyze the relationship between the students’ undergraduate academic preparation and the processes/activities employed by non-profit organizations
  • To provide students an opportunity to gain an insight into the marketing alongside a national media event in conjunction with an international marketing environment

Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Although a portion of the responsibilities will be clerical, a large portion of the internship will be determined by the candidates specific skill set
  • Assist in all aspects of social media marketing
  • Assist in the development & completion of our brand new web site
  • Help develop and implement donation campaigns
  • Assist in the promotional campaign efforts for Rescue-Clearwater
  • Research & update daily digital marketing analytics
  • Assist in our email marketing efforts
  • Other duties and tasks as assigned in a marketing/development context
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Aquatics/Water Quality

Aquatics interns will assist in maintaining the water quality and appearance for all the exhibits at our facility. This includes daily water quality testing, recordkeeping, backwashing, plumbing and maintenance of filters and pumps, and caring for animals in fish systems including sharks, stingrays and other fish. Candidates should be pursuing a degree in chemistry, engineering, marine biology, or another related field.

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The Education Department at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium offers a wide variety of opportunities for students interested in educating in a non-traditional setting. Throughout the course of the internship, students will learn how the aquarium works as a whole by interacting with all departments to provide an informative yet fun experience for hundreds of guests daily. Using the draw of our marine animal ambassadors, interns will work with staff to educate school groups and the public about marine life, conservation, and sustainability. Summer participants in the internship program also work closely with our camp program. Upon completing the internship, all Education interns will have gained experience in public speaking, classroom presentations and management, science education instruction, and guest relations.

Duties and Responsibilities:
Interns assist staff with all Educational Programs, including school tours and lectures, online distance learning, and off-site presentations. Interns will also represent Clearwater Marine Aquarium at various festivals in the Tampa Bay area. Interns will act as crew for the aquarium’s boating eco-tours, which utilize research net pulls to educate the public on marine life and ecosystems. Summer interns will actively participate in CMA’s popular summer camp program, which involves classroom teaching and snorkeling in our local waters to provide campers with hands-on learning.

Candidates should be pursuing a degree in education, marine science, biology, environmental science, or other related fields. Public speaking skills or previous education experience preferred, however all college-level aspiring educators are encouraged to apply.

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Guest Experience

The Guest Experience is a vital component to operations at Clearwater Marine Aquarium and Winter’s Dolphin Tale Adventure. If guests don’t enjoy their visit, they may not continue to support our work. A friendly, well-informed team member can take the guest experience to the next level, and truly immerse guests into our mission. Guest Experience Interns work alongside staff and volunteers to ensure all visitors learn about the resident animals, rehabilitation efforts, and the amazing work done every day at Clearwater Marine Aquarium – and that they have fun in the process.

What Will You Learn?

  • PUBLIC SPEAKING: you will improve public speaking skills through repeated practice giving presentations on a microphone and leading behind the scenes tours. The ability to speak professionally is always in demand.
  • PUBLIC INTERACTION: No matter what field you ultimately pursue, communication is vital. You will learn to interact with guests of all ages and interests, to share information with visitors and colleagues alike, and to successfully resolve complaints with unhappy visitors.
  • HOW TO PITCH A PROJECT: there is always room for improvement in the guest experience! Interns work together to identify a project, then research all aspects of potential implementation before pitching their project to corporate executives.

What Should You Bring?

  • A positive attitude
  • Willingness to learn
  • Flexibility
  • Creativity
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Marine Mammal Training

The Marine Mammal Training internship at Clearwater Marine Aquarium is designed to give students an inside look into what it takes to care for marine animals, with emphasis on Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphins and North American River Otters. We use training as a way to stimulate our animals since they can never rejoin their counterparts in the open ocean. Our animals are trained for medical management behaviors, like blood draw, gastric and fecal samples, and even ultrasound. We also train mentally stimulating behaviors like mimicking and match-to-sample behaviors to challenge their intelligence and the ‘fun’ aerial behaviors such as bows, somersaults and speed swims to give them the same physical workout they would receive in the wild. During your internship, you will learn how to prepare diets, maintain exhibits, provide enrichment and mental stimulation, keep behavioral records, and give public presentations to educate our visitors about these amazing animals and environmental conservation. You will also learn how trainers use principles such as positive reinforcement, classical conditioning and shaping to train these animals. Due to the fact that internships are custom designed to each individual’s skill level, you may or may not have the opportunity to assist trainers in behaviors, or even maintain some established behaviors by the end of your internship. Candidates should be able to perform physically demanding duties and be enrolled in a four-year college program in psychology, biology, marine biology or another related field and have some hands-on animal experience, such as volunteering at an animal shelter or completing other marine mammal internships at other facilities. SCUBA, First Aid and CPR certification is also a plus.

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Non-Profit Management

Do you want to learn more about non-profit management? If so, spend some time interning with the Development Director and Marketing Manager learning the insand outs of the non-profit world. Some of the duties will include: data entry, donor software management and list maintenance, donor recognition, donor level benefit assigning, special event coordination, off site representation, hotel marketing, advertising pitches and general administrative duties. Candidates should be pursuing a degree in management, development or marketing.

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Sea Turtle Nesting (Summer Internship ONLY)

The Sea Turtle Nesting internship is designed to give college students, or recent graduates, an opportunity to perform field research that is reported to government agencies. Interns will be trained to patrol 26 miles of beach, using CMA vehicles, and identify crawl tracks that nesting adult female sea turtles leave behind on the beach. Interns will also be responsible for scientific data collection, verifying new sea turtle nests (locating eggs), marking new nests, responding to nests that washover/washout, caging nests, excavating nests after they hatch, nighttime nest observations, hatchling releases and public education. Candidates should:

• Be currently enrolled in, or recently graduated from, a four-year college program in biology, marine biology, environmental science, ecology or another related field.
• Have a valid driver’s license.
• Perform physically demanding duties (i.e. able to lift up to 50lbs, able to work 10 hour shifts primarily active and on your feet).
• Be comfortable working early in the morning and late at night, as you will participate in both shifts (not concurrently).
• Be comfortable working in extreme weather conditions (heat, rain, wind, etc.).
• Be able to work well in both a group an individually.
• Have excellent communication skills, both oral and verbal.
• Possess a positive attitude and a willingness to learn and collect accurate data.
• Previous sea turtle experience is a plus, but not necessary.
• Previous experience operating 4-wheel drive vehicles or ATVs is a plus, but not necessary.

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Sea Turtle Rehabilitation

The Sea turtle Rehabilitation internship gives students a hands-on learning experience caring for sea turtles currently undergoing rehabilitation as well assea turtles who remain as permanent residents at CMA. Interns will be able to assist in diet preparation, animal feeding and behavioral records, exhibit maintenance, medical examinations and procedures as well as enrichment. Interns will need to handle fish, shrimp, and squid, complete tasks relating to surgical preparation and daily medical care, as well as operate safely in sometimes slippery environments or on narrow walkways. Interns will be required to give public presentations to guests of CMA to educate them about these protected and endangered species.
Candidates should be able to:

• Perform physically demanding duties (i.e. able to lift up to 50lbs, able to work 10 hour shifts primarily active and on your feet)
• Able to work under adverse weather conditions (heat, humidity, direct sunlight)
• Commit to a set 4 days per week schedule, including the holidays the schedule falls on
• Be currently or recently enrolled in a four-year college program in veterinary science, biology, marine biology, environmental science, or another related field.
• Possess the ability to work well within a group or individually
• Maintain a good attitude through busy or long days
• Experience with animal care is beneficial but not essential

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Stranding Team

The Stranding Team Internship program at Clearwater Marine Aquarium provides interns with a unique opportunity to gain hands on experience in the response of live and dead dolphins, whales, sea turtles, and North American river otters. The Stranding Team seeks enthusiastic, dedicated, and hardworking individuals who are interested in promoting wildlife conservation through stranding efforts.

• Strong writing, communication, and organizational skills
• Enrolled or a graduate from a four-year college program pertaining to the field
• Physically capable of lifting up to 50lbs
• Flexible hours (e.g., possibly working on weekends and after hours)
• Previous experience in animal care or the marine science field is preferred

Duties and Responsibilities:

• Responding to stranding events through first response, triage, crowd control, monitoring, transport, data collection, rehabilitation, release, carcass recovery, and/or necropsy as well through following sanitation and quarantine protocols. It is important to note that stranding events are variable and are thus not guaranteed.
• Monitoring the 24-hour Emergency Stranding Hotline
• Narrating for workshops, aquarium presentations, and outreach events
• Assisting with the maintenance of stranding facilities, equipment, and supplies
• Participating in the care of resident aquatic mammals through diet preparation and conducting ethograms
• Completing assigned internship projects (e.g., developing presentations, leading outreach events, etc.)

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Visual Merchandiser

This internship will be based in Retail Visual Merchandising and entails working in our retail stores in conjunction with the Director of Retail Sales and Buyer of Merchandise. This role involves a general physical work and creativity; you will based at our Winter’s Dolphin Tale Adventure location and support all retail outlets as needed. The internship must be available five days a week and requires a flexible schedule. This is a great way for a student or trainee in Retail Visual Merchandising to learn from an organization which takes pride in its visual and presentation of our brand image to our overall guest experience.


  • Organizational skills and attention to detail
  • Strong verbal and written communications skills
  • Able to work well under tight deadlines in a fast-paced retail environment
  • Creativity, vision and understanding of merchandising product
  • Planning product launches and preparing sales and stock plans in conjunction with buyer and Director of Retail Sales
  • Maintaining a comprehensive visual focus of our core brand presence and overall retail product collections
  • Maintain appropriate sales and sell through data to enhance the retail guest experience
  • Working closely with the Marketing Department to decide how goods should be signed to maximize customer interest and elevate the overall guest focus
  • Producing visual layout plans for stores
  • Gathering information on the guest experience and reactions to product displays


  • Candidates must be enrolled as a student at an accredited school that requires intern work experience.
  • Candidates must be passionate about customer service and express interest in learning about the retail industry.
  • Candidates must be detail oriented, independent workers with strong communication, organization and display or merchandising skills.
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Retail Stores Operations Management

This internship will be based in Retail Stores Operations and entails working in our retail stores in conjunction with the Retail Stores Operations Manager. This role involves a general physical work and creativity; you will be based at our Clearwater Marine Aquarium location and support the retail outlet at our second facility, Winter’s Dolphin Adventure. The internship must be available five days a week and requires a flexible schedule. This is a great way for a student or trainee in Retail Stores Operations to learn from an organization which takes pride in the operation, merchandising and presentation of our brand image to our overall guest experience.


• Organizational skills and attention to detail
• Strong verbal and written communications skills
• Able to work well under tight deadlines in a fast-paced, high-volume retail environment
• Ability to perform physically demanding duties (i.e. able to lift up to 50lbs, able to work 10 hour shifts primarily active and on your feet
• Be able to work well independently as well as part of a team

What you will learn:

• Supervision of team members and volunteers by assigning routine tasks during all shifts
• Conducting new employment interviews and hiring, team member motivation and guidance, team member discipline and terminations.
• Planning for replenishment, product display, and merchandising in all retail areas
• Coordination of delivery schedules during peak and non-peak seasons by working closely with the Distribution / Delivery Departments
• Development of weekly schedules that maintain a balance of hours to keep employees within allotted and authorized hours
• Proficiency in cash and safe accountability
• Management of guest issues, satisfying guests and maximizing their sales experience
• To achieve communication with all retail staff and cross departments
• Opening and closing of the POS system, processing cash and credit sales transactions
• To provide excellent service to our guests at all times
• To interact with guests of all ages and interests, to share information with visitors and colleagues alike, and to successfully resolve complaints with unhappy visitors.
• Candidates must be passionate about customer service and express interest in learning about the retail industry
• Candidates should be detail oriented, independent workers with strong communication and organizational skills

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Video Assistant

The video assistant intern position will aid in maintaining A/V equipment; assist with video shoot set up/breakdown, camera operation, and video production. May assist in the following: Monitoring and maintaining AV equipment, Archiving video footage Set up, run and breakdown AV equipment for special events, Set up and breakdown filming equipment for film shoots, Run second camera for film shoots, Film/document/archive events at CMA, Video editing, training/projects. Applicants for the Video Assistant internship should be comfortable working in hot/humid outdoor conditions, Able to work flexible hours,  Able to lift 50lbs. Previous video experience is preferred.

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The Aquarist intern position will assist the Animal Care Department with daily care of the Aquarium’s fish and invertebrate systems. Time would be divided between Clearwater Marine Aquarium property and two offsite locations. Responsibilites include but are not limited to Exhibit cleaning including filter maintenance that includes wet/dry and sand filtration backwashing, Water chemistry/record keeping, Animal Observation, Food preparation, Water changes, Assist in veterinary and husbandry procedures on animals and occasionally help Turtle and Mammal Departments.

Applications should posses the following qualifications: Some background knowledge of marine aquarium keeping. Broad knowledge of ecological and biological principles relating to marine habitats. Desire to work closely with marine fish and invertebrates. Ability to lift and carry 50 pounds. Willingness to get wet and dirty. SCUBA certification recommended but not required. Posses a valid drivers license.

Email Kerra Hubbard ( for more information:


Please submit a completed
– Internship Application
– Resume
– Cover Letter
– Letter of Reference
– and $25 to process your application.

Checks and money orders should be made out to Clearwater Marine Aquarium.

Complete applications should be sent via mail to:
Clearwater Marine Aquarium
249 Windward Passage
Clearwater, Florida 33767
Attention: Kerra Hubbard, Assistant Volunteer Coordinator

Internship Season Approx. Start & End Dates* Application Due Date

SPRING: January – May
Applications Due: October 1st

SUMMER: May – August
Applications Due: February 1st

FALL: August – January
Applications Due: May 1st

*Start and end dates are flexible to accommodate your school schedule.

Internship Application CLICK HERE

Internships are unpaid, housing is not provided. Interns commit to 5 days a week for a period of approximately 4 months. International applications are accepted.

If you have any questions about the Clearwater Marine Aquarium’s Internship Program, please contact Kerra Hubbard, our Assistant Volunteer Coordinator, at or 727-441-1790 x258. Thank you for your interest in our facility and good luck!


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