Fishes Internship

The Fishes internship program is designed to be a career learning experience. Interns will assist the Fishes staff with daily husbandry duties for the exhibits, reserve and support areas, including data collection and food preparation. The intern may work toward accomplishing a special research, observational, or school project. Internships are available in spring, summer and fall. A commitment of three months, 24 to 40 hours a week, is required.

Potential Internship Areas:

  • Amazon Rising
  • Animal programs
  • Galleries
  • Quarantine
  • Special exhibits
  • Wild Reef

Note: All areas may not hire interns for each season.


Internships vary in length and starting date. Please specify on your application form the date on which you would like to begin your internship. Starting dates are normally in January, May and September.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Check specimens, exhibits and reserve tanks each morning and afternoon for specimen health and operation of aquarium systems.
  • Prepare daily ration of frozen, fresh and dry commercial foods.
  • Maintain detailed husbandry and medical records including daily reports in assigned husbandry areas and input data via computers onto spreadsheets and/or databases.
  • Assist in enclosure and exhibit maintenance including live food cultures, cleaning, life-support systems, filters, pumps, heaters, etc., and exhibit renovations.
  • Take accurate measurements and record data in an understandable manner.
  • Work safely under a variety of working conditions, including hot or humid conditions.
  • Work well in a team environment.
  • Provide a written summary of your internship.
  • Accomplish other duties as assigned.

Qualifications and Specifications

  • Currently enrolled or recent graduate of a college or university bachelor's degree program in the biological sciences, preferably with coursework in ichthyology and other aquatic sciences.
  • Must be at least 18 years old.
  • Must have a TB test within the last 12 months or be willing to get and pay for testing before internship begins (Amazon Rising interns only).
  • Must have a valid driver's license.
  • Must have good hearing, visual acuity, verbal and written communicative skills and be able to regularly lift at least 60 pounds.
  • Interns may be assigned special scheduling needs throughout the week, including weekends and holidays. There is a minimum commitment of 24 hours a week to a maximum of 40 hours a week. Shift times are usually 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., but can vary with internship area.  


Download the Fishes Internship Application here.

Please submit the completed and signed application with the following required materials.

Required Materials

• Completed and signed application

• Resume, indicating education and employment experiences. Please include any aquatic closed-system care/home aquarium husbandry experience.

• Cover letter indicating reasons for interest in an internship with our program.

• Reference list with at least three individuals (please include address and phone numbers) whom we may contact to vouch for your character and/or work ethic.

• Two letters of professional/academic recommendation.

Application Deadlines

Spring: Nov. 15

Summer: March 15

Fall: July 15

Applications will be accepted throughout the year for a minimum of a three-month commitment.

How to Apply

To be considered for an internship with the Fishes Department, send an application packet containing all the required items to:

John G. Shedd Aquarium
Attn: Carol Rudin 
Fishes Department
1200 S. Lake Shore Drive 
Chicago, IL 60605

Or email application to


For more information, please e-mail us.