Internships | PAWS Chicago

Internships at PAWS Chicago

Gain valuable experience in animal welfare and non-profit work with Chicago’s largest No Kill organization. A national leader in the No Kill movement, PAWS Chicago offers a variety of internships for college students seeking career experience and training by industry professionals.

Applicants must be at least 18 years of age and willing to commit 12 – 20 hours per week to their program. While it is not necessary to be a college student, priority consideration is given to students seeking academic credit and individuals interested in receiving career experience in a relevant field.

All roles are only available in-person.

Please note that all PAWS Chicago internships are unpaid.

To apply, submit a resume and thoughtful cover letter, and answer the brief questions on the application page.

We also offer internships for high school students!

Term For: Application Window:
Spring internship is January through April/May October 1 - December 15
Summer internship is May through September February 1 - March 15
Fall internship is August/September through December April 1 - June 15  

Special Events Internship

Perfect for an energetic, organized, detail-oriented team-player who has a passion for animals.

Athletic Fundraising Internship

Help ensure the success of two critical PAWS Chicago fundraising programs: TEAM PAWS and the PAWS 5K

Development Internship

Learn more about the development side of Non-Profits, including databases and fundraising.

Adoption Program Internship

Work closely with the PAWS staff to help place homeless animals into the loving homes they deserve.

Training Center Internship

Learn the ins & outs of PAWS' important canine training program & help manage administrative needs.

Volunteer Program Internship

Volunteers touch every aspect of our operations, and this work enables us to magnify our impact.

Animal Care Internship

Support our care team by providing direct care of animals, including dog walking & cat socialization

Intake Program Internship

Help assess animals from shelter partners and elsewhere for admission into our Adoption Program.

Animal Welfare Internship

Get a mix of experience by working with Lurie Spay/Neuter Clinic, Animal Care, and Shelter Medicine.

Community Outreach Internship

Help coordinate Paws for Life and Community Cats programs to bring animal care to underserved areas.

Shelter Management Internship

Learn about shelter management by supporting two crucial programs while developing skills that are transferrable to all non-profit organizations.

Graphic Design Internship

A great opportunity to work on a variety of creative initiatives that promote PAWS Chicago.

Social & Traditional Media Internship

Use your social skills to aid the Communications Team in sharing lifesaving stories of animals.

High School Internship

We have opportunities for high school students to learn more about animal welfare careers.

Animal Enrichment Internship

Spend your time researching, developing, and implementing enrichment activities for animals at PAWS.



The term for PAWS Chicago’s internships are as follows:

Spring internships run January through April/May. The application window for PAWS Chicago’s spring internship is October 1st through December 30.

Summer internships run May through September. The application window for PAWS Chicago’s summer internship is February 1st through March 15th.

Winter internships run August through December. The application window for PAWS Chicago’s winter internship is April 1st through September 15th.

Applications submitted outside of the application windows will not be considered.

Animal interaction is a relevant/regular aspect of several of our internships. Please see individual opportunities for details.

If you are a student seeking an internship for academic credit, we comply with most reporting requirements for their program (service hours log, signed summary of service, progress check-ins with program coordinator, etc.). Please let us know the reporting requirements of your program in your application.

This is not a requirement, but priority consideration will be given to students and recent graduates in fields relevant to the internship applied to.

Our Internships are designed to be immersive and to offer a robust experience to the participant across a 12-16 week commitment. We ask you to apply when only when you can commit to the full program.

Interns are provided with t-shirts to be worn during shifts. Close-toed shoes with good traction and long pants that cover the ankle are required for safety in roles involving animal handling. Guidelines may change slightly based on the role.

All internships are offered in-person while adhering closely to CDC guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19. At the moment, our remote offerings are very limited. If you have questions or concerns, please email

Internships are not paid but can be used for class credit.

The PAWS Medical Center, Lincoln Park Adoption Center and Blazer Building are all accessible via public transportation. Check Google maps for CTA routes and timing.

Free street parking is also available in the surrounding streets from all of our locations, with some paid and permitted parking in the vicinity.

Our No Kill Model

PAWS Chicago is a national model in No Kill animal sheltering, committed to bringing an end to the killing of homeless cats and dogs. As Chicagoland’s largest No Kill shelter, and one of the largest in the nation, PAWS has helped to reduce the number of homeless pets killed in the city by 91% since its founding in 1997. Since founding, PAWS Chicago has grown from a grassroots organization to a national leader in the No Kill movement, guiding other communities in how to dramatically reduce the euthanasia of homeless cats and dogs. 

Thank you for your interest in helping homeless animals!