Frequently Asked Questions

How long is the program?

9 weeks – June 17 through August 16.

I have a vacation planned during the program, how many days can I miss?

Pre-Apprentices are only allowed three unexcused absences during the 9-week program.

What if my school ends later or starts earlier than the dates of the program?

Exceptions can be made for school obligations like your school calendar or a school sports team.

If you are asked to become a JAX Pre-Apprentice, we can work with you to come up with a customized plan. Don’t let your school obligations deter you!

How much can I expect to make?

Pre-Apprentices will be paid $19.25 per hour. You can expect to make up to $6,500 during the program!

What are some important dates to remember?

  • Applications are due March 31.
  • Applicants will be invited for interviews by April 14.
  • Offers to be a JAX Animal Care Pre-Apprentice extended to applicants by April 28.
  • Program begins on June 17.

When and where will I be working?

The work day will begin at 7 a.m. and end at 3:30 pm. The first phase will be in Bar Harbor, second phase in Ellsworth and third phase wherever you choose!

What should I expect after I am accepted?

You will receive additional employment forms such as a W-4 and consents for your parent/guardian to sign. Before your first day, a background check will be conducted by JAX and a physical exam must be completed by a medical professional.

What can I expect on the first day?

On the first day you will partake in a day-long orientation to the lab, our community and our processes. You will meet the other pre-apprentices, your trainers and your mentors.

Where can I get lunch?

You will be provided with a subsidy of $7 per day toward food. Our Bar Harbor facility has a cafeteria and lunch will be provided while in Ellsworth.

How will I get to the lab?

If you don’t have your license already, or have ability to carpool with another employee, transportation can be provided via Downeast Transportation.

What is it like to work with mice?

JAX employees enjoy the responsibility of caring for our mice. It is fascinating to see all the different shapes and sizes that a mouse can be and to watch their behaviors!

However, working with live animals requires specific training and preparation, as well as special clothing. You will be walked through this every step of the way!

Interested in learning about JAX mice?  JAX Online MicroLessons and MiniCoursesSelf-paced online learning from the genetics and genomics experts at The Jackson Laboratory, designed for graduate and postdoctoral students, research assistants, early career scientists, lab technicians and advanced undergraduates with a background in biology.Check out some of JAX’s free online courses.

Once I complete the program, am I obligated to work for JAX?

If you complete the summer program, you will be invited to join us again once you turn 18 and graduate high school. However, returning to JAX is not a requirement for your participation in the program. The technical and soft skills that you gain during your pre-apprenticeship can be applied to a variety of workforce sectors. We encourage you to explore all of your options, especially continuing your education. Of course, we hope that you enjoy your experience with us and that one day you will consider full-time employment at JAX.

Who will I be working with?

  • Other pre-apprentices – there will be a maximum of 11 other pre-apprentices that will be with you.
  • Trainers – a group of trainers will guide you through our program in Animal Care and Operations. They are there to show you the ropes and answer any questions you may have.
  • Supervisors – the supervisors of the work areas which you enter will play a key role in showing you all the things that go into making a mouse model.
  • Mentors – mentors will be available for weekly debriefs on the program and your experiences. They will also organize additional learning sessions on topics like ethics and biomedical research.

What if I’m a current senior in high school?

If you are a current senior and graduating with your high school diploma or GED this summer, you are not eligible to participate in the Animal Care Pre-Apprenticeship Program. However, you are qualified to apply for a full-time position at JAX once you turn 18! Check out our current job postings in Animal Care and Operations. We are growing so there are positions in Bar Harbor, Ellsworth and even our facility in Sacramento, California! We would love to have you join us!

Have more questions or just want to know more?

Please send any additional questions to

JAX Apprenticeship

Why mice?

Learn why mice are the best stand-in surrogates for humans and our diseases. 

Programs for high school students and teachers

JAX offers opportunities for academic year research, teacher professional development, and the Maine State Science Fair.