Studying to become a veterinarian is a long process, and getting some working experience can help. A veterinary internship is an excellent way to get involved with the day-to-day operation of veterinary practice and put some of the skills you are learning in school to the test.
Finding An Internship
As you work through veterinary school, you may come to a point that the school requires you to intern somewhere to get some experience. Most schools can help you locate an internship program and get you set up with a practice that students have worked with in the past.
If the school does not offer placement help, call the local vet practices and ask them if they take on interns and what you have to do to be considered. Many veterinarians will help students out and get them started on the right path through internships and mentoring.
Internships And Responsibilities
Veterinarian internship opportunities are often unpaid positions, but you will be able to shadow the doctor and the techs in the office to see what they do throughout the day. Sometimes you will be asked to clean kennels, walk dogs, or feed all the animals in the office, but most veterinarians do not limit you to just those kinds of jobs.
The idea is to learn all that needs doing in the office, not just the cool or fun stuff. Ask the vet you are shadowing any questions you have, and apply those answers to the education you have. Often things you learned will be easier to understand when you see them in practice, and you may get to assist with things that will help tie the loose ends up and help you understand why something is the way it is.
If you are studying to be a veterinarian, you will likely have several years of internships before you finish school and may need to move on to paid internships before you can practice as a veterinarian after graduation. Like human doctors, veterinarians have to pass a test and be licensed before treating animals of any kind.
Large Or Small Animals
When setting up your veterinary internship, try to find a practice specializing in the kinds of animals you want to work with when you complete school. A vet that treats horses, for instance, is very different from one that works with dogs and cats.
If your goal is to deal with large animals, you need to work with a large animal veterinarian that does that every day. These kinds of internships are often harder to find, but if you are persistent, you will find a vet that will take you on and teach you a lot as you complete your formal education.
To get started finding a veterinary internship opportunity, reach out to a counselor in your school.