Veterinary Externship Opportunities

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By Allison Salonko.

Allison is a Veterinary Technician in the state of Indiana. She graduated from International Business College and Vet Tech Institute of Indianapolis with a degree in Animal Science and Technology in 2011.

Veterinary students start wondering about externships as the final year of school approaches. It is necessary to work in a clinical externship, internship or preceptor in order to graduate vet school. Some students know exactly what kind of experience they are looking for, whether it be large animal, exotic work or just regular small animal practice, everyone has to go through the stressful but educating grind of an externship.

Finding a place to extern at can be crazy stressful and probably overwhelming.

This article will go over a list of veterinary externship opportunities, ranging from just in the US to branching out to some international locations, such as Costa Rica or Europe.

What to Consider First When Looking for an Externship

When you are putting yourself out there and looking for a facility to extern at, one of the first things you need to ask yourself is, “What do I want to do when I get into practice?”

Basically, knowing what you want to do with your life outside of vet school (yes, one day school will be over) is the easier way to narrow down the places to consider. Because, trust me, there are a lot of places to consider.

International vs Interstate

An international externship gives you a lot of opportunities to see things and places you wouldn’t normally see where you grew up.

Traveling to a country that is different from yours can be terrifying and exciting all at the same time! Especially, if you are traveling for a school or work opportunity.

While international externship opportunities are harder to come by, they are out there.

Staying within your home state is comforting and can also be just as rewarding and educational as going to another country.

There are always more externship opportunities available within the US at local or regional hospitals.

Many specialty facilities are always looking for veterinary externs as it is easy to shape them to their needs during the learning process and potentially hire them afterward.

AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) Externship

The AVMA is a well-known and super reliable source for veterinarians and other professionals in the field. They offer their own externship with them, allowing students to experience the AVMA Headquarters and the Government Relations office in Washington, DC.

They help their externs explore veterinary medicine and the role that the AVMA plays in the veterinary profession as a whole.

AVMA is also an excellent source for locating an externship opportunity.

They have an externship finder that you can apply filters regarding the dates needed, location of the clinic or hospital and the area of interest that you are looking for.

American Association of Wildlife Veterinarians


The organization of the American Association of Wildlife Veterinarians in itself isn’t the externship holder, but they are a direct source for finding a facility or rescue that has the same ambitions that you do with wildlife.

There are over a dozen externship opportunities ranging from one coast to the other in the US, striving to protect, treat and save American wildlife.

The rare and amazing chance to work with wild and endangered species is an incredible opportunity and many rescues and other organizations are looking for hard-working, talented and ambitious individuals.

Wild Sun Rescue

This externship opportunity with Wild Sun Rescue is one that would be filled with adventure, especially for someone who has spent most of their lives in the states.

This particular externship takes place in Costa Rica and focuses on conservation medicine and treating sick and injured wildlife.

Throughout their 4 week stay, the students will gain a deeper knowledge of what conservation medicine is and how it differs from the typical zoo or exotic medicine. They also learn what role the veterinarian plays in conservation and deciding when and how an animal’s rehab journey will end so they can return to the wild.

If this sounds like an experience you would be interested in, then go to their site and fill out their externship application!

VCA Hospitals

VCA is an organization of hospitals in the US, with over 76 locations there are plenty of opportunities to find one that is looking for externships within your home state. VCA strives to provide the best quality care of medicine for their patients as well as keep their employees happy with their compassionate culture.

Their hospitals are enthusiastic about bringing on future talent, including veterinarians and veterinary technicians, for externship opportunities.

They hope that they can help teach you how to confidently navigate the veterinary field and potentially work for their team in the future.

Purdue University

Purdue University welcomed its first class of veterinary students in 1959 and has continued to be the only veterinary college in Indiana and is one of only 30 schools that teach vet med in the US.

While doing an externship for Purdue is an option, they also offer a few other interesting opportunities besides going to Lafayette.

This school has a list of opportunities for studying abroad. The locations are all over the world, ranging from Australia to France to Dubai or Belize and so much more!

These externship opportunities could be a chance of a lifetime if you were hoping to one day see more than just the country you were born in.

After all, there are so many other places with fascinating animals and people, why not branch out to somewhere totally different and unique.

Finding That Perfect Externship

Finding an veterinary externship that fits your personal wants and needs can be tricky but also exciting and rewarding if it actually works out.

Being sure that you are putting your mental and physical energy into doing an externship at a place that fits your values and beliefs is important.

You will want to use this time and opportunity to better yourself and your future career by choosing the perfect externship.


Photo by FLOUFFY on Unsplash.