Pre-veterinary internships are a vital means of gaining experience that will boost a candidate’s chance of acceptance into vet school. Aspiring vets can never have too much experience on their resume when trying to break in to this highly competitive field. Here is an overview of some great internship options for undergraduates pursuing the veterinary career path:
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration offers internships at the FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine each summer (in Maryland). Opportunities at the CVM are available to undergraduate, graduate, and professional students in the U.S. that have maintained at least a 3.5 grade point average and are pursuing a course of study in a veterinary related field. The program is ten weeks in length and begins in June. Compensation ranges from $4781 to $8117, though housing is not provided.
The Disney Professional Internship program offers three veterinary related options: aquatic vet hospital (at Epcot), vet hospital (at Disney’s Animal Kingdom), and veterinary medical records (also at Disney’s Animal Kingdom). Duties vary but include assisting with exam room set-up, sterilizing instruments, preparing samples, record keeping, and interacting with park visitors. Interns must have at least 6 months of experience working in a veterinary environment, be a college senior or recent graduate with a major in the biological sciences, and have a minimum 3.0 grade point average.
The Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine offers an Enrichment Summer Program to aspiring veterinary students. The ESP program is offered to educationally, economically, or culturally disadvantaged students with a 2.7 grade point average or higher. Interns are compensated with a stipend of $50 per day and additional compensation for travel assistance is possible; housing is available on the MSU campus at an additional cost.
The Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine (in Indiana) offers a Veterinary Scholars Summer Research Program for undergraduate and graduate students. This program is designed to expose future vets to non-practice careers such as biomedical or clinical research. During their time at Purdue, students complete their own research study under the direction of a Purdue faculty member. Undergraduate students are compensated with a stipend of $3,000 for the summer program, while graduate students are compensated at the rate of $5,000.
The Seneca Park Zoo (in New York) offers a Pre-Veterinary Summer Fellowship to students that have completed at least two years of a pre-veterinary degree, gained at least 100 hours of practical experience in a veterinary setting, and maintained a 3.0 grade point average. The intern will assist with veterinary treatments, necropsies, surgeries, clinical rounds, behavioral observations, and chemical immobilizations. Interns also complete a research project. The internships are five weeks in length and are available from May to August. Fellowships are fully funded and housing is provided in the University of Rochester dormitories.
The Plum Island Animal Disease Center (PIADC) (in Tennessee) offers a Research Participation Program for undergraduate or graduate students studying veterinary medicine, pathology, or other biological sciences. Students work full time on research projects related to animal diseases. Projects may include topics in epidemiology, vaccine development, and immune response. Benefits may include a monthly stipend, partial medical coverage, and some travel reimbursement. Research positions usually last for 12 months.
The Staten Island Zoo (in New York) offers a veterinary technician internship to current college students or recent graduates with majors in biology, zoology, or a closely related field. Interns assist vets and vet techs with husbandry, veterinary care, and lab work over the course of a three month internship in the Animal Hospital and Nursery.
Select Sires (in Ohio) offers a veterinary internship to undergraduate or graduate students with an interest in food animal medicine. Interns assist with physical exams, herd health duties, collection of blood or semen samples from bulls, and implementation of biosecurity measures. The internship is a minimum of 4 weeks long and is offered in spring and summer sessions. Students receive an hourly wage during the internship but housing is not provided.
Working at a local small animal veterinary clinic is another great way to get your foot in the door. Most new employees at veterinary clinics start out by cleaning cages and washing dogs. Once you establish a reputation for being a dedicated team player, the vet will usually offer you the chance to act as a veterinary assistant during exams and procedures. For more, see How to Get a Job at a Vet Clinic.