2 answers

What is the best way to approach a veterinarian regarding job-shadowing?

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Most veterinarian practices that I have run into or researched do not have a student program which allows for internships or volunteering--they are simply medical practices. However, shadowing a vet can give great insight into deciding if the vet-path is a good career path for a student and most schools require x number of hours of vet-shadowing. How can I approach vets about shadowing? Is cold calling a good idea? Emailing? Also, how can you negotiate shadowing for a long period of time (months, rather than just one weekend)? #internships #veterinarian #veterinary #volunteering #veterinary-medicine #volunteer #work-shadowing #shadowing

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Courtney’s Answer

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My junior year of high school I found my vet clinic internship by talking to the office manager at one of our local clinics. I walked in with my resume and asked for the office manager. I introduced myself, told her where I went to school and that I was in the Vet Med pathway. Then I asked her if she would consider letting me intern there.


My resume was already pretty full because I started my own pet sitting business when I was 11; I started volunteering at a zoo when I was 14; and I was in FFA.


You could also approach your vet next time you take your animal there. As she's examining your animal just start a conversation and tell her that you want to be a vet and ask if she has any internships or has suggestions on where or how you can gain experience.


Vet Clinic Internships are pretty popular in our area, likely because we have career high schools that offer vet med pathways, which is what I was in.


Maybe talk to the office manager of the vet clinic you use. If they don't offer internships/shadowing, they might be able to recommended a clinic that does.


I did some online research and here are some places that offer internships:

  • Penn Vet https://www.vet.upenn.edu/research/centers-initiatives/penn-vet-working-dog-center/learn-about-working-dogs/internships-externships-fellowships
  • Philadelphia Zoo https://www.philadelphiazoo.org/Get-Involved/Volunteer/College-Other-Internships.htm
  • PAWS https://phillypaws.org/internships/
  • Philadelphia SPCA https://www.pspca.org/intern




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Kortnee’s Answer

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Hello, Jackie!

My suggestion is to conduct informational interviews as a way to approach Veterinarians for an opportunity to job-shadow. For instance, you can call a Veterinarian Office and explain you are currently a college student looking to learn more information about the field. During your phone call ask whether a Veterinarian is available to speak with you in-person for 30 minutes or an hour. Following your informational meeting/interview with the Veterinarian, follow-up with them via email thanking them for their time. During your follow-up, ask them whether you can volunteer your time helping out with the office (making copies, fax requests, or other administrative tasks). As you volunteer your time at the office, then you can ask if you can "shadow" a Veterinarian for however long you need. Remember, it's better to give first and then ask for your request. And of course, meet with a Career Advisor at your campus to discuss internship opportunities at you local Veterinarian Office. Best of luck with your educational and professional endeavors!

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