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Unleashed!
Behind-the-scenes advice for your journey to become a vet

How do internships help prepare you for vet school?

Completing animal internships in veterinary medicine, zoo sciences, animal care, or other related fields can dramatically increase your chances of getting into a great veterinary school. However, finding a quality pre-vet internship for undergraduates that is worth both your time and money can be challenging.

What is a veterinary internship?

Internships for undergraduates within the veterinary field work like most internships. Student interns shadow and assist veterinarians and other experts to learn more about the work. However, many undergraduate internships in the animal field, especially veterinary medicine, work with nonprofits and other organizations. It’s common for these internships to charge a fee or tuition to cover various costs in addition to keeping the program running. There are many animal volunteer internships located around the world, allowing pre-vet students to gain hands-on experience with many different types of animals and work environments.

How can an internship program help me prepare for veterinary school?

Animal internships are an excellent way to help prepare students for veterinary school. It can be difficult to find work in the veterinary field without experience or a degree. Internships help fill this gap by providing valuable experience, even if you have never stepped foot in an animal clinic.

Earn veterinary hours of experience

The vast majority of veterinary schools require animal hours for acceptance: at least 180 hours of animal, veterinary, or biomedical work experience. However, UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine states that admitted applicants have an average of 2,500 to 3,000 hours. Veterinary internships are an excellent way to obtain these essential hours and learn clinical skills in a way that will stand out more than other volunteer programs.

Make your vet school application stand out

Listing that you provided veterinary care to rescued zoo animals in Belize or studied internal medicine with wildlife in Costa Rica will pop out among hundreds of hopeful applicants. These types of internships, especially veterinary internships abroad, will show that you have gained valuable experience and that you are dedicated to pursuing a veterinary career.

Learn more about the veterinary field

Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for pre-veterinary students to work remarkably hard to get into vet school, only to discover their passion lies in another field of animal science. Working with experienced veterinary professionals will give a closer look at the daily life in a hospital, zoo, or other location. Many internships combine veterinary medicine with other fields such as marine biology or conservation science. After talking with veterinarians, vet nurses, and other animal field experts, you may discover you would rather go to school to be a veterinary technician or marine biologist. Diving deeper and opening your mind to other career paths may save you time, money, and heartache in the future. Or, it may simply strengthen your dedication to pursuing a degree in animal medicine.

Do I need to complete a pre-vet internship to get into veterinary school?

Internships are not required to be accepted into vet school, but veterinary experience hours are. Pre-vet internships are an incredible way to earn those hours while gaining valuable experience working with veterinarians and other animal experts. By working a full-time internship for a month over the summer, you can earn over 700 veterinary experience hours. That’s nearly 4 times the number required for admittance!

How do I find a good veterinary internship?

To find a quality animal internship, look at certified zoos, hospitals, and shelters in your area. Many may have programs for pre-vet students to shadow and assist in earning hours for vet school. Other programs, like Loop Abroad, develop high-quality internship positions in a variety of fields and work with different types of animals worldwide. Before signing up, ensure the program is legit and will provide you with documented service hours that you can present to your vet school of choice.

See our post “What to look for in a pre-veterinary internship abroad” for more tips on how to pick the right internship for you!

Consider a veterinary internship abroad

There are many companies that provide volunteer experience with animals abroad. Those that allow students to work closely with experienced veterinarians, biologists, and conservationists will look impressive on a resume or school application. In addition, travel is an educational experience of its own. Showing that you have traveled can help boost your application as well. Internships abroad show that you not only gain essential hands-on experience, but that you can manage your time well, communicate efficiently, and have life experience outside of work. Vet schools love well-rounded applicants, and travel is a stellar way to stand out.

Why choose Loop Abroad

Loop Abroad not only provides top-quality pre-vet intern programs but is also backed by several large universities, making them recognizable on your vet school application. Not only will you receive a certificate of completion with the listed number of research or veterinary experience hours, but you can also choose to get college credit through one of our university partners. Loop Abroad internships also allow the freedom to explore and travel in your personal time outside of your work hours in beautiful destinations such as Greece, Costa Rica, and Belize. You may even get that coveted letter of recommendation from an animal expert you worked with!