AVMA government relations student externships

The AVMA extern program pairs talented veterinary students with the AVMA Government Relations Division for a four-week program that introduces the breadth of public policy issues facing our profession and provides hands-on lobbying experience with Capitol Hill legislators and staff.

Externs discover the scope of veterinary medicine in the various branches of government while expanding your understanding of the legislative process and the veterinarian's role in that process.

It's an opportunity to learn a facet of the profession that you won't find in school – and make a difference in shaping the profession.

AVMA provides a $1,200 stipend for each government relations extern.

What do AVMA government relations externs do?

Externs learn about federal legislative and regulatory processes and are actively involved in advancing the AVMA's legislative agenda in Washington, working with members of Congress and their staff.

As an extern, you’ll work firsthand on issues that affect the veterinary profession, such as the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program, animal welfare, funding for veterinary education, and small business and tax issues.

Why be an extern?

Externs gain valuable knowledge about the issues facing the veterinary profession while developing new skills and building their resumes. Externs are asked to problem solve, collaborate, adapt to daily changes in priorities, and influence others – all skills of immense value in every area of veterinary medicine.

What's more, there's no other place where you'll be able to use your unique knowledge and skills to make a difference in legislation that literally impacts thousands of people daily. It's a chance to take your learning from veterinary school and apply it outside of a clinical setting – and have a great time doing it.

Do I qualify?

  • Are a member of SAVMA
  • Have completed two years of a professional program at a college of veterinary medicine before beginning the externship
  • Are interested in public policy
  • Want to help advance the AVMA legislative and regulatory agenda
  • Are a U.S. citizen
Additional qUalifications:
  • Think clearly and stay focused under pressure
  • Be results-oriented, with a high drive to meet goals
  • Have excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Relate well to people from diverse backgrounds in varied social settings


Email externshipatavma [dot] org (externship[at]avma[dot]org) or contact AVMA's government relations team at 800-321-1473.

Two women in front of the capital

2025 externship dates

  • March 3-28
  • June 2-27 
  • July 7-August 1
  • September 2-29
  • October 6-31

Applications are due October 11, 2024, and should be emailed to externshipatavma [dot] org (externship[at]avma[dot]org).

Download application