Veterinary internships and externships

In this article:
  • Learn how to determine if a veterinary internship is right for you.
  • Discover a typical day in the life of an intern.
  • Find a veterinary internship or externship.

Veterinary internships can offer opportunities to deepen and enrich your veterinary education with hands-on experience. But they’re not for everyone. There are many reasons why veterinarians pursue internships. For some, it may serve as a first step before residency in a selected board specialty. Others may choose to do an internship to gain more experience as a practitioner before entering private practice.

Before pursuing an internship, it’s important to determine, first and foremost, whether it fits your career goals and how it can benefit you. You can start by asking yourself: What do you want to gain from an internship?

Internship guidelines

Currently, there is no regulatory body that oversees veterinary internships. This can make it difficult for potential participants to know what to expect from an internship experience. However, the AVMA’s veterinary internship guidelines help both internship participants and providers establish a clear, mutual understanding of what an internship entails. See also the AVMA policy on internship and residency programs for clear definitions of what constitutes an internship or residency.

Financial implications

In addition to having clear goals and expectations, it’s also crucial to understand the financial implications of an internship. Here are some points to consider:

The AVMA strongly recommends that new veterinarians pursue an internship that demonstrates a clear path to career advancement.

Remember: Whether or not you choose to pursue an internship, AVMA has tools to help you manage finances, find the right strategy to pay off debt, set a budget, and plan for your future.

View personal finance tools

Looking for an externship?

Veterinary externships are usually two-to four-week programs designed to give students hands-on experience in a particular area. Externships come in all shapes and sizes. Find one that’s right for you:



Optimizing your practice experience

Learn how to identify the right clinical experiences and protect yourself both physically and legally while participating.

Learn more

AVMA Task Force on Veterinary Internships Report