Study to consider internship value

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The AVMA is planning to study the economic impact of completing an internship and could later survey members about internship quality and satisfaction.

In April, the Executive Board approved spending $5,000 to further analyze data collected through the AVMA Biennial Economic Survey that was conducted in 2010. Citing data from the survey, a report from the Task Force on Veterinary Internships indicates that the mean income of veterinarians who completed internships was lower than that of colleagues who had not. However, respondents who had completed both internships and residencies had the highest mean income.

The report also indicates that the number of internship positions available through the American Association of Veterinary Clinicians' Veterinary Internship and Residency Matching Program increased from 175 in 1988 to 850 in 2009. Thus, the lower salaries for veterinarians who had completed internships could have been skewed by a large number of individuals who were still early in their careers, and the task force indicated the data required further analysis.

For the 2010 economic survey, the AVMA sent questionnaires to more than 16,000 veterinarians, and about 3,400 provided usable responses with data on employment, practice types, gender, ownership status, income, and internship participation. The task force report notes that although the initial contract to analyze the economic data collected in the survey did not include an analysis of the effect of internships, sufficient data were collected for such an analysis.

The Executive Board delayed acting on a proposal to perform a veterinary internship quality and satisfaction survey, at a cost of about $20,000. The proposal was postponed until a meeting in June.