Q&A: How To Start Getting Veterinary Experience

My question has to do with the veterinary experience part, especially since some schools require a recommendation letter from a vet. I’m having trouble finding somewhere to work or volunteer where I would be able to be with a veterinarian. Do you have any suggestions on searching?

And a question for you: How were you able to go to Costa Rica and Nicaragua and perform the work that you did? That sounds like a great experience!

Hope to hear from you, and good luck with school (based on your posts, it sounds like you have quite a lot on your plate!!)

Thank you,



Hi DM —

A good place to start looking for experience is with an animal shelter. Shelters are almost always looking for volunteers and you can volunteer your time to helping out. They also often have vets on staff and you may approach the vet to ask about helping out or shadowing. That’s how I did it!

As for my work in Central America, that was through an organization called VIDA: http://www.vidavolunteertravel.org/

Hope everything goes well for you! Feel free to contact me if you have any other questions!

Life In Vet School & Tips On Getting In

4 thoughts on “Q&A: How To Start Getting Veterinary Experience”

  1. I’m surprised that I keep reading about other pre-vet students having such a hard time finding a way to get animal and veterinary experience. I was worried about this, too, since everyone seems to worry about it. I recently went to a volunteer orientation at my local human society, signed up to be a general animal assistant (scooping litter boxes, playing with animals, feeding), and they said that after doing that for a while, I could move up to assisting in the vet clinic portion of the shelter. I’m wondering if people who say they can’t find a way to get experience just neglect to think of shelters…?

    1. It’s true that shelters are often overlooked as far as vet experience goes. However, like you state, shelters are a very good place to start and learn!

  2. As a pre-vet student, I would reccomend taking a chance and go to local clinics and ask to shadow/assist for free. Many clinics need the help around the holidays and by saying you would like to volunteer for experience it shows your commitment. Also join a pre-vet club (NCSU has lots of opportunities for our club including internships with non profits!) Great way to meet people and get experience!

  3. Hey,

    I originally sent that e-mail. I was having trouble at first because it seemed as though all the vets in my area were uncomfortable with me shadowing them or did not have the space. I had one say he was “not interested.” But finally, after doing several walk-ins and calling some hospitals, I found a doctor who has been letting me shadow him! I also managed to snag a job as a vet tech assistant at a nearby hospital. I will also start volunteering at a nearby shelter.

    Also, I’m all signed up for a VIDA trip in August. I’m so excited and can’t wait to go! Thank you for your help Sharon and others who replied!

Comments are closed.