Veterinarians are to the animal world what doctors are to the human world and the commitment to excellence on the part of these individuals and their technicians is no less significant. Learning through hands-on experience is a crucial part of the education program that makes veterinarians and veterinary technicians the experts pet owners and animal trainers can count on to keep their animals healthy and treat them when they are sick or injured.
Veterinarians must complete a four-year undergraduate degree before they enter veterinary school for an additional four years. The course of study is much like that for any student of medicine, with the addition of specific details needed to treat various animal species.
Veterinarians rely on veterinary technicians in the same way doctors rely on nurses. The curriculum for a vet tech may be a two-year associate’s degree or a four-year bachelor’s degree.
Both veterinarians and vet techs will gain critical knowledge and experience through an internship or externship before taking a national exam and obtaining their license (veterinarian) or registration (vet tech). This hands-on experience is considered so crucial to the education of veterinarians and vet techs that it is required in the curriculum of all accredited schools offering these courses of study,
An internship or externship experience will generally last a few weeks or longer, although veterinary students may opt for an experience that extends a year or more, especially if they are pursuing a specialty. Students are supervised by a licensed veterinarian or registered vet tech (depending on their career choice) and will have opportunities to observe and assist in everything from routine and critical care to dentistry, anesthesia and surgery. Veterinary students may also accompany doctors and specialists on rounds.
Vet tech students will also assist with animal intake, follow-up exams and lab work. For all students, an internship or externship provides valuable hands-on opportunities working directly with animals while receiving guidance and training in all aspects of veterinary medicine.
If you are considering a career in veterinary medicine or you are enrolled in a veterinary or veterinary technician program and would like more information about the internship or externship experience, contact Stow Kent Animal Hospital and Stow Falls Pet Clinic. At Stow Kent and Stow Falls, externships are available to students enrolled in accredited colleges of veterinary medicine.