Qualified Vets Only
Ultimate Animal Work Experience Guide
Please find the 10 part Ultimate Vet Work Experience Guide below. Chapters 1,2 & 3 are free, please purchase the Ultimate or Veterinary Work Experience Package for access to chapters 4-10.
#1 Necessity - Why You Need Animal Work Experience
Animal Work experience is a vital component of your application to Veterinary Medicine - we recommend that you gain as much as possible in a variety of settings to maximise your chances of success. Having a strong veterinary work experience portfolio can really make your application stand out above other Veterinary Medicine applicants, and is something that can be largely in your control (as opposed to examinations etc, where an element of luck / performance on the day can come into play), so you must endeavour to make the most of this.
Gaining first-hand vet work experience is also the best way to understand what being a vet entails and whether it would suit you as a career, so you can proceed with your application in the knowledge that becoming a vet is truly the right path for you. This helps not only with your own personal motivation in reaching your goal, but also demonstrates to the admissions teams at your chosen universities that you are a student who has a depth of knowledge and understanding of the career. Different universities have different minimum requirements for the amount of veterinary work experience to undertake (we will go into more detail on this in the next section and our Universities Guide), but one thing is universal: animal work experience can only ever strengthen your application and you must endeavour not just to meet these requirements, but to exceed them. That is not to say, however, that work experience should be at the expense of your studies - this is why forward planning and getting started early is key to success. We know that it can be hard to have the correct veterinary work experience ideas - but that is why we are here to help.
Your work experience forms an important part of your personal statement - here you must make sure that you not only specify where you have done work experience and for how long, but also discuss what you learned from it and reference interesting cases/scenarios. This will also be explored in your SAQs (supplementary assessment questionnaires). Universities are commonly using personal statements / SAQs / a combination of the two to determine which candidates they invite for interviews, so you can increase your odds of getting to this point through your work experience portfolio. Universities will also almost invariably ask you to further discuss your work experience at interviews, so it is a factor that can help you through all stages of your application. Do check out the rest of the guide for veterinary work experience ideas.
Here at Become A Vet, we understand that getting vet work experience placements as a student can be easier said than done - there are potential barriers such as age/location to contend with - but we can equip you with all the tools to give you the highest chance of getting those seemingly elusive veterinary work experience placements near you. With the right technique and attitude, which we will discuss in the next few sections of our Vet Work Experience Package, you’ll find that placements are much easier to acquire than you might have previously thought!
This is probably the most directly relevant animal work experience you can undertake, so we recommend you prioritise this most highly. When you’re seeing animals in a veterinary practice, you may choose to work at a small animal / equine / farm practice or - even better - a combination of all three!
Work experience can be easier to find in small animal practices (mainly for insurance reasons), but that shouldn’t stop you getting in touch with farm / equine practices as often they do still have a provision for veterinary work experience students and may be able to help.
It’s particularly important whilst doing vet work experience at vet practices that you really pay attention and take note of their day-to-day activities as well as note down some interesting cases that you saw so you can discuss this in your personal statement / SAQ / interview (see more below).
#2 Vets - Small Animal Veterinary Practice Work Experience
#3 Structure - The Veterinary Medicine Personal Statement
Farm Work Experience
Farms are a fantastic place to gain work experience as you can get really hands-on with the animals and get a better understanding of the farming industry as a whole - this knowledge is essential as a prospective vet.
Farmers are often also really grateful to have an extra pair of hands, so if you make yourself useful you’ll find they’ll be very happy to have you back! Generally, they are also quite open to having younger students visit so if you’re still at an early stage in your application then this would be a good starting point. If you don’t live in a rural area and/or daily transport to a farm would be difficult/or can't find vet work experience near you, you can look into farms that provide accommodation (this is quite common) and/or consider staying nearby for the week. There are also some agricultural colleges such as Reeseheath and Harper Adams who offer farming placements with accommodation.
Dairy Farm Work Experience
When seeking experience with cows, we tend to recommend dairy farms over beef farms as you’ll get a lot more hands-on animal work experience (beef cows spend most of their days out in the fields and are less used to human contact as a general rule, so there’s less for you to do). Most dairy farms milk their cows twice daily - exact timing varies between farms, but the morning milking session tends to be around 5-6am so prepare yourself for some very early starts!
Lambing Work Experience
Of all the farm placements, this is one that students often find most enjoyable and rewarding. Indoor lambing units generally are best for hands-on experience and participating in the delivery of lambs, so we’d recommend that you ask about this when you apply. Lambing season is generally in the spring, but may be early/late in the season depending on the farm. Lambing placements for vet students are also some of the most enjoyable experiences as a veterinary medicine student.
Pigs Work Experience
When arranging your pig placement, consider whether you would prefer an indoor or outdoor unit - bear in mind that indoor units tend to be slightly more intensive.
#4 Animals - Cat & Dog Vet Work Experience
#5 Animals - Equine (Horse) Veterinary Work Experience
#6 Animals - Miscellaneous Animal Work Experience
#7 Length - How Much Veterinary Work Experience Do I Need?
#8 Application - How To Secure Vet Work Experience
#9 Application - Template Email/Letter For Animal Work Experience
#10 Notes - What To Do During Work Experience
To access the chapters above - please purchase one of the packages below.