Internships & Externships

Workplace training opportunities in a state-of-the art clinic for native wildlife

The Center offers professional opportunities for those who are still in school, and for professionals already graduated.

A veterinarian sutures a wound on a bear cub while two students watch.

Veterinary Internship and Externships

Veterinarians working on a hawk patient

The goal of the veterinary department is to advance the mission of the Wildlife Center by:

  1. providing professional medical care to injured, sick, and orphaned wild animals, with the goal of returning them to their natural environment;
  2. training veterinarians, veterinary externs, and veterinary technician students in wildlife and conservation medicine;
  3. conducting health studies on the diseases of free-living wildlife; and
  4. disseminating information on health issues in wildlife to the public and policymakers.

Our state-of-the-art wildlife hospital contains a diagnostic lab; examination room; digital radiology suite; full surgery suite complete with endoscopy, fluoroscopy, and advanced surgical equipment; and indoor and outdoor housing facilities for the 3500+ native wildlife patients we admit each year. The majority of the animals admitted to the Wildlife Center are injured through human activity, and the veterinary department emphasizes measures to prevent human-related causes of morbidity and mortality.

The Wildlife Center offers the following Veterinary training positions. In addition, opportunities are available for those interested in volunteering with our veterinary staff.

Veterinary Internships for Graduated Veterinarians

Each year, the Wildlife Center of Virginia typically offers two veterinary internships, one through the Veterinary Internship Residency Matching Program (VIRMP) and a second outside of the VIRMP, for graduate veterinarians seeking further experience in conservation and wildlife medicine incorporating the One Health philosophy.

Veterinary Internship Details

Each intern involved in all aspects of wildlife medicine including physical exams, diagnostic sample collection, radiography, anesthesia, surgery, medical treatment, necropsy, husbandry, record maintenance, telephone consultations, on-call emergencies, and presentations at rounds. Each intern also supervises senior veterinary students from various veterinary schools, volunteers, and the veterinary technician intern. Conference presentation and writing for publication are strongly encouraged, and contribution to the WCV’s professional training program is required.

The Veterinary interns have primary case responsibilities, primary surgery responsibilities, and participate in clinical and topical didactic rounds. The interns have access to state-of-the-art veterinary equipment, a veterinary library, and online journal access. The interns share on-call duties and work four days per week.

Candidates must have a strong interest in wildlife medicine and must have well-developed interpersonal and clinical skills, and demonstrate a high degree of professionalism. Experience in wildlife medicine is desirable, but not required. Preference is given to applicants with clinical experience. A Virginia veterinary license is required.

The VIRMP internship will be available through the AAVC matching program and follow associated deadlines. The second internship is not part of the AAVC matching program. Generally applications are accepted in the winter, for a start date the following spring, but please see “Employment Opportunities” for more information.

Requirements

  • DVM graduated from an AVMA accredited school (or equivalent) 
  • If graduated from a non-AVMA accredited school have the ECFVG Certification 
  • Be able to obtain a veterinary license in the state of Virginia 
  • Non-US citizens are required to obtain a working permit or working visa 
  • Pre-exposure rabies vaccination required. Provide proof of vaccination or adequate titer within the previous two years of start date. 
  • COVID-19 vaccination required. Provide proof of vaccination 14 days prior to start date 

Compensation and Benefits: 

  • Salary $38,000 annually
  • Two weeks of vacation time 
  • 40 hours of personal time per year 
  • CE: Maximum $1,000 for travel and registration expenses to an agreed upon, relevant conference 
  • 50% Health coverage through group plan 
  • State license paid for 

Applicants must submit by deadline: 

  • Curriculum Vitae 
  • Letter of interest 
  • 3 reference letters 
  • Official veterinary school academic transcript (in English) 

Veterinary Externships for Senior Veterinary Students

This program is designed to provide veterinary students and international veterinarians with practical experience in aspects of wild animal handling, medical management, and husbandry. Throughout the three-to-twelve week veterinary externship, externs will receive instruction and hands-on experience in anatomy, physical restraint, anesthesia, radiography, laboratory analysis, emergency triage, therapeutics, nutrition, wound management, surgery, and necropsy procedures.

Veterinary Externship Details

This externship emphasizes hands-on experience mentored by qualified wildlife veterinarians. This is a challenging program and we expect hard work and dedication from our students. In return, the Center promises to introduce externs to many aspects of clinical wildlife and conservation medicine in a friendly and professional teaching environment.

The veterinary extern must be a fourth/fifth-year student registered in a veterinary medicine degree program or a foreign veterinarian and is expected to achieve the following goals:

  • Be able to identify the common wildlife species of Virginia and have some understanding of their natural history.
  • Know the techniques used to restrain wild animals, and perform physical restraint of wild reptiles, birds, and mammals.
  • Perform physical examinations, basic clinical techniques (such as venipuncture), and treatment of wild reptiles, birds, and mammals.
  • Be able to perform and interpret basic diagnostic procedures such as hematology and radiography of reptiles, birds, and mammals.
  • Perform both inhalation and, if appropriate, injectable anesthesia on wild reptiles, birds, and mammals.
  • Perform surgical procedures such as wound repair on appropriate cases.
  • Know the humane methods of euthanasia used in wildlife species.
  • Perform gross necropsies on wild reptiles, birds, and mammals.
  • Have a basic knowledge of the important diseases of North American wildlife, especially wildlife zoonoses.
  • Understand the medical and ethical issues regarding the treatment, rehabilitation, and conservation of wildlife.
  • Understand the concept of conservation medicine, and the role the Wildlife Center can play in wildlife disease monitoring, ecosystem health, conservation, and public education.

If requested, the Center will provide housing for a nominal cost ($75/week; no pets allowed). A student vehicle is available for travel to and from the Center and in-town errands if required. Students are supervised by four staff veterinarians, three technicians, and three wildlife rehabilitation staff during their stay.

Externs are selected on a first-come, first-serve basis and available positions often fill up 12 months in advance. Please note that pre-exposure rabies vaccination is required in order to be accepted for an externship.

Application Process

Complete applications have five components, which can be sent to Liz Duffy at vetexternship@wildlifecenter.org

  • A completed WCV Externship Application Form
  • A résumé
  • A cover letter
  • Proof of current COVID-19 vaccination
  • Proof of rabies vaccination or an adequate titer level within two years of the externship

When all components are received, we will confirm availability and proposed dates for the externship. Final confirmation occurs after we receive a $75 deposit to hold the externship dates. When accepted into the program, students will be sent a Veterinary Externship manual in Wildlife and Conservation Medicine.  

Veterinary Technician Internship for Graduated Vet Techs

The Wildlife Center of Virginia offers a one-year internship for graduated veterinary technicians seeking further experience in wildlife medicine. The internship starts each spring and provides the successful candidate with experience working with injured wildlife native to Virginia.

Veterinary Technician Internship Details

The intern is involved in all aspects of wildlife medicine, including surgery, diagnostic sample collection, radiography, anesthesia, surgery, medical treatments, necropsy, husbandry, record maintenance, telephone consultations, and presentations at rounds. This internship places a special emphasis on veterinary diagnostics and a significant amount of time will be spent performing CBC’s, cytology, fecal examinations, and wildlife parasitology.

The diagnostic intern also assists in instructing veterinary externs, veterinary technician externs, and volunteers in handling and restraint of patients and basic medical and diagnostic procedures.

A living allowance is provided, plus additional compensation for overtime and on-call. Subsidized housing may be available depending on the applicant.  Further details about the position will be posted on the Wildlife Center of Virginia’s employment opportunities when the hiring process begins each fall. For more information about the technician internship position, please contact our licensed veterinary technician at techinternship@wildlifecenter.org.

Veterinary Technician Externship for Veterinary Technician Students

The Wildlife Center of Virginia offers externship opportunities to veterinary technician students seeking further experience in wildlife medicine. This unpaid training program is supervised by a licensed veterinary technician in addition to four staff veterinarians, an LVT intern, and three wildlife rehabilitators.

Veterinary Technician Externship Details

Externships are offered throughout the year, providing space is available during the requested time. During the externship, technician students assist with daily patient treatments, diagnostics (including radiology, hematology, parasitology, and cytology), hospital maintenance, record-keeping, surgery prep, animal husbandry, and enrichment. Externship students typically work 45 hours a week, but this is dependent on the season and caseload. Information for school credit can be provided as needed.

Depending on the length of stay and credit requirements, the student may be asked to give an informal presentation to the staff on a topic to be decided by the student and a member of the veterinary staff. Topics may include a case report on a treated patient, information on a common disease seen in patients admitted to the Center, or a short cross-training class given to the Center’s staff.

If requested, the Center will provide housing for a nominal cost ($75/week) and a student vehicle is available for travel to and from the Center if needed. Externs are selected on a first-come, first-served basis, and available positions often fill up six to 12 months in advance. Please note that pre-exposure rabies vaccination is required to be accepted for an externship.

Please note, this is an unpaid externship.

Application Process

Complete applications have four components, which can be sent to vetexternship@wildlifecenter.org

Following receipt of your application, we will confirm availability and proposed dates for the externship. Final confirmation will occur after we receive a $75 deposit to hold the externship dates. When accepted into the program, students will be sent a copy of the Veterinary Technician Externship manual in Wildlife and Conservation Medicine in preparation for your arrival.

Rehabilitation Internships & Externships

rehabbers working

The Wildlife Center’s externship and internship programs offer training opportunities to students and others interested in learning about wildlife rehabilitation. Externs receive no stipend; however, housing is available for full-time externs, with a $75 housing deposit. Interns receive a monthly stipend for living expenses and housing is available.

Rehabilitation Externships

Each year the Wildlife Center admits about 3,800 patients – sick, injured, and orphaned wild animals in need of medical care. The wildlife rehabilitation externships give in-depth, hands-on experience in the field of wildlife rehabilitation. Externships range from 4-12 weeks, however, a 12-week externship is preferred. Externships focus on animal husbandry, nutrition, capture and restraint methods, hand-feeding techniques for orphaned species, wildlife laws, and release criteria.

Rehabilitation Externship Details

All applicants must be self-motivated individuals with a sincere interest in working with wildlife and the ability to enthusiastically work long hours. Attention to detail, punctuality, initiative and a strong desire to learn are required. Applicants must be at least 18 years old and have completed at least two years of college or have equivalent prior animal experience. 

A tetanus vaccine and an up-to-date COVID-19 vaccination is required. 

Pre-exposure rabies vaccination is strongly preferred, and if obtained, series must be completed prior to start date. Applicants who are unable or choose to not get a rabies vaccine will still be considered, but overall experience will be limited.

Externs are supervised by permitted Certified Wildlife Rehabilitators and training includes both practical experience and didactic lectures and readings. Externs are required to complete a project related to wildlife rehabilitation prior to the completion of their externship. Options include researching a topic of choice related to wildlife rehabilitation and presenting this information to staff through a written paper and brief oral presentation, or constructing an enrichment item for patients or an ambassador animal. For short-term externships, project options include the creation of a short video or written blog post highlighting wildlife rehabilitation. 

Externship positions are offered all year-round and each season offers a variety of species that require rehabilitation. Externs who start between January and May will spend a large amount of time hand-feeding healthy orphaned squirrels, opossums, cottontails, and raptors. In our busiest season from May to August, externs will concentrate on the labor-intense task of raising baby passerines as well as bottle-feeding and browsing for fawns. Fall is raptor season and externs who start between September and December will flight condition birds of prey in addition to raising orphaned mammals. Externs in every season will work with an assortment of injured reptiles, mammals, and birds in various stages of recovery from injury; they will also provide daily care to our reptile education ambassadors.

For more information, please read our Wildlife Rehabilitation Externship description.

Application Process

Complete applications require:

The required documents can be attached to the online application form.

In order for your application to be considered complete you must contact Liz Duffy at the following email address to indicate that you have submitted your application: rehab@wildlifecenter.org

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Wildlife Rehabilitation Internships

Each year, the Wildlife Center of Virginia offers a one-year advanced training program in wildlife rehabilitation. Through this training program, the intern gains intensive, hands-on training and experience in the field of wildlife rehabilitation, focusing on animal nutrition, husbandry, feeding techniques, capture and restraint methods, release criteria, captive animal behaviors, and natural history.

Rehabilitation Internship Details

The intern also learns medical skills from staff veterinarians, including bandaging, medical math, fluid therapy, zoonotic diseases, and other subjects pertinent to wildlife rehabilitation. The intern is responsible for training and supervising Wildlife Rehabilitation Externs. This opportunity enables the intern to develop leadership, public relations, and educational outreach skills. The intern also has the opportunity to sit for the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council’s (IWRC) Certified Wildlife Rehabilitator (CWR) Examination.

The Wildlife Rehabilitation Internship is an unpaid training position. A monthly stipend for living expenses is offered. Housing is provided at the Wildlife Center of Virginia’s student house in Waynesboro.

Rehabilitation internships typically start in the early spring each year. When this position is open, a job announcement will be posted on our website, as well as on rehabilitation and university job boards.

Join us in making a real difference in wildlife conservation and the environment.

Outreach Education Externships

Remote Education in the Classroom

The goal of the Center’s Outreach department is to teach the general public, both in-person and online, about wildlife and to share the stories and mission of the Wildlife Center. The department presents hundreds of programs each year in person and online. The conservation themes we emphasize in these programs are drawn directly from the stories of the animals that arrive at the Wildlife Center’s doorstep every year in need of care. The stories of these animals illustrate the wider problems wildlife face and challenge people of all ages to take action to protect wildlife.

Education Outreach Externship (on-site)

Outreach externship students learn about native wildlife, develop enhanced communication skills (public speaking, writing), and learn handling and training procedures for education animal ambassadors.

All applicants must be self-motivated individuals with a sincere interest in wildlife, educational outreach, and environmental conservation. Attention to detail, punctuality, initiative, flexibility, and strong writing skills are required. Applicants should have at least two years of college education. Most fields of study are considered.

Externships are available during the spring, summer, and fall. Both full-time and part-time opportunities are available during the spring and fall, only part-time opportunities are available during the summer. Externs receive no stipend; however, housing is available for full-time students.

Externship Details:

Education Outreach Externship description
Externship Application form

Please note that the completed application includes a form, cover letter, résumé, and a writing sample. Please email edu@wildlifecenter.org with any questions.

Application deadlines: Applicants are accepted on a rolling basis. Externships last between 12 and 16 weeks, depending on the student’s schedule and the outreach department’s needs.
 

Outreach Design Externship (remote)

Through this specially designed, remote (off-site) externship, students learn more about wildlife conservation and produce digital content for the Center’s website and social media that inspires action to help wildlife and the environment. Outreach design externship students learn about native wildlife and develop enhanced written/visual communication skills, as well as project management and client relations.

Applicants should have at least two years of college education; an intermediate understanding of visual design; intermediate skill with the use of desktop and web-based tools for design; and strong time management and punctuality with deadlines.

Externs are required to have their own computer and the necessary programs/application licenses to complete the work. All content created will be owned by the Wildlife Center but can be used in portfolios or as examples of real work for further education and job applications.

Ideal candidates have a sincere interest in wildlife and the role of digital education in environmental conservation.

Externship Details:

Education Outreach Design Externship description
Externship Application form

For more information, please review our outreach design externship description. Please note that the completed application includes a form, cover letter, résumé, and a sample of design work. Please email edu@wildlifecenter.org with any questions.

Application deadlines: we are not currently accepting new outreach design externship applications