It seems like no matter how old you are, the question "What do you want to be when you grow up?" hangs over your head. For younger children, the most popular answers include astronauts, teachers, or even batman. One of the most common responses is actually an agricultural career; a veterinarian. As kids grow older their interests change, but there are always a few individuals who hold on to their dream of being an animal doctor. There are numerous ways that these students can better equip themselves for veterinary school or a veterinary career. Here I will share with you just a few ideas that can help aspiring veterinarians gain valuable experience.
Volunteer at the local clinic.
Most veterinarians love to have students job shadow at their clinic. This is a great way to see what being a veterinarian is all about. Students may have to scrub a few kennels or stalls at first, but the more they volunteer the more they will learn. Some veterinarians have age restrictions, so be sure to contact them and ask about job shadowing beforehand.
Start a 4-H Veterinary Science Project.
4-H offers a wide array of projects that members can participate in, with veterinary science being one of them. Through a veterinary science project students can sharpen their skills and knowledge, have access to unique experiences, record what they have done for a chance to win scholarships, and maybe even become a certified veterinary assistant! Some states and counties offer a 5 year program that include activities and lessons aimed at becoming a veterinary assistant. You can talk to a 4-H agent about this opportunity.
Participate in FFA’s Veterinary Science CDE.
FFA also offers future veterinarians a chance to learn more about the profession through their Veterinary Science Career Development Event. In this event, students compete in areas such as identification of equipment, animal breeds, and parasites, or even basic veterinary knowledge. This competition offers member the chance to learn and study core concepts of Veterinary Medicine. You can talk to a FFA advisor to learn more about this experience.
Find unique ways to be around animals.
It’s always useful for aspiring veterinarians to spend time around animals. In veterinary school, students will be introduced to every area of animal, including livestock, exotic, or companion animals. Finding new ways to interact with these species can help students learn. Students could volunteer at the local shelter, intern at a zoo or farm, show livestock, or maybe even work at the local pet store. Try to find opportunities that introduce new animals to the student.
I hope these ideas can help you find a way for the future veterinarian in your life to learn as much as they can about this important career (and have fun at the same time!). Need help finding a 4-H club or FFA chapter in your area? Contact Raised in a Barn and we will do our best to help!