Undertaking work experience is an essential part of every veterinary application.  It will not only help you finalise your decision on whether veterinary is the right career for you, but is it is also used by universities to select applicants for interview.   

Work experience gives you a chance to:

  • understand the role of the vet
  • experience different veterinary careers
  • understand what will be involved in a veterinary degree
  • work with different animal species 

The main areas required are: 

  • veterinary practices 
  • farms: sheep/lambing, pigs, beef, dairy, poultry ​​
  • Kennels/cattery
  • Stables/stud
  • RSPCA/animal charities and rescue centres
  • abattoirs/labatories
  • farriers
  • zoos and wildlife centres

Different veterinary schools require different amounts of work experience prior to applying, and these can be found on each university website.  The important thing is to know how much work experience you need well in advance of your application! ​ 

Work Experience

  • Always take a notebook and pen on work experience - you don't need to write down every detail, but recording interesting cases and how you felt about certain aspects of it shows initiative and makes you look really enthusiastic (e.g. was it a positive outcome for the animal, the client and the vet?). This gives you lots to talk about and discuss in your interviews!

  • Try and learn some basics like which diseases routine vaccinations cover, common cases, common breeds etc. This will make your life loads easier in first year when you are expected to recognise several different breeds of cats!

  • Farmers are an invaluable resource and have a lot of knowledge they can share with you.

  • NEVER be afraid to ask questions during work experience. Make the most of it.

  • Don’t expect to be doing “vetty” things all the time - a lot of your time will be spent mopping, poo picking, washing up etc. This comes as a surprise to a lot of work experience students, but the better you get to know the staff the more they will let you do, so be enthusiastic if you can! 

General advice

Educating the Veterinary Students of Tomorrow

Top tips!

Be Proactive:
Do it yourself - Contact your local vet practice/stables/kennels/farm
Do not leave it for your parents to organise on your behalf.

Be Professional:
Make sure all your correspondence is appropriate.
Make a good first impression

Be Motivated:
Make it clear why you want the work experience.
What do you want to get out of the work experience?

Be Organised:
​Know your dates - Some institutions have application deadline dates.
How will you get to your placement?