Application Guide 2023:
The Ultimate Guide to Veterinary Work Experience in the UK (2023 Edition)
Dr. Rebecca Massie
Veterinary Admissions Expert
Introduction to Veterinary Work Experience in the UK
As a prospective veterinary medicine student, gaining veterinary work experience is crucial for your application and future career. This guide will walk you through the importance of veterinary work experience, how to find and secure placements, and various opportunities available to you, including local veterinary practices, animal shelters, wildlife rehabilitation centres, and work experience abroad.
Why is Veterinary Work Experience Essential?
What Vet Work Experience Do I Need?
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.
Securing veterinary work experience is an integral part of the vet school application process. Not only does it demonstrate your commitment and passion for the profession, but it also provides valuable insight into the day-to-day responsibilities of a veterinarian. Work experience can help you develop essential skills, such as communication, teamwork, and problem-solving, all of which are vital for a successful career in veterinary medicine.
Moreover, vet schools require applicants to have a certain amount of work experience to ensure they have a realistic understanding of the profession. By completing various work experience placements, you can showcase your dedication, adaptability, and preparedness for the challenges of vet school and beyond.
Different universities have different minimum requirements for the amount of veterinary work experience to undertake, 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 are 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.
Veterinary universities will also almost invariably ask you to further discuss your veterinary work experience at interviews, so it is a factor that can help you through all stages of your application.
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.
We hope that you’ll find that placements are much easier to acquire than you might have previously thought!