Volunteer Opportunities

Does anyone know if vet clinics allow minors volunteers? I’ve emailed every single clinic in my region and most of them don’t accept volunteer or minors. I’ve heard of many students in high school who was allowed to job shadow or volunteer at clinics. I’m a bit perplexed since all clinics and shelters in my region have an age requirement of at least 18. Is this a state policy in Washington or something?

@chiaseede I feel the same way. I am really thinking about becoming a vet but no one accepts volunteers in the 10 mile radius or probably more around me.

My suggestion would be to get animal experience until you can find vet experience. Volunteer at a shelter. Many of them take students 16 and over. See if there are any wildlife rescues you can volunteer with, therapeutic riding centers, stables, farms, camps, rescue organizations.

My son was able to start with a vet at 17 through his high school. Prior to that he worked summers at a camp where he got extensive horse experience leading up to being a horseback counselor for entire summer at a sleep-away camp. Vets came to the camp and he was able to watch them and got some experience that way as they got to know him.

Do you have a pet? Would your vet sit down and talk to you? Once they know you better they may offer for you to come in and watch or at least offer for you to shadow when you turn 18. My son’s main vet experience was through his high school Sr. year and every summer after that with a vet.

It can be challenging in some areas. Good luck.

I will also add that the method of contact matters. My best results have been when I actually asked in person. Thus, dress nice, have a cover letter/resume (something indicating who you are and what you want) and actually talk the the receptionist at the clinic! See if you can shadow for just one day. Then hopefully you will be invited back to return.

Some two cents: Obviously at times shadowing can be a little “boring” but in my opinion it is never appropriate to be on your cellphone. During slow times see if there thing you can clean (something always needs cleaned in vet med), walk the area of the pharmacy and see what drugs are being used/do you recognize any of them. Is there a poster of the common parasites in the lab area? In other words, find things to keep you busy and off your phone. Also during slow times is a great time to ask questions.

Best of luck in finding a clinic!

I agree with momocarly. Volunteering at a local shelter or zoo may be your best bet. However, I will also say that most clinics would not mind having an extra set of hands, even if it is just to clean out runs and cages. When I was in high school, I had personally gone down to a clinic near my house and talked to them. I remember having to hand write a contract that said that they would not be liable if I got hurt there. And that was how my career started