How do I get a mentor, experience, or an internship?

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    I’m currently a Running Start Student full-time at South Seattle Community College. I’ve always been interested in Veterinary Medicine, and have wanted to be a Vet since I knew what one was. As I’m approaching my Senior year, and High School Graduation (with my AA), I’ve been trying very hard to get experience, or at least learn more about veterinary medicine.

    As some of you might know, it is so hard to find a place where a minor (17 years old) could gain experience in places such as animal hospital. Places I have reached out to in the past have been no help with my curiosity, and never call me back for kennel cleaning job postings (probably because of my age, or lack of experience). I’d love anything from a simple interview with a vet, to a potential mentorship, shadowing, assisting, even a kennel cleaning job.

    I’m rather new to West Seattle, and want to go about this in the right way, and don’t know many people who could help me with this sort of thing.

    If anyone has any information on how to go about getting this experience, I would be immensely thankful! I feel like it shouldn’t be this difficult to get a shadowing gig, or a cleaning job..I may be doing something wrong– if anybody knows any information or has any connections I would be very grateful for your help.

    Thank you!



    Does the college have any resources that might help, like a career office or something like that?

    You might have tried this already, but maybe ask the vets at some of the area clinics if any of them would do an informational interview? You could learn more about the field and they might be able to answer some of your questions about mentorships or internships.



    Informational interviews are fantastic opportunities. Years ago when I was thinking of getting into IT, I did some informational interviews as part of a class I was taking. Those interviews led me to info on a training program that I otherwise would not have known about. It was transformational for me.

    Please take datamuse’s advice – you can’t go wrong there.



    Have you contact Lien Animal Clinic? They offer internships as well as shadow opportunities. Good luck!



    “Informational interviews” are really good, also research if there are Veterinary Associations that have local meetings and reach out to the people in charge of those organizations. They might have Facebook groups or blogs, too. Find colleges with vet programs and email or call the people in charge of those programs with requests for an informational interview over the phone or in person if you can. The best thing you can do, for any job, is to make a lot of contacts with the people in the field you want to work in. Being young and driven, as you are, will make you stand out. Be persistent and good luck!



    My 15 yr. old and I volunteer on Saturdays at the Kitsap Humane Society. It’s a Bremerton ferry ride, but we walk dogs, clean kennels, help with laundry and have helped out with the animals in the vet clinic. There are other opportunities, too, and plenty of educational classes are offered. Everyone there is amazing, they are constantly transferring in new animals, and it’s one of only a few humane societies that has a program for 13-16 yr. olds. Tacoma’s has a minimum age of 16.



    Hi! I worked as a vet tech for several years and do know it can be difficult to get information as clinics are very busy.
    It is true that finding experience when you are under 18 can be difficult. I would draft out a letter and say exactly what you posted here, you are in the running-start program and are interested in anything they can help you with, job shadowing, interviews, and kennel cleaning (I know the clinic I worked at, we had a volunteer kennel cleaner that was in high school). Are you interested in exotics, emergency or large animal (horses and farm) medicine? Mention this! If there is a particular field you are interested in, find out which clinics in the area specialize in that area, it’s okay if you don’t know yet, ask for the experience anyway.
    Call the various vet clinics in the area and find out who their head or lead veterinarian is, and write the letter to them.
    As angelscrest suggested, call a few of the rescue groups and ask about volunteer positions. I currently volunteer for one and it fills my need for helping animals as I am not currently working at a clinic.
    Congratulations on your chosen career path, and I wish you the best of luck, it is very rewarding.



    Internships are a great way to get real experience, especially while you’re still in school. Great going! Here are some resources specifically for veterinarian related internships in the area for you. I hope they help!

    Best of luck to you and welcome to West Seattle! :)



    The Seattle/King County Humane Society has a “Teen Club” that might fit your needs:



    I second contacting Lein, or looking for “kennel kid” type positions at local clinics. When I was 17 I did exactly that, and let the clinic know I was especially interested because I wanted to be a vet. Turned out that based on that experience I learned that wasn’t the right career path for me, but it was really valuable experience and Lein (where I worked) did a great job of making what might have just been a messy job cleaning cages into a really awesome learning opportunity.



    I also recommend contacting Lien Animal Clinic. Great organization.

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 7 months ago by Talaki34.


    thank you everyone so much! I’m going to call around first thing tomorrow morning, and do some more research on clinics and rescues nearby. :)

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