Animal Rescue League’s Veterinary Student Externship

Animal Rescue League’s Veterinary Student Externship

Veterinary Student Externship Description
The Animal Rescue League of Boston offers veterinary student externships in 1-2 week blocks throughout the year. Veterinary students spend time with all of our shelter veterinarians at our branches in Boston, Dedham, and Brewster as well as on our mobile spay/neuter vehicle, the Spay Waggin’. Students also participate in shelter rounds with our shelter veterinarians at the City of Boston municipal shelter.  Students participating in 2 week externships also shadow our behavior manager and spend time with shelter staff in both intake and adoption. Should the opportunity arise during the externship, students are exposed to forensic veterinary medicine.

Externs get hands on experience with physical examinations, venipuncture and other basic medical techniques.  Students are expected to take an active role in discussing and working up cases seen in the shelter.  Externs are also scheduled to observe in surgery.

Externs are expected to complete a small written and oral presentation on a shelter medicine or HVHQSN topic of the student’s choice.  The informal presentation is given to shelter staff and the supervising veterinarian(s).

Externship requests must be made at least three months prior to the requested dates.


  • Only third and fourth year students enrolled in a formal veterinary medical DVM or VMD program at an AVMA accredited college or university will be accepted for an ARL externship
  • Each externship must be associated with a formal externship “block”scheduled and required by the school for which the school awards credit
  • The ability to perform a full physical examination
  • Students are required to have liability coverage either through their veterinary school (for most schools) or personal coverage through the AVMA’s student liability coverage program.
  • Basic working knowledge of shelter medicine (to include familiarity with common infectious diseases of the dog and cat, population management concepts, common disinfectants, and basic sheltering concepts such as admission types, adoption philosophies, etc.)
  • Due to our multiple locations, we also require that students have access to a car during their time at ARL.

How to Apply

Any interested 3rd or 4th year veterinary student is asked to send an email to vet.extern@arlboston.org with the following information:

  • Full name
  • Name of Veterinary School
  • Clinical year (3rd or 4th) at the time of the requested externship
  • First and second choice of dates
  • One to two paragraphs explaining why you would like to come to ARL to participate in our shelter medicine externship and what you hope to get out of the rotation.
  • A copy of your resume

Once we receive your email, you will receive a reply within 1-2 weeks as to whether an externship opportunity is available and to arrange the externship details.