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Updated 10/28/2018 by Debbie Schockett

South Florida Wildlife Center (SFWC) 
Location Name
South Florida Wildlife Center
Opportunity Name
Veterinary Extern
Contact Person
Amanda Grant
Contact Email
Minimum age to work independently
Position Description

Please submit a cover letter, résumé, unofficial transcript (in English), and completed Essential Capabilities document with your application. In your cover letter, please indicate your preference for externship start and end dates and whether you are requesting on-site housing.

Have you completed at least two years of veterinary school and are considering wildlife, zoo, or exotic animal medicine?


The South Florida Wildlife Center (SFWC), a non-profit wildlife rescue and rehabilitation facility that also cares for and finds homes for many non-native species, has opportunities for veterinary externs (click to view expanded position description). This unparalleled externship offers a wide variety of experiences for veterinary students and recent graduates.


The SFWC admits over 12,000 injured and orphaned native and non-native animals yearly. While here, the extern will have the opportunity to work with two full-time veterinarians and one part-time veterinarian, as well as a large number of experienced veterinary technicians, animal care workers, and rehabilitators.


Externs at the SFWC will learn to triage injured or abandoned animals that initially present at the center, provide long-term care for injured, orphaned, or sick animals, rehabilitate these animals for release, and ensure that non-native adoptable species are suitable for adoption as pets. The externship is designed to allow students to be introduced to as many facets as possible of this veterinary job, and familiarize them to the most common diseases and problems encountered here.


Each week of the structured program has specific learning goals and tasks designed to meet those goals. The focus of weeks one and two is on emergency triage of sick, orphaned, injured and abandoned animals. Weeks three and four focus on rounds with the doctor; the extern goes over cases in the hospital, formulates plans for further diagnostics and treatment, and carries out various tests. After week four, the extern drives more of the learning experience, when possible, by requesting additional training in particular areas.


Some specific externship responsibilities include:

  • Shadowing the primary triage doctor and triage technician
  • Working with the veterinarians and technicians to perform procedures such as bandaging, wound care, and surgical procedures
  • Learning to perform a wide variety of laboratory and diagnostic procedures such as radiographs, in-house CBCs and chemistries, and fecal parasite examination
  • Shadowing the doctor in charge of rounds and participating in the continuing care of hospitalized in-patients
  • Assisting in off-site work such as visiting a veterinary specialist or assisting in the release of rehabilitated wildlife
  • Completing and presenting a 1-2 page paper each week (for up to six weeks) discussing the pathophysiology, species affected, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of diseases (where applicable) on topics selected by the center. Alternately, students may be asked to complete a longer single presentation on a topic of interest.


Please apply to join us if you meet the following requirements:

  • Must be at least 18 years old
  • Must be in the final two years of veterinary school or have graduated from a veterinary program within the last year
  • Basic knowledge of all facets of veterinary medicine and able to read and understand veterinary literature
  • Able to do basic math for dosage calculations
  • Able to speak English well enough to communicate under pressure and understand basic medical terminology
  • Able to take direction and feedback well from veterinarians, technicians and other staff members
  • Adaptable to change and able to remain calm under pressure
  • Able to tolerate outdoor temperatures up to and at times above 95 degrees F with high humidity for short amounts of time
  • Able to meet the requirements outlined in the Essential Capabilities document with or without reasonable accommodation
  • Rabies vaccine highly recommended; non-vaccinated externs will not be able to work with rabies-vector species


Externships ideally last from 4 weeks to 8 weeks, although exceptions may be made for students who can only participate for 3 weeks. Externs are scheduled to work approximately 48 hours per week. On-site housing is available. International externs are solely responsible for obtaining any required visas.


Externs must pass a criminal background check and sign a waiver and release of liability.


To apply, click "Apply Now" above in red.

Special Skills Needed For This Opportunity

Please view the attached position description to understand the full scope of the role.

Location Name
South Florida Wildlife Center
Street Address
3200 SW 4th Avenue
Fort Lauderdale
ZIP/Postal Code
Location Classification
Specific location
What type of schedule?
Start Date