(SCHAUMBURG, Ill.) — The nation’s first, centralized Veterinary Externship Locator was announced by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). The AVMA created the new computer program in an effort to help veterinary students find externship opportunities.

Most veterinary students take an externship—a short, off-site work/educational program—during veterinary school to augment their studies. In fact, they’ve become such an essential component of veterinary education that many veterinary schools require all students take at least one to graduate.

“Externships are important, real-world learning opportunities for veterinary students,” explains Dr. Larry R. Corry, AVMA president. “Anything we can do to assist our students to find externships that interest and challenge them will help them develop into better veterinarians, which is a service to our members, veterinary medicine and also to the community.”

While externships have grown drastically more popular over the past decade, students report they can be hard to find.

“The Veterinary Externship Locator is a great example of the AVMA being responsive to the needs or our members,” explains Dr. Kevin Dajka, director of the AVMA Membership and Field Services Division, which created and oversees the new Veterinary Externship Locator. “Externships are increasingly popular among our student members because they help them learn to apply what they’ve learned in veterinary school, make friends and mentors, and also they help them develop career goals.”

The service currently lists hundreds of externships from across the country, including descriptions of the opportunities and contact information. These resources can be sorted and accessed by state, school, special interest or organization. The new AVMA system also links to existing state and veterinary school externship databases, and in states where state veterinary medical associations don’t offer any externship assistance, the AVMA Student Externship Locator offers a “Find a Vet” tool to help students with the research to find an externship on their own.

For more information about the AVMA Veterinary Career Center and the new Student Externship Locator, please visit www.avma.org/vcc. For any other information about veterinary medicine, please visit www.avma.org.

The AVMA, founded in 1863, is one of the oldest and largest veterinary medical organizations in the world. More than 80,000 member veterinarians worldwide are engaged in a wide variety of professional activities. AVMA members are dedicated to advancing the science and art of veterinary medicine, including its relationship to public health and agriculture. Visit the AVMA Web site at www.avma.org to learn more about veterinary medicine and animal care and to access up-to-date information on the association’s issues, policies and activities.