They're the ones that know the animals. A zoo veterinarian has a great deal of hands-on responsibility. This career path takes longer than going the internship route, but it's still possible to become a zoo veterinarian this way. I have a lot of conversations with youngsters who want to be veterinarians, and what I tell them is to follow their passion and their interests. That helped us modify the diet to keep them healthier in captivity. How does the National Zoo differ from other zoos? Becoming a zoo veterinarian is difficult. Working as a veterinarian at the National Zoo, there is an exciting moment every single day. This includes administering vaccinations and doing routine physical exams on the zoo menagerie. Terms of Use The standard of animal care that we provide is excellent, so I think that, along with the ability to contribute to science and conservation, is what really sets us apart. Give a Gift. Veterinary school is competitive, hence the need to earn good grades before applying. Veterinary school is competitive, hence the need to earn good grades before applying. or The New Science of Our Ancient Bond With Dogs, Seven Native American Chefs Share Thanksgiving Recipes, The Inspiring Quest to Revive the Hawaiian Language, Why Seagrass Could Be the Ocean's Secret Weapon Against Climate Change. Previous experience working with animals is necessary before a zoo veterinarian job offer is attainable. After all, they are the ones spending the most time with the animals. Becoming a zoo veterinary technician takes some work, but it’s within your reach—especially with a great veterinary technology program right in your backyard. As head of the department, I don't have as much direct animal care as I used to or as I would like. Murray discusses what it takes to become a vet and what it's like making house calls at the nation's zoo. Take as many courses in exotic veterinary medicine as possible. While zoologists and veterinarians get most of the headlines, vet techs are often the ones who observe the animals to notice when they are sick, and administer the treatments that veterinarians prescribe. They're the ones that can tell when something's wrong. Work as an intern for one or two years to gain experience working with exotic animals. Zoo veterinarians are responsible for the medical care of sick animals and preventive care for all the healthy ones. I think people are always really pleasantly surprised to hear about the varying levels of expertise here at the zoo, whether it's the keepers, the reproductive physiologists, the pathologists, the nutritionists. As a kid, I liked animals, and I was good at math and sciences. What is the biggest misconception about the work that you do? Vet techs also work with the other caretakers to administer medicine. And that's pretty perceptive. So in human medicine, you can have cardiology, urology, dermatology. They are the ones who observe the animals for signs of sickness, injury, or pregnancy. Privacy Statement I don't know that there are misconceptions about our work. I actually did my training here years ago. One of the great things about the Smithsonian is all of our different resources and levels of expertise. If you are ready to take the first step towards becoming a zoo vet tech, check out the AAS in Veterinary Technology program at Broadview University. in Veterinary Technology. There's someone who does our park checks and there's someone who stays behind and does the clinical work. Becoming a zoo veterinarian takes years of schooling and a doctorate degree, but the path to becoming a zoo vet tech starts with just a two-year A.A.S. What skills and training are required for your position? You can also join zoo vet tech organizations like the AZVT to learn more and meet other zoo vet techs. There's really no way to compare. Smithsonian Institution, (Jessie Cohen/Smithsonian’s National Zoo). She has published a variety of articles on websites such as However, with determination, intelligence, hard work and a little luck, it's possible to land a zoo veterinarian job. Cookie Policy Not every zoo has a pathologist, or nutritionist or the level of keeper training that this zoo has. Becoming a zoo veterinary technician takes some work, but it’s within your reach—especially with a great veterinary technology program right in your backyard. We had a lot of animals around the house, and my grandparents had a farm. There are not many zoo veterinarian positions that exist, and there's a long list of people competing for them. Becoming a zoo veterinarian is difficult. This is a good way to earn a little money while building up a resume. There really is no average day. The job of a zoo veterinarian is rewarding but difficult. Why Was Benjamin Franklin’s Basement Filled With Skeletons? The job of a zoo veterinarian is rewarding but difficult. People are always happy to hear about how far we go for animal care and how much we do for the individual animal. Keep working with exotic animals and apply to be an assistant veterinary technician at a zoo. What advice do you have for someone who wants to go into this field? Earn a college degree. Go to vet school. You might not realize it, but vet techs play a very important role in zoos. Veterinary medicine has a number of those same specialties, one of which is zoological medicine. Katie Duzan is an accomplished writer who lives in Cary, N.C. She has been a writer since 2006. If you have trouble finding a job, be willing to volunteer at a vet clinic. ... or zoo animals. Once you get a veterinary technology degree, you’ll still need to get experience working as a vet tech, usually in private practice. We have a project in Kenya looking at kori bustards, the largest flighted bird. In captivity, we found that they have a high instance of liver disease, of hemochromatosis, which is the storing of iron in the liver. You have a fabulous job!" They're eating more berries and insects. Have patience. Every day offers a bounty of surprises. Veterinary technicians play an important role in every zoo. Just keep aiming in your direction, correct when you're off course and don't take "no" for an answer. While they assist veterinarians during procedures by helping to calm or restrain the animal, they also perform many procedures themselves, such as taking X-Rays and ultrasounds. Complete an accredited veterinary medicine program. They do everything from routine blood work to specialised surgeries. On a recent spring morning's rounds, she checked on an artificially-inseminated elephant, a giant anteater with skin abrasions, a kiwi named Manaia and an anesthetized Burmese python. The Myths of the Thanksgiving Story and the Lasting Damage They Imbue, Hegra, an Ancient City in Saudi Arabia Untouched for Millennia, Makes Its Public Debut, Missing Australian Masterpiece Spent 115 Years Hiding in Plain Sight, Medicinal Plant May Have Evolved Camouflage to Evade Humans. Copyright 2020 Leaf Group Ltd. / Leaf Group Media, All Rights Reserved. The sooner you can start--as early as high school--the better, but it's not too late to start during college. Those were some of the things that made me realize that [veterinary medicine] was something I was interested in pursuing. Make sure the veterinary school is accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association, or AVMA. Be prepared for a challenge when working to secure an internship. If a student is really interested in veterinarian medicine, he or she should stick with it. In the state of Utah, the only vet tech program accredited by the Association of Zoo Veterinary Technicians is at Broadview University. The veterinarians that do the clinical care get a lot of interaction with the keepers, who are really our eyes and ears. Becoming a zoo veterinarian leads to a unique and exciting career with high-income potential across all 50 states. A residency is a period in which you specialize in a particular area of medicine. What Was on the Menu at the First Thanksgiving? This career path takes longer than going the internship route, but it's still possible to become a zoo veterinarian this way. Do American Indians celebrate Thanksgiving? In order to run a training program, you need to be board certified, to be a specialist in zoo medicine. Find a school that has a zoological medicine speciality. California Do Not Sell My Info We learned that they're not eating much meat in the wild. The qualifications to become a zoo veterinarian include a veterinary degree, licensure, certification, and relevant skills to work with different animals.

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