Become an Extern

It’s more than just an interest in federal politics that drives an AVMA Governmental Relations Extern. It’s the desire to experience something completely different and accelerate their capacity for flexibility and increased self-confidence.

The AVMA extern program pairs talented veterinary students together with the AVMA Governmental Relations Division for a four-week program that introduces externs to the breadth of public policy issues facing the profession and provides hands-on lobbying experience with legislators and staffers on Capitol Hill.

It’s an opportunity to learn a facet of the profession that you won’t find in school – and make a difference in shaping the profession at the same time.

AVMA provides $1200 stipends for ten externs.


What Does An AVMA Governmental Relations Extern Do?

Externs learn about federal legislative and regulatory processes and are actively involved in advancing the AVMA’s legislative agenda in Washington.

Externs work first-hand on issues that affect the veterinary profession, such as the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program, animal welfare, funding for veterinary education, and small business and tax issues. As part of that process, externs work with members of Congress and congressional staffers.


Why Be An Extern?

Externs gain valuable knowledge about the issues facing the veterinary profession today and enhance their skill sets and resumes. Externs are asked to problem solve, collaborate, adapt to daily changes in priorities, and influence others – all skills of immense value in every area of veterinary medicine.

What’s more, there’s no other place where you’ll be able to use your unique knowledge and skills to make a difference in legislation that literally impacts thousands of people daily. It’s a chance to take the learning from veterinary school and apply it outside of a clinical setting. And have a great time doing it!


2019 Externship Dates

Dates for the 2019 AVMA Government Relations Externship Program will be available online in 2018.​


Do I qualify?


  • Are a member of SAVMA
  • Have completed two years of a veterinary professional program  before the beginning of the externship
  • Are interested in public policy
  • Want to help advance the AVMA legislative and regulatory agenda
  • Are a U.S. citizen


  • Think clearly and stay focused under pressure
  • Be result-oriented, with a high drive to meet goals
  • Have excellent written and verbal communications skills
  • Relate well to people from diverse backgrounds in varied social settings

How do I apply?

The application cycle for the 2018 AVMA Government Relations Externship Program is now closed. Application information for the 2019 AVMA Government Relations Externship Program will be available online in 2018.

Please visit AVMA’s website for more information or contact 800.321.1473 if you have any questions.