Veterinarian – Student Extern Program

Veterinary Specialty Center (VSC) offers a Veterinary Student Externship Program for first, second, third, and fourth-year vet students. Please note that priority is given to students in their third and fourth years. Externships typically last anywhere from one to four weeks to fulfill either elective or private practice curriculum requirements.

VSC practices the highest quality medicine through our exceptional team and cutting-edge equipment at our new state-of-the-art hospital. Our boarded specialists, emergency clinicians, residents, and interns all take part in the learning experience for our visiting students. We strongly believe that each veterinary student is responsible for their learning and encourages engagement while under the direct supervision of a clinician.

Our externship specialties include:

  • Emergency and Critical Care
  • Cardiology
  • Dermatology
  • Surgery
  • Anesthesia and Pain Management
  • Medical Oncology
  • Radiation Oncology
  • Internal Medicine
  • Radiology
  • Clinical Pathology (coming Fall 2024)
  • Neurology

What we look for in veterinary student externs:

  • Punctual and attentive during our morning rounds to discuss our hospitalized patients
  • Engagement with your assigned clinician and team
  • Passion to be involved, but respectful to ask for permission
  • Currently enrolled in an AVMA-accredited university veterinary degree program.
  • Looking for experience in a high caseload specialty/referral practice
  • Come ready to learn and ask informed questions
  • Respectful of our staff, clients, and patients
  • Make a good impression should you decide to pursue an internship/residency with us in the future

Externship Orientation and Attire

Prior to your arrival, you must complete an electronic onboarding packet that we will email to you. This will include a map of our building, parking instructions, expectations, and more.

Scrubs (matching top and bottom) or business attire should be worn during the externship. Because our scrub colors identify VSC staff members’ positions, your scrubs must not be green, blue, or gray. You may wear a blue or black sweater embossed with your school logo if desired, but not sweatshirts or hoodies. You should wear comfortable, close-toed shoes!

For the duration of your externship, you must wear a provided Vet Extern vest and VSC badge, which you will need it to enter and move about our hospital.

Additional Information for Potential Externs


VSC does not require nor do we provide professional liability (malpractice) insurance, health insurance, or worker’s compensation for externs. If an extern’s university mandates that insurance coverage be obtained, it is the responsibility of the extern to arrange such coverage. We are happy to provide a letter confirming your acceptance if this is required.


VSC does not charge visiting students for participation in our externship program, nor do we provide any compensation/payment to externs.


Many externs stay with relatives or friends in the Chicagoland/Bannockburn area. Other options include Extended Stay Hotel, Hampton Inn and Suites, or Airbnb. In some instances, particularly for students that travel from long distances, we are able to secure housing with a staff member, but we encourage you to look into other options. If you are unable to secure housing, please email

International Students

VSC accepts applications from students attending AVMA-accredited universities abroad. However, because the externship program is designed to provide university credit for the senior year curriculum, students of AVMA-accredited universities in the U.S. and Canada are given priority when scheduling rotations.


Please feel free to e-mail us at if you have questions.

To Apply


Starting Monday, April 8th through the end of September, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) will begin their road resurfacing project along Waukegan Road from Lake Cook Road to Half Day Road (IL 22). Please allow additional travel time to our hospital during the construction. Learn More: Waukegan Road Resurfacing Project