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Why You Should Do a Wildlife Rehabilitation Internship

Animal Care / December 2, 2020

Now more than ever, an internship or some form of real work experience before graduation is vital for college students. This is true for any major or career path, as many hiring employers indicate that they want prospective entry-level employees with prior experience.

One of the main reasons that the job market is only growing more competitive is because more Americans than ever are obtaining bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Ultimately, getting legitimate work experience before you graduate can help set you apart from the crowd, and show that you’ve gained real-life skills in addition to an education. In some cases, an internship or co-op is even a requirement to graduate from a specific program or major.

All of this is especially true for those pursuing a career in veterinary, biology, zoology, or other animal-related fields! If you’re interested in following these exciting career paths after you graduate, Operation Wildlife’s internship program can help prepare you with a unique, comprehensive experience. Read on to discover all the benefits a Wildlife Rehabilitation internship with us has to offer.

Get Real-World Experience Outside of the Classroom

Internships at Operation Wildlife are incredibly hands-on. The work here will help you develop many of the attributes that today’s employers and graduate programs are seeking. These include problem-solving skills, leadership, and real day-to-day experience with animals and biology. 

Most of this experience will come from working in our primary facility, where you’ll be assisting with animal care and treatment daily. You’ll also get the opportunity to assist with education events, maintenance, and other projects. Not only is this work extremely rewarding (not to mention cool), but it’ll help prepare you for your career post-graduation!

In addition to giving you additional knowledge to fall back on, these internships also ensure that employers won’t have to spend additional time training you. Though it probably won’t be the primary reason you’re offered a particular job, additional factors like these can sometimes tip the scales when employers make hiring decisions. 

Perhaps most importantly, a wildlife rehabilitation internship will help you get acclimated to life after college. You’ll be given the opportunity to take full responsibility for your own work, and you’ll learn what it takes to be a successful member of the workforce!

Sit-In on Surgical Procedures

Operation Wildlife receives thousands of wild animals each year, and our release rate of these animals is 20% higher than the national average. 

As part of our commitment to providing interns with real work experience, you’ll get a chance to see various surgical procedures up close. These procedures will provide invaluable experience and will allow you to work closely with our expert surgery staff! 

These professional volunteers, which include seven veterinarians and many trained wildlife rehabilitators, are among the brightest in their fields. Under their guidance, you’ll gain in-depth knowledge of the entire surgery process from start to finish. You’ll also get a chance to ask questions and get advice from professionals with years of real-world experience.

That means that you’ll not only be learning, but you’ll also be learning from the best! 

Strengthen Your Resume and Boost Your GPA

Not all internships and co-ops are created the same. With our status as the largest publicly funded wildlife clinic in Kansas, in addition to our success rate in returning animals to the wild, an internship with Operation Wildlife will help you stand out from the crowd.

Many of our graduates have gone on to work at prestigious jobs or attend high-level graduate programs. This includes institutions such as the San Diego Zoo, UC Davis Veterinary School, Kansas State University Veterinary School, Peregrine Fund, and others! These places recognize the work that we put into developing our interns and helping them grow into the caring, knowledgeable leaders of tomorrow.

And our internship program isn’t just a bright spot on your resume. It can also help bring your GPA up, too! We offer internships both during the spring and fall semesters, as well as during the summer. Our internship program can be used to fulfill graduation requirements and class credit, with the approval of a corresponding professor.

Advantages of an Operation Wildlife Internship

Independent Learning

Though you will have several resources to talk to and learn from, much of the work you do will be with little supervision. This is by design, as it will allow you to better develop problem-solving skills on your own. 

Development of your independence in the workplace is one of the biggest ways you can help your professional development. Being able to call on these examples will go a long way when it comes time to interview for jobs.

Grow Your Network

Just because we value independent work doesn’t mean you’ll be by yourself, though. Most semesters, we have a total of 12 interns on our staff helping with various day-to-day tasks. You’ll all be able to work and grow alongside one another while gaining valuable education and experience. 

Additionally, every intern will be able to work with our professional staff of volunteers. These volunteers, along with our one full-time staff member at Operation Wildlife, will be available to interns as a resource both during and after the internship. With hard work and a good attitude, these resources can potentially be very useful for networking or letters of recommendation.

Needless to say, a wildlife rehabilitation internship at Operation Wildlife can help you grow valuable and potentially lifelong connections. These connections can greatly help as you advance in your career!

Apply for an Internship at Operation Wildlife Today!

Established in 1989, Operation Wildlife has been providing rehab and veterinary services to injured and orphaned animals in Northeast Kansas and Northwest Missouri. As the largest publicly funded wildlife clinic in Kansas, we provide numerous educational opportunities for our staff and surrounding communities.

If you’re a student looking for a life-changing experience with real educational value, fill out an internship application today! Applications are available on our website, and students can apply for either the spring or fall semesters, as well as over the summer.

Also, be sure to talk with an adviser at your respective school to ensure that you’re eligible for class credit. For more information on expectations and requirements for students in our internship program, please visit our internship page. We can’t wait to hear from you!

Contact Us

Have any questions or comments about wildlife rehabilitation or any of the services we provide? Feel free to contact us on our website and we’ll be sure to get back to you as quickly as we can.