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.

Externships run for four weeks. Applicants are asked to select first and second choice blocks from the options below. Note that May and June are the most popular timeframes, so applicants may select one or the other, but not both, when listing their choices.


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!


2018 Externship Dates

February 5-March 2

March 5-30

April 2-27

April 30-May 25

June 4-29

September 4-28

The deadline to apply will be October 13, 2017


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


  • Think clearly and stay focused under pressure
  • Are result-oriented, with a high drive to meet goals
  • Show excellent writing and verbal communications skills
  • Relate well to people from diverse backgrounds in various social situations

How do I apply?

The application for the 2018 AVMA Governmental Relations Externship Program is now available online here. The deadline to apply is October 13, 2017. Applications received after this date will not be considered. 

The application package must include:

  • Completed Application Form
  • Personal statement (250 word limit) explaining your motivations to apply to the AVMA-GRD Externship program and describing why you should be selected.
  • Completed case study (500 word limit)
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • One letter of recommendation from an AVMA member familiar with the student’s academic record. Letters of recommendation must be submitted in an envelope sealed by the recommender or emailed to the AVMA-GRD directly from the recommender.

Send completed applications by October 13, 2017, to:

AVMA Governmental Relations Externship Program
American Veterinary Medical Association Governmental Relations Division
1910 Sunderland Place, NW
Washington, D.C. 20036 ​​

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