Difficulty of Specializing

Discussion in 'Pre-Veterinary' started by snoopy69, Jun 9, 2005.

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  1. snoopy69

    snoopy69 Senior Member 5+ Year Member

    Sep 7, 2004
    Michigan State
    I was wondering if anyone here knows how hard it is to match into a specialty after vet school? I find dermatology pretty interesting, and was just wondering if that is extremely hard to get a residency in, or can you get in with average grades? Does anyone here know what life is like in internship and residency (hours, responsibilities)?
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  3. birdvet2006

    birdvet2006 Glasgow c/o 2006 5+ Year Member

    Feb 5, 2005
    Portsmouth, NH

    According to VIN, dermatology is a pretty popular specialty. Probably less popular than surgery, but apparently there are also fewer residencies offered. Therefore, you will find it more competetive to get into a residency.

    As for what life is like in an internship - it depends on the internship. There are private practice internships and there are university/academic internships. You should research the internship you'll be applying to carefully. There are a ton out there! Some are good, some are bad - and mostly it boils down to what you want out of an internship. There are the types where you have NO free time (i.e. the big private practice ones like AMC in New York and Angell in Boston). Then there are places with smaller caseloads and less emergency hours - and everything in between. Basically though, your life is your internship for that year. Whether you have time to breathe or not is what you should think about when selecting places to apply to.

    Residencies - you still have to do emergency duty at most places (but you're higher up on the totem pole as a resident). You often have to do research and publish papers - usually a requirement by the specialty boards.

    I suggest you look at the VIRMP (Veterinary Internship and Residency Matching Programme) website: http://www.virmp.org. Look up some internships (small animal rotating medicine and surgery - usually required by most residencies as a pre-req). Read about each one - this will give you an idea of what to expect from an internship.
  4. Hello everyone:) While we are on the subject...What is the typical post-graduate (both academic and clinical) path that most take to eventually get involved in teaching and/or research?? Do most continue to complete an advanced degree (MS or PhD) or internship/residency or both?? What GPA do you need to maintain during vet school to be competitive for these types of training?? If anyone has any information it is much appreciated..Take care!
  5. snoopy69

    snoopy69 Senior Member 5+ Year Member

    Sep 7, 2004
    Michigan State
    ok, another question. If there are unmatched spots, does that mean that anyone that really wants to be in the spot can take it as long as they have pretty good grades and completed an internship? Also, I noticed that most dermatology residencies are 3 years long, but on the UC Davis website it says that theirs is only 2 years long. What's the deal with that?
  6. judyrvc

    judyrvc Resident 5+ Year Member

    Apr 17, 2005
    Gainesville, FL
    Having participated in the match for internships (and starting the internship in about 2 weeks) this past year, I think I have a fair idea about how unmatched spots work. The practice I matched at only matched 2/6 spots. The practice is given a list of the people that did not match (in the appropriate field- small animal practices obviously won't be interested in people who applied for equine internships, etc.) and they contact whoever they want from the list. I have a classmate who didn't match. Within 2 days of the match date, she had over a dozen e-mails from practices that were interested in her. She did research on those practices and selected a couple she liked. Then she had to e-mail a copy of her application to them. A few days later, she was set. Just keep in mind, you can only be considered if you are part of the matching program. You can't be an outsider who heard a place has open positions.

    In terms of derm, there were 7 universities offering positions last year (with 8 spots available). According to VIRMP, all but 1 matched candidates. As it turns out, 4 of the universities have 2 year programs (FL, CA, MI, PA) while 3 have 3 year programs (IL, NC, TE). I looked at the websites of a few of them and I have no idea why they aren't consistent with program length. I guess you'd have to look specifically at each program and figure out the pros and cons before applying.

    I hope this helps a bit. Let me know if you have any more questions about the match process or internships, etc.

    :) Judy
  7. MicheleVet

    MicheleVet DVM c/o 2005 5+ Year Member

    Feb 10, 2005
    Most interships and residencies require "good" grades. Generally the top 25% of the class. That doesn't mean if you are lower it won't happen...it's just much harder and less likely.

    To work in academia, I'd recommend the specialty route....to work in research, I'd recommend the PhD route. If you are thinking about Path...I'd recommend both a PhD and specialty.

    Judy explained the "unmatched spots" stuff pretty well. The students/interns can also see the list of unmatched programs and can contact the programs as well...but it becomes "like" second application process again...in that the program has to offer you the spot. Why are there unmatched spots if there are a bunch of people who want them? Programs rank their applicants and applicants rank the programs...if the applicants program A ranks go to different programs, then program A is left unmatched. And if an applicant isn't ranked high enough by any program, then the applicant is unmatched. Occasionally, programs will take an applicant that wasn't part of VIRMP...but it's the exception, not the rule. Also not all residencies are a part of the "match." There are private practices that will take residents.

    The different specialties have different rules on board eligability. It used to be very unregulated...it's becoming much more organized...so expect even more changes in program requirements over the next few years. If you are interested in a residency and board certification, I'd check out the website for that specialty...i.e. American College of Veterinary _______ www.acv_.org is often the website...And ask the resident director of the specialty at your vet school for "the" book of requirements for that year. Some schools plan their residency to meet the requirements only, some plan what they feel is an appropriate training in that specialty and make sure that it includes all of the requirements...what each program feels is appropriate is different. The program also is evaluated by the ACV_ to make sure the residency is acceptable. Most schools will also have a board pass rate statistic that they use to help define their program.

    Hope that helps. I'm going to be in an academic internship this year and am going to be in the residency match in the fall...so I might be able to answer more questions as the year goes by.

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