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IS my experience TOO specialized?

Discussion in 'Pre-Veterinary' started by Nautilus1134, Aug 1, 2011.

  1. Nautilus1134

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    Hi everyone,
    So up until a few months ago I was dead set on going into coral reef research and conservation. For that reason, everything I have done has been marine related; over 700 hours of working in animal husbandry at the New England Aquarium, 400 hours of coral reef research, and am spending the next year doing extensive marine lab/field research.
    However, I decided to pursue a prevet route and am wondering if being so specialized in one field is good or bad? I have the option to work with a marine vet next summer but am not sure if that would be smart or not.

    What do people think?
     
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  3. jmo1012

    jmo1012 SGU (NCSU) c/o 2015!
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    i think that would be so incredibly cool personally! and i'd start sprinkling in small and equine/large animal vet experience wherever possible. however, i think that background is going to really make you stand out. as long as you cover your bases and show that you actually understand that there is a lot out there in the veterinary world, that you've taken some time to find out what different types of vets do, etc you should be fine. do you want to go into marine medicine?
     
  4. mhlaur

    mhlaur AVC c/o 2014!
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    AVC here in Canada has a growing aquatics vet program. I think they would like to have more students interested in that field so your narrow experience shouldn't hurt here. They're constantly trying to convince more of us to work in aquaculture.
     
  5. StartingoverVet

    StartingoverVet Flight Instructor for hire
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    Honestly the answer to your question is it depends where you apply (and to some aspect the rest of your app).

    Some schools care a lot about diversity, but others only want experience in your area of interest (Penn for example). Just read the websites or VMSAR book, and apply appropriately.

    Plenty of us have had success applying without diversity of experience.
     
  6. awaring1

    awaring1 UCD Ireland c/o 2015

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    It sounds like you have a really interesting resume that may capture the attention of some committee members. The one thing you are going to want to consider is getting much more veterinary experience. You seem to have a lot of (very cool) animal experience, but not a lot that is directly supervised by a DVM. Applications are very strict on separating the two. Veterinary experience is very important so you may want to stock up on that if you haven't already.
     
  7. Minnerbelle

    Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

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    Whatever you do, make sure that you can answer the question: "what will you do with your degree, and what will you do to get there."

    If you're going to say that you are destined to become an aquatics vet at an aquarium, but don't know exactly how to get there (prob one of the most, if not the most, exclusive fields to get into)... but have not looked into alternative vet fields, then you might sound silly.

    That being said, I was someone who had never set foot in a GP office as anything other than a client before applying... and am probably headed to become a GP, so take that with a grain of salt.
     
  8. Mermaid831

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    Hello!
    I feel much in the same boat as you, Nautilus, and have some of the same questions. I am undoubtedly in love with aquatic veterinary medicine, and have volunteered a lot in stranding (dispatch, vet tech-like responsibilities), and have worked a lot in marine laboratories. I have some experience with large animal (farm animal) vet med and liked it a lot, but I think if I could not be involved in conservation/ environmental health I'd not be the happiest. I know that vet med is probably the most difficult and expensive way of getting work in this field, but I just can't shake the passion I have for wild animal health. (I wish I could--it'd be better for my finances :laugh:).

    Minnerbelle and Mhlaur, you seem to know about the exclusivity of this field and jobs available. Could you give me an idea of my actual chances of working with aquatic animals (after internship/residency of course)? Do you guys have access to any literature on this? Mhlaur, I am a US citizen, but would still be interested to know what schools in Canada are pushing marine med and why/what jobs are emerging.

    Eager to hear more on this thread!
     
  9. Minnerbelle

    Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

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    I honestly don't know what your exact chances are since I've never looked into it... but a good place to start might be to figure out first how many aquariums there are in the US, and/or how many vet positions there are in aquariums. Then compare that to how many board eligible veterinarians there are?

    Again, I never had interest so I really don't know specifics. But what I've always heard was that with zoo medicine, you're essentially waiting for a position to open up somewhere (chances are, very far away from you). A lot of times, that means waiting for someone to retire or die. And then for every open position, there are way more than 1 qualified candidates who are board certified or board eligible who wants to fill that position. I was told that 26 or so people applied for 1 opening at Zoo New England (which is a shabby municipal zoo with a shabby vet facility at least as of 2006), where half was at least board eligible. Aquariums are that much worse, just because there are far fewer aquariums than there are zoos, esp if you want to do lots of work with marine mammals.

    Now, if you're a fish lover who would be happy catering to hobbyists/hotels/restaurants/other establishments that have elaborate tanks that may need consults once in a while, you might open up some more doors? This is probably more likely to be viable if you work in an exotics practice and you do other species too.

    Another route is to go into aquatics research. But something tells me that it's probably much more feasible to do that through a PhD than through a DVM due to the cost of getting a DVM.

    I'm probably pulling a lot of this out my back end, so someone with more knowledge correct me.
     
  10. Mermaid831

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    Thank you Minnerbelle for the input. I have been totally in love with rescue/rehab but at this point in my life I do need to be realistic about what jobs exist out there. I might have to content myself with a more realistic job market in something unrelated, and doing rescue/rehab volunteer work on the side. Part of what I was looking for with this site is a realistic input from people who have been there. Cheers!
     
  11. WhtsThFrequency

    Veterinarian 10+ Year Member

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    qft
     
  12. WildlifeSaver

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    Since I just started going back to undergrad after a few years, I do not have a lot to say, but I actually do. It seems as though the field of vet aquatic medicine has been expanding in recent years and with that, there will def be more jobs available in aquaculture, but not really for aquariums or zoos...I literally work at a vet clinic with someone who has done a internship at seaworld from upenn aqua-vet program..Years later, she still has not landed a job that is her dream. Does this make me not want to pursue marine vet conservation? Yes and no. There is a reason I decided I'm going to a graduate program first. I could find out that I will be just as happy because I would be persuing my dream to make a difference through something that I am very passionate about.

    Also, a bit scatter brained today, but someone just got a position at a aquarium I use to volunteer at and word has it he did not one, not two, but THREE internships at aquariums during his veterinary career. He was fresh out of UF undergrad as a double major in marine science and bio and went to UF vet school..He did get a job right away, but look at all the extra extra he did as well. People who really want it will go the distance I believe.

    I have never personally heard or read a story about someone that does field work as marine mammal interest/reaserch and then works part time at a zoo, but do they exist? Yes, but only a hand full. There aren't a whole lot of people out there that want to get a phD and a DVM degree which is if you calculated, between 14-18 years of school with only a maybe to reach a dream. I always try to stay realistic. I am still not convinced that I love a general animal practice even to say and I've been working for 6 months so far in one. Vet medicine in itself is a major life choice too. There are other ways to do the marine vet thing and it depends on your interest. You do not have to go to school prior (more then undergrad or equl experiences), but I will tell you, the people who do will have the most oppertunity.
     

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