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Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine students are encouraged to take a preceptorship or externship during their fourth year of study. A preceptorship is a mentoring experience in which a practicing veterinarian volunteers to give personal instruction, training and supervision to a veterinary student. Students receive real-world experience by applying what they have learned in classrooms, laboratory and clinical rotations.
Preceptorship credit can be earned at approved government agencies, research laboratories, veterinary practices and other approved university hospitals.
Students may choose a preceptorship in the small animal medicine, large animal medicine, equine medicine, and zoological and exotic medicine. At Iowa State, veterinary students more frequently use shelter medicine and general mixed animal practice preceptorships as their experiences. Over 80% of the Class of 2016 reported that their preceptorship was very valuable or essential to their studies.
Preceptorships maybe taken for credit or non-credit with 85% of the students participating in a preceptorship for at least four weeks. The most common preceptorship among Iowa State students lasted six weeks.