Matching Employees with Employers

Employment of veterinarians nationwide is projected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations.

The latest U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report projects the veterinarian job market will increase by almost 20 percent over the next decade. As many veterinary clinics across the country know, it is getting harder and harder to find the right fit for any job opening.

Dr. Jessica Ward, assistant dean for extramural student programs, determined the College of Veterinary Medicine could do a better job connecting students and employers.

“The competition for employees has never been more intense,” Ward said. “We needed a new way of communicating the opportunities that exist out there for our students.”

The Practice Partners Program was created to meet the employment need. Ward worked with Iowa State’s SAVMA (Student American Veterinary Medical Association) chapter to establish the Practice Partners Program.

Just a few of the program’s benefits are:

  • A monthly digest sent to veterinary students and college alumni promoting clinics and potential job opportunities.
  • An in-person career development workshop held in the spring at the College of Veterinary Medicine where practice partner members can participate.
  • The annual IVMA Networking and Job Fair, an on-campus event where potential employers meet with students.

A participation fee is required for membership in the Practice Partners Program, with individual organizations determining their own contribution. Corporate practices generally pay between $1,000 and $2,000 a year to participate. Suggested fees for privately-owned practices are between $200 and $1,000 annually.

“What I really like about our program is that all fees generated are then given to SAVMA for their student programming,” Ward said.

More than 50 corporate and private-owned clinics participated in the first year of the program, among them the Galena Square Veterinary Clinic in Illinois and the Family Pet Hospital in Platteville, Wisconsin. Dr. Terry Beebe owns both clinics and says the practices are in rural cities with small populations.

“It can be hard to attract new associates if they are not familiar with the area and the many opportunities for employment for significant others as well as the lower cost of living,” Beebe said. “We typically participate at the Iowa State career fair and know that it is a great way to meet future graduates and share a little bit about ourselves and the type of medicine we practice.

“The Practice Partners Program is a great way to increase the networking between Iowa State’s students and the involved clinics.”

In the past, Beebe’s clinics have offered preceptorships in the fourth year, but the Practice Partners Program provided an opportunity to add two additional preceptors from Iowa State this year.

“It is extremely important for any practice to place a great deal of time and energy into finding the right associate with the personality and skill set that allows the associate to smoothly transition into the team,” Beebe said. “This program allows students and private clinic owners and staff to meet and network in an efficient manner, therefore increasing the chances of finding an associate.”

Ward feels the program accomplished a great deal in its first year but looks for additional things to come. A new touchscreen computer has been installed in Patterson Hall which will add another layer of promotion for the available positions. A virtual event for the program is also scheduled in the spring for potential employers.

June 2023