Federal Veterinary Jobs: 5 Resources You Need to Know About


Guten Tag from Germany! I’m here for the next couple of weeks for some professional development training courtesy of the U.S. government and your tax dollars. Tough life, right?

After a quick window on my life and work right now, I’m going to share some great resources that will help you learn more about the wonders of veterinary employment with the federal government.

What Brings Me to Germany

With my daughter at the conference last year.

With my daughter at the conference last year.

This week I’m participating in the International Military Veterinary Medical Symposium. Over these first couple of days, we’re getting RACE-approved continuing education credits with some quality clinical lectures by N.C. State dermatologist Marcy Murphy, Michigan State neurosurgeon Curtis Probst, and Michigan State radiologist Tony Pease.

The second half of the week will feature presentations by military vets from all over Europe on their work and research. The best part about the whole thing is networking with these uncommon veterinarians and hanging out with my friends among the other U.S. Army vets stationed here in Europe.

Last year the conference was held at the military’s cushy Edelweiss resort in the Alps, and my family and I enjoyed a week of beautiful vistas and German culture. Unfortunately due to the current sequestration budget cuts, that wasn’t going to happen again. So this year’s conference is being held on one of the big U.S. bases in Germany and I’m stuck in a generic hotel room attached to a big new military shopping center. Fun times.

Next week I’ll be doing some intensive surgical training with our two Army board-certified veterinary surgeons who work out of the main military working dog (MWD) referral hospital for Europe. One of my MWDs from Sicily might be coming up at the same time for correction of a knee injury, but otherwise I’ll mostly be practicing my gastropexy and basic spay/neuter skills.

Veterinary Jobs with the Federal Government

I recently discovered a few helpful resources for people interested in employment as a veterinarian with the federal government. Instead of sharing them one by one on my Facebook page and Twitter feed (please connect with me if you haven’t already!), I thought I would put a few together for a little blog post instead.

1. AVMA Webinar: Finding & Applying for Veterinary Federal Jobs: This webinar was put on by the AVMA’s Career Center and provides practical guidance on the whole intimidating process of landing that cushy government job. Watch the recording of the webinar on YouTube here.

2. How to Find Federal Veterinary Jobs on the USAJobs site: Simply go to this Advanced Search page, enter “0701” in the Series Number Search, and press “Search Jobs”. Now browse away to your heart’s content and dream of good benefits, generous retirement, and the elusive 9 to 5. I got some great feedback from some other federal vets on this point. They let me know that you can also use the keyword search with the terms “veterinary” or “veterinarian” and this will pull up some other jobs that aren’t in the 0701 series but that vets are eligible to fill.

3. U.S. Animal Health Association Job Board: This online bulletin board is updated pretty frequently with unique veterinary jobs not only with the federal government but also state governments, Native American tribes, universities, and more.

4. AVMA Externship & Fellowship Blog: How did I not know about this site before? The AVMA’s Governmental Relations externs and Congressional Science fellows have been writing regular updates on their experiences in D.C. for over five years now. I’ve considered the fellowship program myself, so this is definitely a space I will be watching from here on out.

5. National Association of Federal Veterinarians: Did you know that such an entity existed? Me either, until I got a cool e-mail last week from their executive vice president following up on a Twitter conversation. Learn more about their work and mission here.

 And Now Back to My Studies

I can’t help but get excited when I think about all the different ways we can use our veterinary training to not just make a living but also make a difference. The federal government has a lot of cool opportunities, but it also comes with its own frustrations and constraints as well. It’s worth thinking about, at least.

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I’m preparing to take next month’s board exams for the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine. If I can manage to squeeze by with a passing score, I’ll have a valuable credential for future job applications and an extra $6000 per year from the Army. Each day I’m realizing how much there still is to learn!

Are you going to register for the webinar?

Any of those postings on the USAJobs site look interesting?

Do you think an externship or fellowship through the AVMA in D.C. would be worthwhile?

Leave a comment and let me know!

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21 Responses to “Federal Veterinary Jobs: 5 Resources You Need to Know About”

  1. Gina May 15, 2013 at 5:51 pm #

    Thanks for the post. I registered for the webinar. Even though I am currently very happy at my current job in clinical practice, I think it’s always good to keep your ear to the ground for new and exciting opportunities.

    • Elliott May 17, 2013 at 7:46 pm #

      I agree, Gina. It’s good to know what possibilities out there even when we’re not currently looking for a change.

  2. Jen Sinatra (@camdensperson) May 15, 2013 at 6:16 pm #

    Just a couple things. Fed vet jobs are definitely NOT always 9 to 5 – I am on call approximately 25% of the time and fairly often work evenings/weekends. Also, there are a lot more jobs other than the 0701 series that a veterinarian may qualify for. Sometimes a key word search in USAJobs may help if you are looking beyond typical “veterinary” positions. Even just searching for ‘veterinary’ or ‘veterinarian’ pulls up a lot of other positions to sort through.

    • Elliott May 17, 2013 at 7:49 pm #

      Haha, thanks Jen for clarifying this point! I have to agree, since I’m a federally-employed veterinarian and am theoretically on call 24/7/365. I do think that many of these job possibilities have more regular work hours and days than the average clinical veterinarian, though.

      And great point about the other options for vets outside the 0701 series. Someone told me this on LinkedIn as well so I’m going to go ahead and make a little edit above to clarify that.

  3. edmund orok-edem May 15, 2013 at 6:32 pm #

    do you have to stand at attention and salute others?…

    • Elliott May 17, 2013 at 7:51 pm #

      Yep, if a commanding officer senior to me enters the room I do stand at attention, and if I pass a senior officer outside then I definitely salute. It all felt very strange at first when I was just starting in the military, but now it comes pretty naturally.

  4. Will Sander May 16, 2013 at 2:52 pm #

    Another fellowship opportunity that gets you working within the government is the AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellowships. These are 1 year positions within Executive Branch agencies spanning anywhere from Department of Defense, NIH, National Science Foundation, NASA, EPA and USAID. They are along the same vein as the AVMA Congressional Fellowships (in fact AAAS does most of the funding for that fellowship) but are centered in the executive branch and typically have PhDs applying although this past year 6 veterinarians made it to the finalist stage. It is a fantastic way to get a taste for policy work in government, get paid reasonably well and potentially find a stepping stone into an actual government position. The next round for applications (yearly) will start late Fall http://fellowships.aaas.org/

    • Elliott May 17, 2013 at 7:59 pm #

      Thanks for sharing this, Will. I definitely want to learn more about this fellowship program both to share with the community here but also for my own benefit! I think it could be a cool way to transition if I decide to go off active duty and pursue some other type of government work. Hope you’ll share more details with us!

  5. Jesse McBrayer May 17, 2013 at 7:38 pm #

    bookmarked thanks!

  6. Amy T May 27, 2013 at 4:51 pm #

    Thanks for all of your valuable information! I have been in clinical small animal practice since graduation, and almost since then have been trying to transition into a federal position (4+ years). What I have found is that despite 25+ applications and exceeding qualifications and having no geographic constraints and having a masters degree I have had zero luck with anything through USAjobs. What I don’t understand is how there can be recruitment bonuses, etc for PHV positions and yet though I have been “qualified” I am never referred for consideration (when there is a supposed shortage)? I a pursuing a second masters while in practice, but wondered if you had any insight on why this might be? I have heard the same from many others who have been applying for years with no response. Thanks!

    • Elliott May 28, 2013 at 9:41 pm #

      Hey Amy, it’s great to hear from someone who has personal experience with this process. I’ve heard that the application process can be pretty tedious, as you’ve described. Here’s some advice that was given by someone over on our LinkedIn discussion:

      “If you are applying for a federal position through USAJobs I recommend you talk to someone within the system. It can be very frustrating and there are some critical things you must do. Primarily match your resume and experience exactly to the key qualification terms.”

      I would recommend connecting personally with some federal vets from the agency that you’re interested in through LinkedIn or Twitter and asking them for advice on appropriately formatting your resume and application to give yourself the best chance of success. I hope you’ll keep us posted on the process!

  7. Felicia August 11, 2013 at 7:22 am #

    This blog is amazing! Thank you so much for opening my eyes to so many wonderful opportunities in the Veterinary Medicine field. I am currently earning my BA degree in Pre-Veterinary Medicine and am still debating on whether or not the Army Reserve will be the right choose as I move on to Grad school. Any further insight would be appreciated (thoughts on both the Army Reserve or Active Duty and whether or not to enroll in the HPSP while I’m getting my BA or to wait until grad school?). Thanks again!

  8. Sarkari Naukri December 9, 2014 at 8:17 am #

    Hi, I want to work in Germany.. one of my friend gone there and he told me that there were nice working experience and salary is also competitive than india. but now he is unreachable. How can I apply or come there for job..? can you guide me. I am from India.

  9. m iltaf hussain December 20, 2014 at 7:26 am #


    • m iltaf hussain December 20, 2014 at 7:28 am #

      Hi! I want to work in Germany as a Veterinarian, but may you help me ang give me chance to work abroad…….. thanks

  10. Lesia May 31, 2018 at 7:45 pm #

    Hi Elliott,

    It’s Lesia Denysyk from high school (I went to NC state vet school). Would you mind sending me your email address or phone number so we could talk about government jobs not in an open forum?

    Kindly, Lesia


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