Rehabilitation Training at the Center

The Wildlife Center’s externship and internship programs offer training opportunities to students and others interested in learning about wildlife rehabilitation. Externs receive no stipend; however, housing is available for full-time externs. Interns receive a monthly stipend for living expenses and housing is available. 

Wildlife Rehabilitation Externships

Each year the Wildlife Center admits about 2,500 patients – sick, injured, and orphaned wild animals in need of medical care. The wildlife rehabilitation externships give in-depth, hands-on experience in the field of wildlife rehabilitation. Lasting a minimum of 600 hours during a 12-week period, externships focus on animal husbandry, nutrition, capture and restraint methods, hand-feeding techniques for orphaned species, wildlife laws, and release criteria.

All applicants must be self-motivated individuals with a sincere interest in working with wildlife and the ability to enthusiastically work long hours. Attention to detail, punctuality, initiative and a strong desire to learn are required, as well as at least two years of college or equivalent prior animal experience. Pre-exposure rabies vaccination is required and series must be completed prior to start date.

Externs are supervised by permitted Certified Wildlife Rehabilitators and training includes both practical experience and didactic lectures and readings. Externs are encouraged to research a topic related to wildlife rehabilitation and present this information to staff through a written paper and brief oral project upon completion of the externship.

Externship positions are offered year-round and every season offers a variety of species that require rehabilitation. Spring externs who start their 12-week program between January and April will spend a large amount of time hand-feeding healthy orphaned squirrels, opossums, cottontails, and raptors. In our busiest season from May to August, summer externs will concentrate on the labor-intense task of raising baby passerines and bats as well as bottle-feeding and browsing for fawns. Fall is raptor season and externs who start between September and December will flight condition birds of prey in addition to raising orphaned mammals. Externs in every season will work with an assortment of injured reptiles, mammals, and birds in various stages of recovery from injury; they will also provide daily care of our education ambassadors.

For more information, please read our Wildlife Rehabilitation Externship description. Check out the adventures and photographs of some of our former externship students in the class of 2017,  class of 2016class of 2015, and class of 2014. Join the class of 2018

Download an application herePlease email rehab@wildlifecenter.org with any questions.

Application deadlines: Fall externships, July 1; Spring externships, November 15; Summer externships, February 1. Email applications preferred.

Wildlife Rehabilitation Internship

Each year, the Wildlife Center of Virginia offers a 7.5-month advanced training program in wildlife rehabilitation. To be considered for the Wildlife Rehabilitation Internship, successful completion of the Wildlife Rehabilitation Externship within the last three years is required. Through this training program, the intern gains intensive, hands-on training and experience in the field of wildlife rehabilitation, focusing on animal nutrition, husbandry, feeding techniques, capture and restraint methods, release criteria, captive animal behaviors, and natural history.

The intern also learns medical skills from staff veterinarians, including bandaging, medical math, fluid therapy, zoonotic diseases, and other subjects pertinent to wildlife rehabilitation. The intern is responsible for training and supervising Wildlife Rehabilitation Externs. This opportunity enables the intern to develop leadership, public relations, and educational outreach skills. The intern will also have the opportunity to sit for the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council's (IWRC) Certified Wildlife Rehabilitator (CWR) Examination.

The Wildlife Rehabilitation Internship is an unpaid training position. A monthly stipend for living expenses is offered. Housing is provided at the Wildlife Center of Virginia's student house in Waynesboro.

This internship typically starts in the early spring. When this position is open, a job announcement will be emailed to those who have successfully completed the Wildlife Rehabilitation Externship within the last three years.

Join us in making a real difference in wildlife conservation and the environment.

The Wildlife Center also offers education outreach externships. Please visit our Volunteer page for information about other ways to get involved.