How to Land a Job as a Locum Vet

There are a lot of reasons being a vet is a wonderful career. Days are spent mending the broken and ill, comforting their two-legged families, and making the world a little bit brighter. Veterinarians are able to work on many species from itty-bitty fish to giant elephants, and everything in between. Not only is the life of a vet pretty wonderful, but now with locum vet jobs out there, the blue skies are just looking bluer. Being a locum vet opens the door to new experiences, diverse staff, and even travel.

If you haven’t heard of locum vets before, you aren’t alone. Within the confines of every hospital there will come a time when staffing vets can a be a bit of a challenge. Small vet clinics may need to find temporary vets to fill in for maternity and paternity leave, illness, and vacations. It’s during these times that locum vets are called upon to assist the clinic. Locum vets are seasoned veterinarians who are able to apply their knowledge and experience in any setting. They can walk into a vet clinic and start working when the first patient arrives. They may not be familiar with the vet hospitals protocols, computer systems, or staff, but that doesn’t prevent them from being great vets.

There are a number of advantages to becoming a locum vet which is why it is a highly sought after position. Locum vets have the ability to create their own work schedules. They can choose if they work in certain cities or clinics. Many times traveling can be necessary and exciting for locum vets as they get to meet new people and see new places. Of course, working as a locum vet also brings in a higher salary.

With all of these benefits it’s no wonder that many veterinarians aspire to becoming locum vets. If you are wondering how to get your foot in the door we have some suggestions that should help you get started.
– Gain experience- you will need a lot of experience working with a variety of species. It is very rare for a brand new vet, fresh out of school, to land a job as a locum vet. Employers need to rely on your skill to treat any animal with any condition. Practice is the best way to be prepared.
– Get your paperwork in order- locum vets are for the most part self-employed. It is your responsibility to have your ABN, tax file number, and any insurance required by the state you are working in.
– Start small- if you aspire to be a locum vet, don’t quit your day job. To get your foot in the door you first need to prove to future employers that you are capable of being a locum vet. Connect with your colleagues and mentors to work a shift or two as opportunities present themselves. You may find that working with new staff and protocols is not your cup of tea.
– Stay connected- the best way to land a job as a locum vet is to keep in contact with your network. Let your past colleagues and friends know you are looking to expand your role. Remind them you can help when they express a need. If no one knows you are available, you won’t be the first person they call.
– Have references- keeping a list of past clinics and vets you have worked for will be immensely helpful. The vet world is a very small one, which means that most likely someone you have worked for in the past will know a future employer. A great letter or phone call from them could make all the difference in you landing that locum vet job.

Having a job as a locum vet is a great career move for many veterinarians. It’s also one of the toughest markets to crack, but with a little diligence and patients you can land that dream job.