Academic Year Program

What You Need to Know About the Clinical Volunteer Program

The Wildlife Medical Clinic (WMC) is a nonprofit, volunteer-operated, donation-funded clinic within the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

Teams of volunteers under the supervision of the Medical Director, the WMC veterinary intern, two student managers, and team leaders, are responsible for the intake, care, and release of all animals admitted to the clinic. Volunteers in their second and third year of veterinary school with one or more years of experience in the WMC act as team leaders.

Teams consist mostly of veterinary and pre-veterinary student volunteers. Team size varies year-to-year, around twelve to fifteen members.  Volunteers must sign up for a minimum of 2 treatment shifts a week, 1 orphan feeding shift, and 1 on-call pager shift per week.  These required shifts add up to about 5-10 total hours in the clinic per week, but volunteers are always encouraged to sign up for more than the minimum to gain more experience. Volunteers sign up for shifts that work best with their schedules, so there is usually quite a bit of flexibility.

Non-veterinary students at the University of Illinois will be considered on a space-available basis, during a specific application timeframe (detailed below), and following an application and interview process. Working in the WMC is a privilege and a serious responsibility; please consider this when applying.

What You Need to Know About the Ambassador Animal Volunteer Program

The Wildlife Medical Clinic cares for several native and non-native ambassador animals. These animals serve as representatives of their species and provide the public a chance to learn about our amazing native wildlife in an up-close setting. You can learn more about our current ambassador animals here! If you are part of a group that is interested in an educational event with us, click here!
The Wildlife Ambassador program allows Wildlife Medical Clinic members and undergraduate students to work closely with our permanent ambassador animals allowing them to gain knowledge in animal husbandry and behavior. This provides veterinary and pre-veterinary students hands-on educational opportunities that are usually not provided in the didactic curriculum.  Student volunteers are the primary caretakers and trainers for our ambassador animals. They build their skills in reptile and raptor handling, as well as learn how to provide enrichment to captive species. 
During the school year, each ambassador team member is assigned one day a week to work with and care for individual ambassador animals. Volunteers typically begin as trainees and reptile caretakers and they are gradually able to move up to working with our birds of prey if they desire. Volunteers are expected to feed, clean, and exercise or train their assigned animals, as well as assist with general maintenance tasks in the ambassador room. All volunteers are expected to attend a monthly meeting that is generally held on Sunday evenings
The program requires a weekly time commitment of approximately two hours for trainees, reptile caretakers, and single bird handlers. All volunteers are expected to attend at least one public outreach event during each semester, and mentors (more senior volunteers) are expected to attend two.  These events are the core of what we do as a program: educating the public about wildlife.

Qualification & Requirements

Application and Requirements to Apply:

Must be a University of Illinois student in good standing

University regulations require that the applicant be associated with the University of Illinois by being a student, faculty, or staff member.

Must have a current rabies vaccination

All volunteers must complete a full set of rabies vaccinations prior to beginning work in the WMC (series of 3 vaccinations). Volunteers must maintain rabies vaccination currency during their entire tenure at the WMC. Proof of vaccination must be on file in the clinic prior to being assigned to a team. A rabies vaccination titer is highly recommended following completion of the rabies vaccination series.

The rabies vaccination series can be completed through the University of Illinois Mckinley Health Services. Additional information can be found at:

We understand that some students may have financial constraints, so we will allow students to submit all other application materials first, receive conditional approval, and then begin their rabies series. Our deadlines provide applicants enough time to complete all requirements before the beginning of each semester.

Must submit a letter of recommendation

Letters of recommendation should focus on animal experience, leadership and management skill, and maturity. The letter should be from an individual familiar with your interest in and experience with animals.

Must submit an updated resume and personal statement

Your resume should reflect previous animal-related experience and interest in veterinary medicine and/or wildlife. A brief personal statement (less than one page) should outline your motivation and goals for volunteering at the WMC.

Must have a method of transportation to the WMC

A personal automobile is preferred due to the immediacy associated with on-call duty. In the absence of a personal automobile, bus access is acceptable. Bicycles as a primary mode of transportation are not recommended due to winter weather conditions.

When to Apply

The deadline for volunteer applications is approximately two months preceding the start of the academic school year in July. It is necessary to complete the online application form (Click here to apply) and submit one letter of recommendation along with a resume and personal statement to to complete your application.

Application Deadline

The Fall 2019 Academic Year Application opens June 14th, 2019 and closes July 15th, 2019.

Interviews & Orientation

Applicants will be contacted and provided a status no later than one week following the application deadline. Applicants are required to attend an interview, after which the volunteers for that year will be selected within the week. If the applicant is not able to be on campus for the interview, a Skype interview will be provided as an option.

Volunteers will need to attend a generalized clinic orientation. After orientation, volunteers will be assigned to a WMC team. Team leaders are responsible for further orientation and team integration of the new undergraduate member.

Policy waivers

The Medical Director may waive any policy set forth in this document and may delegate waiver authority for specific items to the Student Managers.

Waiver requests for specific policies set forth in this document should be forwarded to the Medical Director, in writing, via the Student Managers.

Requirements to Stay a Volunteer once Accepted

Must complete the minimum number of required shifts per week

Volunteers must sign up for a minimum of 2 treatment shifts a week, 1 orphan feeding shift, and 1 on-call pager shift per week.  These required shifts add up to about 5-10 total hours in the clinic per week, but volunteers are always encouraged to sign up for more than the minimum to gain more experience. Volunteers sign up for shifts that work best with their schedules, so there is usually quite a bit of flexibility.

Must attend rounds once a week

WMC rounds are held in the Large Animal Clinic, Room 100 (LAC 100) each Wednesday of the academic year, from 12:00pm to 12:50pm, unless otherwise noted. Make-up rounds are also held weekly for those with an excused absence from regular scheduled rounds.  Time and day of make-up rounds are TBA at the beginning of each semester. Attendance at rounds or make-up rounds is mandatory for all volunteers. Chronic failure to attend rounds is grounds for removal from a WMC team.

Must attend a team meeting once a week

Each WMC team holds a team meeting once a week, based on a time that the entire team votes on to ensure all members can attend the meetings.  These meetings contain valuable information that are specific to the team, its patients, and its members, so it is mandatory that these meetings are attended.