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Internship Accreditation FAQ

What is an internship?

An internship is a post-graduate, clinical training position, usually for one year, where veterinarians gain practical experience by rotating through various departments in the hospital or focus on a specific discipline.  The internship program should be designed to build confidence, communication, and skills to prepare veterinarians for high-quality service in practice or advanced specialty training. The main purpose should be to provide a sound educational program for the intern. The key to a successful internship is establishing a clear, mutual understanding of what is being provided and what is expected in return. 

What is the difference between an internship and a mentorship program?

The internship standards focus on establishing a clinical training position, usually for one year, where practical experience is gained by the veterinarian.  This can be a veterinarian right out of school looking to enhance his or her skills or a veterinarian who has been in practice for a while and is looking to specialize or enhance his or her skills in a specific discipline.

The mentorship program is intended for newly hired graduates and/or new associates, and is relationship-based.  Mentors help the new associate learn the ins and outs of what it’s like to work in your practice, helping him/her enhance his/her medical skills, fit into your practice culture, and to learn about your practice’s ethics and beliefs and how you treat patients and clients.  Providing a mentor program enhances productivity and the likelihood of a successful collaboration. 

Are the internship standards a required part of my evaluation?

No, they are completely optional.

When you access your online evaluation tool, you have the option to choose adding the internship standards if you are interested in seeing the standards and/or interested in pursuing internship accreditation. If you initially answer “yes” to the rule-out question but change your mind, contact your accreditation specialist to have the standards removed from your online evaluation tool.

Who can pursue internship accreditation?

To qualify, you must have at least one board-certified veterinarian on staff who supervises the interns, otherwise all practices achieving AAHA accreditation may choose the internship standards as an optional part of their evaluation. 

What are the benefits of internship?

Accreditation shows that you’ve taken that extra step to commit to the process and to build a sound program.  Internship accreditation from AAHA can help your practice attract the best internship candidates.  The AAHA Internship Accreditation Standards and accreditation can send a strong message to candidates that you’re serious about providing interns with an educational program allowing them to add to and enhance their skills. 

Why should I pursue the optional internship standards?

To qualify for internship accreditation, you must already have an active internship program in place.  If you’re interested in building an internship program for your practice, the internship standards provide a guide, or you can use them to enhance your current program.  Earning internship accreditation shows your practices commitment to continually growing and enhancing your investment in your practice, the veterinary profession, and your patients and clients. It will also help you recruit top intern candidates.

How do I access the internship standards?

If you are already an accredited member of AAHA, you can access the internship standards through your practice’s online evaluation tool by answering the rule-out questions, or you may view the AAHA Internship Accreditation Standards.

Why were the internship standards created?

AAHA recognizes that internships help develop, add to, and enhance veterinarian’s skills, and increase confidence, knowledge, and expertise, helping them become productive members of the veterinary team. AAHA supports continuous improvement in all forms, including internship programs that help veterinarians enhance career options and build successful professional futures, ultimately benefiting practices, pet owners, and patients as well as the veterinary profession. 

How much does it cost to add the internship standards?

At this time, there is no additional cost to add this section of the standards as part of your accreditation evaluation. You will achieve an additional, separate accreditation once you have passed the evaluation.

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