Preceptorship Program

When Will the Preceptorship Take Place?

The program runs for 7 weeks from June 18th through August 7th

When is the Deadline for Applications?

Deadline for Applications and Resume is February 21st

When Will I Know If I've Been Accepted?

Decisions will be announced by April 10th

Vet walking yellow lab outside

Two vets examining a puppy

How do I Apply?

Students interested in applying for a preceptorship opportunity can submit queries and application materials attention Veterinary Technician Preceptorship Committee at Incomplete applications will not be considered.

All Applications Must Include:

  1. Cover Letter
  2. Resume
  3. Application indicating three specialty areas of interest
  4. Recommendation Letter

An interview will be required either in person, Skype, or by phone if the previously mentioned is unattainable.

The amount of hands-on experience may be limited on some clinical rotations as Cornell must first meet the practical experience requirements of its residents, interns and students. Throughout the preceptor program, all preceptors will be exposed to a variety of cases and learning opportunities, using observation techniques when hands-on work is not possible. Although it is our intent to offer the most complete experience possible, we cannot guarantee fulfillment of all check off items listed on the student's task list.

Each three-week rotation will offer preceptors opportunities to work closely with a team of staff and students in a fast-paced, high-volume environment.

Vet walking old lab during an examination

What are the Rotations?


  • Small Animal Surgery

    Preceptors rotating through the Small Animal Surgery section will be exposed to a variety of surgical cases with either soft tissue or orthopedic conditions. Preceptors will learn proper aseptic techniques, instrument identification, proper instrument care/preparation, and sterilization methods.

     They will shadow and assist the surgical technicians in their daily routines which include: 

    • Receiving surgical appointments and getting patient histories
    • Helping restrain and assisting with physical exams, bandage changes, etc.
    • Scheduling  pre-operative exams for blood work, sedation, radiology, ultrasound, CT, MRI
    • Helping set-up operating rooms and assisting in surgery

  • Small Animal Anesthesia

    The small animal anesthesia department coordinates, creates plans for, and performs anesthesia for orthopedic surgeries, soft tissue surgeries, ophthalmologic surgeries, neurology surgeries, MRIs, CT scans, endoscopies, dentistry procedures, and others. Primarily, preceptors will observe pre-medication, induction, maintenance of inhalant anesthesia, and recovery. Preceptors may have the opportunity to assist LVTs and residents with tasks such as:

    • Creating an anesthetic plan (look up history, bloodwork, physical exam, choose drugs, etc)
    • Helping calculate drug dosages and drawing up drugs
    • Helping pre-medicate, place IV catheter, induce, intubate, administer inhalant anesthesia, and recover patient
    • Helping place monitors on the patient and recording information on the anesthesia record
    • Restraining patients for physical exams, pre-medication, and IV catheter placement.

  • Ophthalmology

    On the ophthalmology service, preceptors will be able to observe surgeries and assist LVTs with appointments. Common procedures on this service include cataract surgery, lens luxations, nictitan gland replacements, laser pexy, ERG, and others, primarily on small animals. Preceptors will be able to sit in on rounds or short lectures with the students. Some tasks the preceptor may perform include:

    • Restraining patients for examinations, medications, and blood draws
    • Administering medications, such as eye drops
    • Drawing blood
    • Setting up equipment for procedures

  • Medical & Radiation Oncology

    Medical Oncology is a fast-paced service where you will see firsthand diagnostics, staging, treatment planning, treatment and monitoring of our cancer patients. Medical Oncology is a service where you will have many opportunities for hands on experience.  This service will best suit a motivated interactive individual.

    Medical Oncology Expectations:
    • Helping hold patients for exams, blood collections, catheter placements, chemotherapy administration, etc.
    • Blood collection (jugular and peripheral)
    • Catheter placement for sedation and fluid administration
    • Basic animal care (walking, feeding, nail trims, etc.)
    • Understanding proper chemotherapy handling
    • Observing Melanoma vaccines, fine needle aspirates, cytology, etc
    • Client communication

Medical Oncology is a service where you will have many opportunities for hands on experience.  This service will best suit a motivated interactive individual.

Radiation Oncology:  Radiation is a treatment therapy for some types of cancer. The patients need to be under general anesthesia in order to be immobilized for treatment. The technician’s roles include anesthetizing the patient and performing the radiation treatment. Preceptors will observe IV catheter placement, induction by injectable anesthesia, placement of endotracheal tubes, patients maintained under general anesthesia, anesthesia recovery, port films, patient positioning, radiation planning and radiation side effects.  If the patient is stable, the preceptor may be able to assist in the process.

  • Small Animal Internal Medicine

    Internal medicine’s role in the hospital is to take over or receive patient transfers from ER, receive stable patients via appointments, and perform procedures.  The patients are usually seen for either acute organ injuries (i.e. fatty liver, leptospirosis infection, etc.) or for chronic disease processes (i.e. IBD, Cushing's, diabetes, etc.).  The patients usually require ultrasounds and full blood work at the minimum.  Common procedures done on internal medicine are: FNA's (blind and ultrasound guided), joint taps, bone marrow aspiration, CT, rhinoscopy, cystoscopy, endoscopy (upper, lower, foreign body removals), laparoscopic liver biopsies, skin biopsies, esophagostomy tube placement, gastric feeding tube placement, balloon dilation, among others. Preceptors may have the opportunity to assist with:

    • Blood collection, IV catheter placement, or cystocentesis
    • Restraining patients
    • Setting up for procedures
    • Assisting with procedures
    • Administering sedation and monitoring sedated/anesthetized patients
    • Processing laboratory samples

  • Exotics:

    The exotics department performs a variety of functions, from routine physical exams to surgical procedures on exotic patients such as rabbits, rodents, reptiles, and birds. While on exotics, preceptors can expect to observe handling and restraint of various species, client communication, blood collection, medication administration, sedation/anesthesia, surgical procedures, radiographs, and other various procedures. Preceptors should be aware that they may only be able to observe on this rotation, as some patients become stressed easily or are critical. If possible, preceptors may be able to participate in tasks such as:

    • Blood collection and quick assessment tests
    • Assisting with anesthesia, radiology and surgical procedures
    • Assisting with subcutaneous fluids, oral medications, and injections
    • Feeding patients and other patient care
    • Maintaining cleanliness of facility and restocking of area

  • Community Practice Service

    Community Practice Service (CPS) operates similarly to an independent general practice. The preceptor on this rotation will observe physical exams, vaccinations, surgeries such as spays and neuters, blood tests, and referrals. While on CPS, preceptors may be able to participate in tasks such as:

    • Restraining for physical exams
    • Blood collection
    • Vaccinating
    • Assisting LVTs prepare for surgeries
    • Observing anesthesia protocols


  • Large Animal Internal Medicine

    Internal Medicine is a fast-paced emergency type environment with many opportunities for hands on learning. Preceptor is expected to know basic handling of all species, able to take direction and be a highly motivated person. Preceptors will experience handling during catheter placement, ultrasound, and examinations of horses, cows, camelids, pigs, sheep, and goats.

    Preceptor Medicine Expectations:
    • Helping set up for appointments and hold patients for exams
    • Helping students with treatments
    • Assisting with drawing blood, placing catheters and administering medications
    • Delivering blood to the lab, and knowing reasons for submitting certain tests
    • Participating in service rounds

  • Large Animal Surgery

    The large animal surgery service works with multiple types of farm animals such as horses, cows, goats, pigs, and sheep in need of soft tissue or orthopedic surgeries.  Soft tissue surgeries include castrations, mass removals, hernia repairs, and others. Horses commonly present for throat and upper airway surgeries. Orthopedic surgeries include fracture repairs, arthroscopies, screw placements, and a multitude of others.

    Preceptor Surgical Skill Expectations:
    • Prepare a surgery suite and induction room
    • Identify surgical equipment, learn proper way to open surgery packs
    • Learn proper gowning and gloving techniques
    • Basic understanding of instrument care, cleaning, and sterilization of packs
    • Assisting in induction, surgery suite, and scheduling of surgeries
    • Helping with cleaning and stocking of surgery area

  • Large Animal Anesthesia

    Large animal anesthesia LVTs sedate and/or anesthetize horses, cattle, alpacas, llamas, pigs, goats, sheep, and the occasional exotic/large wildlife animals for a variety of procedures. Preceptors will observe IM injections, IV catheter placement, premedication, induction, maintenance, ventilation techniques for large animals, and recovery of patients. Preceptors may have the opportunity to assist LVTs and residents with tasks such as:

    • Administering IM and IV injections
    • Placing IV catheters and arterial catheters
    • Assisting with induction and intubation
    • Placing monitoring equipment on patient
    • Operating the anesthesia machine and syringe pumps
    • Keeping an anesthetic record
    • Assisting with extubation and patient recovery

Shelter Program

Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Service

The Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program is a multi-faceted service which provides direct and consultative care for animals in animal shelters.  The goal for the student on this rotation is to get an overview of daily and weekly shelter operations in a limited admission, no-kill shelter in a rural area; to learn procedures and skills common to veterinary technicians in animal shelters and rescue organizations. 

Daily, hands on, clinical work and learning will include, but are not limited to, infectious disease recognition and management; high quality, high volume spay-neuter, dentistry, and other anesthetic procedures of primarily cats, dogs and rabbits; intake, wellness, transport, and adoption processes and protocols; sanitation and disinfection; shelter data management; public health and humane education; behavior assessments and safe handling techniques for cats, dogs, and small mammals.  Observation of euthanasia and necropsy techniques, along with forensic exams are case dependent. The daily schedule will include clinical work, shelter rounds, and scheduled online learning. 

Please note, this rotation will require the student to have their own transportation to and from the Tompkins County SPCA, located approximately 5 miles from the Cornell Campus at 1640 Hanshaw Road.  This is important as the SPCA is the primary teaching facility for the service, and where the majority of clinical work and learning takes place.