Professional Certificate in Shelter Medicine
Exposure to a Cross-Section of Opportunities

Certificate programs are unique to the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine. The Professional Certificate in Shelter Medicine is one of five specialized certificates offered, joining other intensive programs in Food Animal Medicine, Aquatic Animal Health, Veterinary Business Management, and the One Health initiative.

Our shelter medicine program exposes students to a cross‐section of opportunities in the field of shelter medicine including:

  • Care of sheltered animals
  • Animal infectious disease or disaster management
  • Cruelty investigation and forensics
  • Shelter animal behavior and welfare
  • High‐quality high‐volume sterilization surgery
  • Research in shelter medicine

This Certificate is not just for students who plan for careers in animal shelters. Every private practitioner will see shelter pets in their practices when brought in by local shelters, nonprofit rescue groups, and foster families for medical care. Additionally, shelter pets are one of the most common sources of new pets in the US, with potential adopters able to select from roughly 6 million dogs and cats that find themselves in the shelter system each year.

Certificate Overview

As easy as 3-2-1! The 15-credit program requires completion of 3 online courses (9 credits), 2 externships (4 credits), and 1 clerkship, a.k.a. clinical rotation (2 credits). Students at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine who successfully complete this intensive program of study in Shelter Medicine in tandem with their DVM will earn the Professional Certificate in Shelter Medicine. The Certificate indicates readiness to practice in this rewarding field and is an internationally recognized credential.

Fees & Financial Assistance

The Professional Certificate in Shelter Medicine is made possible by a grant from Maddie’s Fund and individual donors who are passionate about the training of future veterinarians in animal welfare.

  • Tuition: All of the courses required to complete the Certificate in Shelter Medicine are included in veterinary student block tuition.
  • Fear Free Certification: Certification fees are waived for UF veterinary students and veterinary technician students.
  • Association of Shelter Veterinarians: Students will pay a discounted $10 student membership fee when joining this professional association.
  • Externships/Travel: Funds to support student travel to externships and shelter consultations are available by application.
  • Scholarships: Several scholarships are awarded each year to students who demonstrate extraordinary commitment to the improvement of the lives of sheltered and homeless animals through the study and advancement of Shelter Medicine.