Children begin forming career aspirations in elementary school, and in many cases, adults find themselves in careers that they decided on before 12 years of age.1–3 Tai et al 4 report that eighth-grade students who had an expectation of a career in the life sciences were nearly twice as likely to graduate with a baccalaureate degree in the life sciences as were others who did not have that early expectation. Preliminary research has shown that introducing young students to veterinary medicine through formal curricula and activity books can positively impact their attitudes toward and interest in science careers, increase their desire to study science in college, and influence their perceptions of veterinary medicine.5,6 And educational experts cite classroom visits by role models and opportunities for role-playing by students as important means for students to learn about careers and the educational requirements needed to attain their occupational choices.2,7.
Veterinarians and veterinary technicians are frequently invited to participate in career day activities at local schools or community centers. These presentations can provide an opportunity to encourage young students to pursue careers in the veterinary medical profession and provide information about the breadth of opportunities that the profession has to offer. But, for individuals who have not provided presentations in the past, accepting such an invitation can be intimidating. The present report was written by a team consisting of a veterinarian, elementary school teachers, and high school teachers and is intended to provide tips for veterinarians and veterinary technicians planning to visit classrooms or community centers to give career day presentations.