This site uses cookies to enhance your experience. By using our website you consent to our use of cookies.    Find out more   I Agree


Veterinary Training & Education

RZSS Veterinary Training


The RZSS has one of the UK’s most highly qualified in-house veterinary services and is committed to providing training and further education to the next generation of zoo veterinarians. Our veterinary team frequently lecture at UK veterinary schools and speak at both national and international conferences.

In 2013 the RZSS became the first certified UK training centre for the European College of Zoo Medicine (ECZM) diploma in Zoo Health Management and is currently one of just four such centres globally. The 3-year ECZM veterinary residency position provides a qualified veterinary surgeon the opportunity to become a specialist in the field of zoological medicine with the aim of achieving ECZM diplomat status.

In addition, the RZSS veterinary team annually host a select group of students from both the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies and the University of Glasgow, School of Veterinary Medicine as part of their final year clinical rotations. This is a rare opportunity for undergraduate veterinary students to achieve training in the highly specialised field of zoological medicine.

For further information on the work of our veterinary department within the RZSS parks, please see Veterinary Services.


Extra Mural Study at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo

Each year, a limited number of places are available for veterinary students to see-practice with the team at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo. While the nature of zoo clinical work is unpredictable, students may have the opportunity to observe and assist our veterinary team with their daily duties at the zoo including routine health examinations, implementing preventative medicine plans, and managing medical and surgical cases.

Further information for applicants:

* Students must be in their clinical years (fourth or fifth) of undergraduate study on a veterinary degree program; unfortunately we are unable to accept applications from school, college, or pre-clinical students.

* Placements are limited to a maximum of two weeks (availability is limited so please apply early).

* Students must make their own accommodation and travel arrangements for the duration of their placement.

* Applicants may be asked to attend a short interview prior to their placement.

Applications (including a CV and covering letter) should be made to Dr Simon Girling, Head of Veterinary Services to the RZSS (


I Want to be a Zoo Vet

I Want to be a Zoo Vet Nurse

Zoo veterinarians complete the same veterinary undergraduate training as those who work with domestic animals. After graduation significant additional training is then required to specialise into the zoological medicine field. For more information on becoming a veterinary surgeon, please see the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons website.

For more information on specialising in zoological medicine, please see the European College of Zoological Medicine website.

There are currently two routes to becoming a qualified veterinary nurse; either by vocational training or a higher degree. A few additional courses are also available to qualified nurses in order to gain training in exotic and zoo animals.

For more information on becoming a veterinary nurse, please see the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons website

For more information on specialising in exotic and zoo animal nursing, please see the City and Guilds Certificate in Veterinary Nursing of Exotic Species.