Apprenticeships

Our Approach to Apprentice Education and Experience:

As the human population expands and environmental changes affect habitats, the role of wildlife rescue and rehabilitation will continue to grow. Due to the highly specialized skill set required for full-time employment in wildlife rehabilitation and animal care, most paid positions require several years of hands-on experience. To help meet this need for experienced caretakers, Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation has developed apprenticeship programs that are catered to different experience levels so that individuals can begin to develop or continue to build their skills in wildlife rescue and animal care.

Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation is looked to as a model for wildlife rehabilitation nationally and internationally. Completing a six month apprenticeship at either our San Antonio or Kendalia locations will give an individual the skills and knowledge they will need to apply for permanent positions or graduate and professional schools. WRR programs are challenging and will test an individual’s strengths and weaknesses emotionally and physically. Wildlife rehabilitation requires hard work and dedication. Some seasons demand long hours. However, through this experience, apprentices will create new passions, narrow down career paths, and be a part of a family-like community. Take advantage of this short but great opportunity! For more information on the details and requirements for each program, please visit our Careers page HERE.

Intro to Wildlife Rehabilitation Apprenticeship:

Want to learn what Wildlife Rehab is all about or continue to develop your animal care skills? For recent college graduates or individuals looking to explore a career in wildlife rehabilitation, WRR offers an Intro to Wildlife Rehabilitation Apprenticeship program. Apprentices in this program complete six weeks of combined classroom and hands-on practical training to learn the natural history, diets, enclosure setups, and care protocols of many of the most common native species we see including small mammals, songbirds, fawns, waterfowl, and turtles. Individuals will be introduced to basic sanctuary animal nutrition by preparing daily diets for a variety of large carnivores and primates. As handling and observational skills improve, apprentices will also have the opportunity to care for our No Harm Farm sanctuary animals, learning the basic levels of care for permanent resident livestock and many non-native birds, reptiles, and mammals. Great communication skills with both team members and with the public are an essential part of this program. Therefore, apprentices are also trained to respond to wildlife emergencies and assist with public education through our 24-Hour Wildlife Hotline.

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Advanced Wildlife Rehabilitation Apprenticeship:

The Advanced Wildlife Rehabilitation Apprenticeship follows a similar outline to the Intro program but continues to expand on knowledge and skills for more critical or sensitive animals in the hospital, including juvenile carnivores, porcupines, cottontails, shore birds and birds of prey. One of the most highly sought-after skills in Wildlife Rehabilitation is the ability to safely triage and stabilize an injured or orphaned animal on arrival. Advanced apprentices will learn how to correctly calculate and administer fluid therapy and pain medication, clean and dress wounds, and stabilize injuries until the animal can be assessed by the veterinarian. Leadership skills are required for this program as the advanced apprentice will assist with managing a team of staff, apprentices, and volunteers to complete a hospital shift. Advanced apprentices continue to develop the ability to work independently on a shift while increasing knowledge of domestic and non-native small animals in sanctuary. The Advanced Wildlife Rehabilitation program is also available for the Sherman Animal Care Complex in San Antonio. At this location, there is a greater focus on medical intake skills and public interaction. Less attention is given to sanctuary animal care as the Sherman Complex is primarily an admission clinic.

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Intro Veterinary Technician Apprenticeship:

Considering going to veterinary school or becoming a veterinary technician? The Intro Veterinary Technician Apprenticeship is an ideal program that allows individuals to gain fundamental knowledge of basic animal husbandry and also begin working with an experienced wildlife veterinary team. The Veterinary Technician Apprenticeship mimics the first six weeks of the Intro to Rehab program. However, after the initial training, the Veterinary Technician Apprentice will start transitioning into working full time with the veterinary staff. The apprentice will assist with procedures, complete lab work, learn about and administer medications used in wildlife rehabilitation, and obtain responsibilities of upkeep in the surgery suite and office.

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Advanced Veterinary Technician Apprenticeship:

For apprentices who have completed the Veterinary Technician Apprenticeship or who have previous experience, WRR offers an Advanced Veterinary Technician Apprenticeship. The Advanced Veterinary Technician Apprentice will have the opportunity to assist with more advanced procedures and potentially work with maintaining general health or emergency situations regarding the sanctuary animals.

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Wildlife Sanctuary Caretaker Apprenticeship:

Interested in a career caring for native and non-native animals in sanctuary? The Wildlife Sanctuary Caretaker Apprenticeship focuses on our No Harm Farm animals as well as our primates, large carnivores, non-native mammals, birds, and reptiles. This program combines classroom and hands-on training so that apprentices learn and understand the important observational skills and safety practices required for caring for animals in sanctuary. Due to the sensitive nature of these animals, the apprentice will work alongside the Sanctuary Manager at all times. This program is highly competitive and is designed for those who have focused their career on sanctuary animal care and have previous experience with large carnivores and primates. Successful completion of the Intro to Rehab program is also highly recommended for potential applicants considering this program.

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Companion Animal Welfare Apprenticeship:

Exploring a career in working with companion animal shelters? WRR offers a Companion Animal Welfare Apprenticeship program. The Companion Animal Welfare Apprenticeship mimics the first six weeks of the Intro to Rehab program. However, after the initial training, the Companion Animal Apprentice will start transitioning into working full time with the domesticated companion animals on property. This apprentice will be responsible for the daily feeds and cleans of cats, dogs, rabbits, ferrets, and guinea pigs. The Companion Animal Apprentice will also coordinate with the Above the Gate Supervisor to schedule adoption events and visits. Organizational and communicational skills are highly preferred due to the number of companion animals WRR houses along with the goal to provide foster or forever homes to eligible animals.

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Additional Details:

All of WRR’s apprenticeship programs are six months long and can be extended to meet an individual’s experience needs. Housing is provided for all apprentices along with a monthly stipend to be used for personal expenses. Each program requires the apprentices to complete a project by the end of their apprenticeship. This project is to not only demonstrate the knowledge and skills each apprentice has obtained at WRR and to reflect their career goals, but also to leave a legacy that improved an aspect of WRR. Evaluations at two month intervals determine the progression of an individual in his or her program. Evaluations are also used to develop project ideas and to assist apprentices in determining their potential career paths following completion of the apprenticeship program. After successful completion of a WRR apprenticeship, each apprentice will receive an Certificate of Completion and a reference from the Apprentice Program Supervisor and Training Specialist, Hospital Coordinator, or Director of Animal Operations.

How do I apply?

Applications for any of the apprenticeship programs are accepted year round. When applying, please indicate which program you are interested in.

Please send your resume, a letter of interest explaining why you would like to be considered for the program, and one professional letter of recommendation, to:

Mail: WRR Apprentice Program
PO Box 369
Kendalia, TX 78027

Email: education@wildlife-rescue.org

Fax: 830-336- 3733

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At Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation, we work tirelessly to rescue native wildlife in distress and return them to their natural habitats, and our apprentices are a large part of this mission.
Through our apprentice program, we not only save lives – but also educate the next generation of wildlife rehabilitators, veterinary technicians, conservationists and environmental educators.

Saving lives since 1977. Help us continue that effort. DONATE TODAY!