To become a Marine Mammal Veterinarian, you need as much experience working with animals, or vets, as you can (marine mammals, if you can. try volunteering at a marine mammal stranding center); go to college to take care of pre-vet requirements; go to vet school (one that at least has a teaching hospital for exotic animals, and/or one that has a residency/internship/externship with marine mammals); after vet school see about an internship, get an advanced degree, or find a job.
I hope the links below will be helpful.
How to become a marine mammal veterinarian:
To become a marine mammal veterinarian, follow the basic curriculum and schooling of other veterinarians, but try to gain practical experience with marine mammals by volunteering at an oceanarium or zoo. A few veterinary schools are developing specialized course work in the area of exotic animal medicine, including marine mammals. For more information, contact the American Veterinary Medical Association and the International Association for Aquatic Animal Medicine.
How Do I Get Into Aquatic Animal Medicine?
Advice and words of wisdom compiled and adapted from various responses by various IAAAM Board Members…
Welcome to the wonderful world of aquatic animal medicine! Just by asking your question you have joined a diverse group of people with interests in better understanding and caring for the oceans, lakes, rivers, streams and ponds that cover over 70?f our globe’s surface and the countless creatures that inhabit them. Humankind has left tire tracks on the planet Mars in our search for water- - the most essential nutrient. And the Hubble telescope has given us glimpses of the far reaches of space and time- - but we have yet to visit the deepest realms of the earth’s most precious aquatic environs. So keep asking those questions and enjoy the ride. Even the Hubble has been visited by an IAAAM member - a marine mammal veterinarian turned astronaut. Who knows where the journey may take you?
Unfortunately, there probably is no straight-forward or typical answer to achieving a career in aquatic or marine mammal medicine. First, no veterinary college has a comprehensive program for specializing in aquatic or marine mammal medicine. Most veterinary colleges (which is typically four years of dog, cat, cow, and horse medicine) sometimes have a sprinkling of non-domestic species classes that may include poultry, pet birds, lab animals, pocket pets, amphibians, reptiles, fish and sometimes marine mammals. After graduation the options are numerous, and include additional graduate work in fish or marine mammal medicine, private practice, or even a job at a facility with aquatic animals (though rarely does a new veterinary graduate get this type of position right away).
Another option is to gain a year or two of hands-on private practice, and then apply for one of the internships in aquatic medicine that are available at a variety of facilities across the country. These include internships at places such as the National Aquarium in Baltimore (marine mammal, amphibians and fish), Mystic Aquarium (marine mammal and fish), Florida Aquarium (marine mammal and fish), The California Marine Mammal Center (all marine mammal), Delta Extension and Research Center (mainly catfish), or Prince Edward Island University in Canada (mostly fish and shellfish), etc.
In the mean time, we would suggest that you get as much education and practical experience along the way as possible. This might involve volunteering at aquariums, rehabilitation facilities, research labs, or aquatic animal facilities.
Finally, you may find useful the following publication put out by the U.S. Government (in print and on the Web) which gives lots of information on the future of particular careers and includes salary projections. Keep in mind that there will be listings for generic titles such as marine biologist or veterinarian, but very specific titles are not listed. This resource is usually kept in the Reference collection of all libraries. It's called the "Occupational Outlook Handbook". The Web version (and a quarterly update) is located at http://stats.bls.gov/ocohome.htm)http://www.marinecareers.net/faqs.html
Q. I am researching a career in marine veterinary medicine. I was wondering if you have any information on this career?
A. The field of marine or aquatic veterinary science is certainly an exciting and growing field! We are in the process of profiling an aquatic vet on our website. Check out the following links to explore more about the field, colleges that offer programs to prepare students for this field, and professional organizations for aquatic veterinarians.
If you wish to do your own web searches, I'm sure you'll find even more sites. Search for veterinary science or aquatic animals science.
Cornell University’s Aquavet Program
Publication: "Strategies for Pursuing a Career in Marine Mammal Science"
Association of Zoos and Aquaria
University of Maine
Tufts University (listing of cooperative programs in veterinary science)
University of California, Davis