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How many years should it take to become a veterinarian ?

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Sheila’s Answer

Hello Britanny: It's awesome that you want to work with our furry four legged friends. In the United States, veterinary school is a four-year (4) degree program following undergraduate Bachelor’s degree level education (a total of 7 to 9 years: 3 to 5 years undergraduate plus four (4) years of veterinary school).

After graduating from veterinary school, many new graduates choose an additional year of general or specialty clinical training as interns. Some pursue 2 to 5 years of additional residency training leading to board certification and practice within a wide variety of medical or surgical specialties, such as neurology, cardiology, dermatology, orthopedic surgery, equine medicine, zoo medicine, etc.

Here are a few sites that I researched that could help you get started in the right direction:

How long do I need to go to veterinarian school?


How do I prepare for veterinary school? Is there a "good" major? What experience do I need?


Occupational Outlook Handbook


I wish you the best in your career to become a Veterinarian. Our furry friends need you. :)

Good Luck to You!

Sheila recommends the following next steps:

Research iwanttobeaveterinarian.org site http://iwanttobeaveterinarian.org/default.aspx?pid=5585&id=7789623
Research Occupational Outlook Handbook site. Make sure you follow the tabs on the site https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/veterinarians.htm
Bookmark all the links I've provided in my response

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Isaac’s Answer

There is a great need for good veterinarians. They all are not created equaly. Some are just out for your money and run every test even if its not needed. Having Veterinarian you can trust is half the battle when caring for our animals. If you are looking to make lots of money you should consider becoming a medical doctor for humans. Veterinarians make significantly less money. They put in the same amout of school and work just as hard to claim the title of a doctor.

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Mary’s Answer

It takes 8 years. 4 of under graduate work and 4 of vet school. That is if you get into vet school the first time you apply. Some do. Most people have to apply at least twice. Don't be discouraged by this! Just keep learning and apply the next year. Any work related to the career field will help, even volunteer work.

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Tania’s Answer

Hi Britanny,

I noticed you are in Jamaica. The veterinary school in your country in a 5 year program right out of secondary/high school. This is true for a lot of countries around the world.

Tania recommends the following next steps:

Visit the website for the University of West Indies: https://sta.uwi.edu/fms/vet/entry_requirements.asp
other schools in the Caribbean: https://veterinary.rossu.edu/dvm-program

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Monalisa’s Answer

IN BRAZIL It´s FIVE YEARS. I think in your country too... Good luck!

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Becka Walker’s Answer

Good Question! The usual course is 8 years, 4 in undergraduate school and 4 in veterinary school. If you want to be a specialist (oncologist, dermatologist, neurologist, etc) that will require additional schooling. My own path took 9 years because I also went to graduate school and earned a Master’s Degree while I was in vet school. Sometimes it takes a little longer because vet school is particularly difficult to get into. In that case people try over several years so they may take more schooling or courses, like earn a Master’s, prior to gaining admittance to vet school.

Becka Walker recommends the following next steps:

Look up veterinary school requirements and prerequisites
Be familiar with the expenses associated with veterinary education and have a plan to obtain loans
Be realistic about expenses versus salaries and be sure you are comfortable with the idea that you will not be traditionally “doctor wealthy” and will have debt to pay after salary.
Begin taking any prerequisite courses you can, aiming to make the highest grade you can

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Courtney’s Answer

You're looking at 8-10 years of college. First you'll need to get your Bachelor's degree. If you're really dedicated, you can get that done in 4 years (5 years if you need to retake classes). Then you apply to vet school to get your DVM (Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine). It will take you another 4 years to get your DVM (or 5 if you need to retake classes). After that, you'll have to pass the state licensing exam before you can start practicing.