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In order to become a veterinarian what would i have to major in when i go to college and how long would it take?

I am Leelah and I attend Hillcrest. I’m currently in the 11th grade.I have always known what my career in life would be based on what I am very passionate about which is animals. My first question is in order to become a veterinarian what do I have to major in when i go to college.My second question is with what would i have to major while at college to become a veterinarian. How long would it take fulfil this major and become a veterinarian? #veterinarian

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Lisa’s Answer

Leelah - These are some great questions! I'd like to start by saying that there are a lot of different ways that you could pursue a career as a veterinarian. The American Veterinary Medical Association is one of the leading organizations in the United States that provides information on the veterinarian career and vet school. This page on their website, Veterinary School Admission 101, is very helpful: https://www.avma.org/resources-tools/careers/veterinary-school-admission-101

One specific part of the website above that I'd like to highlight says "You don't have to be a pre-vet major to get into vet school – you just need to get the prerequisite coursework completed and do well." What this means is that you can get into vet school with any major in college as long as you have taken the specific classes that are required as pre-requisites for the vet schools you hope to apply to. To find out what these classes are, you will need to visit the individual websites of those schools. My personal advice would be to choose a major that you enjoy and that can allow you to get good grades because your GPA is a part of your vet school admissions.

To answer your question about how long it would take, the traditional college degree completion timeline is 4 years. Most college degrees require the completion of 120 credits, which students earn by taking classes, and the average class is worth 3 credits. So, the 4 year timeline is based on taking an average of 15 credits (5 3-credit classes) for 8 semesters or 4 years. This can vary, though, depending on the school you attend and your personal preferences.

The last thing I'll mention is that there are other careers that involve animals. So, if you decide that vet school isn't really the path you want to take, there are other options. This article has a list of examples: https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/working-with-animals-coolest-jobs/
Thank you comment icon This really helped thank you so much Leelah
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Elizabeth F’s Answer

Lisa's answer is very helpful and has some good first steps. As she said, you can be accepted to veterinary school with any major. People successfully become veterinarians with undergraduate degrees in everything from Pre-vet or biology to journalism, sociology, and fine arts!

Every veterinary admissions committee is different, but they are all made up of veterinary faculty, who are scientists and veterinarians. In general, your science GPA counts for more than your overall GPA so will it is important to get good grades in the courses you like, non-science GPA won't carry you if your science GPA isn't great. Also important is seeing that you can successfully complete a full courseload - so a 4.0 GPA for a courseload of 8-10 units might help less than a 3.6 GPA for 16 units.

Each of the vet schools will have a slightly different set of prerequisite courses. There would usually be a significant amount of overlap between their lists, but if you can identify a few schools that interest you, you can focus on the prerequisite courses that will work for those schools.

As to how long it can take, the traditional route is highlighted above, but some people also get most of their general ed/lower division course done at the community college level and then transfer to finish up. This is totally acceptable if it works for you, as long as you have all of the prerequisites completed in courses that are accepted by the vet schools you are applying to (you can check with the individual vet schools' admissions offices about specific courses)

Also really important in your application will be experience in the veterinary field enough to show an understanding of the profession - even better if that experience is spread over several different aspects of the veterinary profession (ie small animal/large animal/wildlife, or private practice/shelter/public health/research/food inspection). This can be hard to get in the best of times due to insurance etc, but is even more challenging now in the curbside service world. This is something you can try to start getting now.

Elizabeth F recommends the following next steps:

Check the AVMA's Veterinary School Admission 101: https://www.avma.org/resources-tools/careers/veterinary-school-admission-101
Get acquainted with various veterinary schools and look at their specific prerequisites (usually on the admissions office/prospective students web pages)
Work on finding practical experience inthe veterinary field
Make sure that you pick an undergrad institution that will work for you - it will be a long 2-4 years if it's not the right fit!
Best of luck!
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Sharool’s Answer

There are 30 veterinary schools accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) in the U.S. There were nearly 6,800 applicants competing for approximately 2,700 openings in 2013. In other words, it is very competitive to gain admission to a veterinary school.

https://vbs.psu.edu/undergraduate/resources/steps-to-becoming-a-veterinarian
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