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What should I major in if I want to become a veterinarian? (What classes do I need to take to help me become a veterinarian?)

I like animals. I want to help them. I'm aware I'll see some crazy things like blood and broken bones. But I want to help animals. veterinarian veterinary-medicine student graduate

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Elizabeth’s Answer

Hello Ashly!

In general, most people get either a BA or BS prior to veterinary school. Some people do this by getting their general ed and lower division courses done at a community college, and then transferring to a 4-year college or university to complete the upper division courses, especially sciences. Some people do all of it at a 4-year institution, and others may elect to pursue some graduate work before applying to veterinary school.

You can major in almost anything, as long as you fulfill the prerequisites. The most important thing to consider is that the the coursework that you take must meet the requirements for the specific schools that you are interested in. Each admissions committee sets the requirements for their school. There is significant overlap, but some schools have more specific requirements than others. In addition, make certain that the courses that you take will actually count towards those requirements. (not all chemistry or physiology or statistics courses (just for a few examples) are created equal.

The AAVMC webpage is a good place to start. Then consider which veterinary schools you would consider applying to. Not every state has a veterinary school, and not every school has state funding so a combination of location, finances, and specific programs might factor into your decision. In MA, you are lucky to have Tufts which has a strong undergrad program and a great veterinary school. In addition, UMass has a good pre-vet curriculum. I've known a lot of veterinary students who went to UMass Amherst.

One thing to consider, that we often forget, is to think about what else interests you, and what kind of overall education do you want to have? If you pursue veterinary school, it's a long haul, and it may be a while before you have enough time to pursue other things that interest you, so there is nothing wrong with taking those interesting courses now, or even pursuing a double-major or an exchange program. (for instance, I doubled in Molecular Biology and French, and studied in France for a year, and I had a vet school classmate with a degree in Fine Arts. More recently, I've known students with degrees in everything from animal science to computer science to journalism and more!)

Elizabeth recommends the following next steps:
Think about which vet schools interest you and check out their requirements (via admissions office pages on their websites)
Check with your school counselors about undergrad options in your area

Thank you!!! :D Ashly G.

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Cameron’s Answer

There a quite a few schools out there that specialize in Pre-Vet and then others that do actual Vet school. Your major would be in animal sciences, but it would technically be a doctorate of veterinary medicine. I know that Kansas State University is a really big Veterinarian school, and they have really good reviews.

The classes that you would be taking would things like Animal Biology, Animal Sciences, basic general education courses, and then any specialization classes if you want to get really specific with your Veterinarian work. You can also take similar classes while you are in high school (I am guessing that you are).

Cameron recommends the following next steps:

Take animal science classes in high school
Research and reach out to various veterinarian programs
Possibly visit a college campus (or zoom call since we are in a pandemic) and talk with the heads of the programs about what to expect and tips

Thanks. :3 Ashly G.