What is the career-path to become a veterinarian?
I've always wanted to be a vet, since kindergarten. I really love animals and I think being a veterinarian could be the perfect job for me. I know that it's very competitive and hard to get into. Do you have any tips? When it comes to education, I know that it takes years to become but how many different schools do you have to go to?
Veterinarians care for the health of animals and work to protect public health. They diagnose, treat, and research medical conditions and diseases of pets, livestock, and other animals.
■ HOW TO BECOME A VETERINARIAN ■
Veterinarians must have a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from an accredited veterinary college, as well as a state license. Veterinarians must complete a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM or VMD) degree at an accredited college of veterinary medicine. A veterinary medicine program generally takes 4 years to complete and includes classroom, laboratory, and clinical components.
Admission to veterinary programs is competitive. Applicants to veterinary school typically have a bachelor's degree in a field such as biology. Veterinary medical colleges typically require applicants to have taken many science classes, including biology, chemistry, and animal science. Most programs also require math, humanities, and social science courses.
Some veterinary medical colleges prefer candidates who have studied agriculture or have experience working with animals on a farm, at a stable, or in an animal shelter.
In veterinary medicine programs, students take courses on animal anatomy and physiology, as well as disease prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. Most programs include 3 years of classroom, laboratory, and clinical work. Students typically spend the final year of the 4-year program doing clinical rotations in a veterinary medical center or hospital.
■ LICENSES, REGISTRATIONS, AND CERTIFICATIONS ■
Veterinarians must be licensed in order to practice in the United States. Licensing requirements vary by state, but prospective veterinarians in all states must complete an accredited veterinary program and pass the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination.
In addition to passing the national exam, most states require that veterinarians pass a state licensing exam. However, veterinarians employed by state or federal government may not need a state license, because government agencies differ in what they require.
Each state’s exam covers its laws and regulations. Few states accept licenses from other states, so veterinarians usually must take exams for the states in which they want to be licensed.
The American Veterinary Medical Association has an Educational Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates (ECFVG) certification program, which allows foreign graduates to fulfill the educational prerequisites for licensure. . . Good luck to you on your journey!
Sheila recommends the following next steps:
Then you'd go to vet school. This is another 4 year program (generally). You'd have to pass some kind of board exam, which might be a multi-day test. Some vets then go on to do residencies or get additional degrees if they want to specialize.