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How would I go about becoming a veterinarian ?

I'm 16. I'll be graduating highschool in 2025 when I'm 17. I'd like to study veterinary science and eventually become a veterinarian. I don't know where to start though. What courses should I take? Were should I go to study? Should I settle for a vet tech? Should I pursue something else? I have no idea what I'm doing or who to talk to about what I should be doing to prepare.

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Maneet’s Answer

Hey Jack! It's fantastic that you've set your sights on a career in veterinary science. To kickstart your journey, concentrate on your high school studies, giving special attention to subjects such as biology and chemistry to establish a solid base. Participate in animal-related extracurricular activities and those connected to veterinary medicine. This will not only give you valuable hands-on experience but also show your dedication to this field. Start exploring colleges noted for their excellent veterinary programs, taking into account aspects like location, facilities, and hands-on learning opportunities. Stay updated on the admission criteria for veterinary schools, and think about gaining practical experience by working as a veterinary technician during your undergraduate studies. This will deepen your understanding of the field. Reach out to mentors and industry professionals for advice to help shape your journey and make well-informed decisions about your future. Stay committed and persistent, and you'll be well on your path to realizing your dream of being a veterinarian.
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Ivett’s Answer

Hi Jack,
It's great that you're thinking about your future career path! Here are some steps you can take to pursue a career in veterinary science:

1. High School Courses: Take science courses such as biology, chemistry, and physics to build a strong foundation. Math courses, such as algebra and statistics, will also be beneficial. Additionally, consider taking courses in English and communication to develop your writing and speaking skills.
2. College Preparation: Look for colleges or universities that offer pre-veterinary programs or majors in biology, animal science, or a related field. Make sure the program is accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).
3. Experience: Gain experience working with animals, such as volunteering at animal shelters, farms, or veterinary clinics. This will give you valuable hands-on experience and help you decide if this career path is right for you.
4. Undergraduate Education: Pursue a bachelor's degree in a relevant field, such as biology or animal science. Make sure to take courses in anatomy, physiology, microbiology, and other related subjects.
5. Veterinary School: After completing your undergraduate degree, you'll need to attend veterinary school. Veterinary programs typically take four years to complete, including classroom, laboratory, and clinical components.
6. Licensing and Certification: After graduating from veterinary school, you'll need to pass the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE) to become licensed to practice. Some states may also require additional exams or certifications.

As for whether to settle for a vet tech or pursue becoming a veterinarian ultimately depends on your interests, goals, and the level of responsibility you're comfortable with. Vet techs assist veterinarians in caring for animals and may perform tasks such as taking X-rays, administering medications, and providing nursing care. Becoming a vet tech can be a rewarding career or a stepping stone to becoming a veterinarian if you decide to pursue further education.
To get more guidance on your specific situation, consider talking to your high school guidance counselor, a career advisor, or a veterinarian in your area. They can provide valuable insight and help you plan your path toward becoming a veterinarian.
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