Do you love animals and have a strong passion for science? If so, you may want to consider pursuing a career in veterinary medicine. This field is considered one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States. As per the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the employment for this job is expected to grow by 36 percent in the year 2020. So if you are planning to pursue this career, then read the best steps to becoming a veterinarian.
What is a Veterinarian?
A veterinarian provides various healthcare services for animals – from family pets to zoo animals. Like physicians and doctors, veterinarians use a comprehensive approach to promote the health and well-being of their patient pets. Typical duties include:
- Caring for injured and sick animals
- Performing medical tests
- Protecting number of animals from obtaining diseases
- Monitoring the condition of patient pets
Most vets work in private and hospital clinics, but some also practices in other settings like in research laboratories and animal food companies. Other veterinarians also travel in farms and other animal facilities to see and treat large animal patients, such as horses, whales and elephants.
Like other professionals, veterinarians also have an option to specialize in certain areas of veterinary medicine, those include:
- Exotic animal veterinarian
- Laboratory animal practice
- Food animal medicine
- Wildlife medicine
- General practice
Education Requirements For Veterinarian:
If you’re looking for ways to becoming a veterinarian, the first step is to earn a degree in Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. This is a four year program given to veterinary students. The coursework involves subjects related to animals and science, including anatomy, biochemistry, animal behavior,physics and pharmacology. The first two years of the course are mostly focused on studying the general principles of the subjects. The last two years of the course are focused on clinical training to work directly with animals.
While most veterinary schools require students to have a bachelor’s degree, there are some schools that do not require this to get accepted. However, you need to complete some college credits, such as classes in chemistry, physics, biology and math, as they are pre-requisite in the vet course.
Some schools also request scores from standardized tests to check your general ability and skills, such as the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) and Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). Other universities and schools may require additional requirements for you to get considered in the course. It is a good idea to contact the school you’d like to attend to get more information about the requirements needed.
It is important to note that there are only 28 veterinary schools accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) in the US. In other words, only a few slots are offered each year for students who want to get into vet school. With this limited slots, the competition for admission is truly intense.
Tips to increase your chance to get accepted:
- complete a bachelor’s degree in biological science or other science-related major.
- Complete prerequisite coursework in science, English, social sciences, mathematics and humanities.
- Participate or volunteer in veterinary programs and clubs.
- Obtain high scores in GRE and other standardized exams.
After completing the required course for veterinary, you must take and pass the North American Licensure Examination to get a license and practice your profession. The requirements for taking the exam may vary from state to state. But usually, only students who graduated from schools accredited by the AVMA are qualified to take the licensure examination.
Veterinarian as a Career:
After taking the required education and passing the licensure exam, you can already practice your profession as a certified veterinarian. There are great opportunities out there waiting for veterinarians, all you need to do is find the right one.
If you desire to increase your earnings and chances for better opportunities with further studies. The job opportunities for veterinarians are extremely great. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the employment in this career will skyrocket in the near future. So now that you already know that the steps to becoming a veterinarian, it’s time to set your sail and travel towards success!