What Are the Education Requirements to Be a Veterinarian?
Do you want a career that involves helping pets, farm animals, and zoo animals live happy, healthy lives? If so, you may be interested in pursuing a career in veterinary medicine. Read on to learn about the education needed to become a veterinarian. Schools offering Veterinary Food Inspection degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
To become a veterinarian, you'll need to complete several years of education and training. You'll need to earn a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree and obtain a license. Many DVM graduates also choose to continue their training through internships and residency programs.
Earning a bachelor's degree can improve your chances of gaining admittance to veterinary college; however, some veterinary schools admit applicants who have a certain number of undergraduate credits, rather than a bachelor's degree. Commonly required courses include animal biology, microbiology, animal nutrition, zoology, and systemic physiology. The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges recommends contacting the veterinary college you want to attend to ensure you've completed all required coursework (www.aavmc.org).
Veterinary College Admission
Entrance into veterinary college is highly competitive. In addition to high grades and letters of recommendation, prior experience working with veterinarians or scientists could give you an advantage over other applicants. Depending on the school, you must also gain an acceptable score on the Medical College Admission Test, Veterinary College Admission Test, or Graduate Record Examination.
Earning your Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree typically takes four years of study after undergraduate school. Coursework is divided between classroom lectures, laboratory sessions, and clinical studies. You can expect to take courses like infectious diseases, immunology, pharmacology, and parasitology. In the final year, you'll spend most of your time completing clinical rotations in various specialties of veterinary medicine.
Licensing and Postgraduate Training
After earning a DVM degree, you'll need to obtain a license by passing the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination. Other licensing requirements are determined by individual states. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), many graduates also choose to complete a one-year internship after earning their license to gain experience in the field. If you're interested in practicing in a specialty of veterinarian medicine, you may consider completing a three to four year residency program and becoming board-certified.
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