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How to Become a Veterinarian

become a veterinarian

How to Become a Veterinarian

If you love animals and you plan to make a career out of it, there are chances that you want to know how to become a veterinarian. Becoming a veterinarian requires knowledge and experience, and that will only be possible after you have finished your studies in the field. But since that is very general, let us look at the more specific steps that you must take.

How to Become a Veterinarian

Actually, you have already taken the first step to becoming a veterinarian – that is your natural interest in animals. You are currently in step two, and that is knowing what it takes to become a vet.

So expect that you will study much about science and its branches such as chemistry and biology. And because you will deal with pet owners, you need to have good communication and interpersonal skills too. While you are still in high school, start researching for information that tells how to become a veterinarian.

Your previous step involves getting good grades in high school. Always do well in science subjects, perform your best in SAT and get a GPA that is above average. This way, you are getting yourself equipped for your future profession. However, part of knowing how to become a veterinarian does not stop in school.

Take note that this field is highly competitive. It involves years of studies and training. After all, a veterinarian deals with animal health and life just like a physician does with us.

To make sure that you have the edge over your future competitors, work in veterinary clinics to gain enough experience. You may work as a volunteer or a part-timer. These two working setups are possible, just look for opportunities in your local area. You can either work in veterinary clinics or animal shelters. Concentrating your efforts on acquiring enough experience will not only benefit you, it can benefit your resume too.

After you graduate from high school, you need to continue your studies in college. Look for a school from where you can learn how to become a veterinarian. Getting admitted to your preferred university will not be difficult if you have good academic records and you have a good resume.

Usually, schools offer preparatory programs for students who want to become a vet; take them. Examples of such programs are zoology and animal science. If these courses aren’t available, take biochemistry or biology instead. Don’t forget to get good grades and keep on gaining experience in the professional setting.

Becoming a Veterinarian: The Bigger Steps

Now that you have taken all the preliminary steps on how to become a veterinarian, it’s about time that you get more serious. There are only 28 accredited veterinary schools in the United States. Thousands of aspiring veterinarians like you will compete with each other. And the slots for vet students are limited. The good thing is you have taken the preliminary steps. So if you have good grades and enough experience you have greater chances of getting admitted. In addition, you might be required to pass the Veterinary College Admission Test (VCAT).

Studying in a veterinary school takes four years. During this time, you will receive hours of lectures about the theoretical concepts of the veterinary medicine as well as hours of laboratory work. You will receive trainings on treating different kinds of animals. There is a lot of learning and a lot of fun while you are in the veterinary school.

After you have graduated from the vet school, you need to get a license to practice your profession. In the United States, you will get your license if you passed the North American Veterinary Licensing Exam. Aside from it, you may also be required to take state licensure exams. The procedure may vary per state so be sure to know the regulations in the area where you want to practice. After you have acquired your license, you may now look for employment in the veterinary field and spread your love for animals by practicing your chosen profession.

If you want to work in a particular veterinary setting such as marine life, wild life, domestic animals, and animal research, you may continue your study and obtain your specialization. Even if you are in practice, it is possible to do through distance learning. A lot of courses are offered online. You can make use of its advantages. Of course, you may enroll for the traditional setting too if your schedule permits.

Becoming a Veterinarian: Employment Setting and Salary

The American Veterinary Medical Association said that 80% of vets work in a solo or group setting. The fields where they can find employment are the federal government, colleges and universities, pharmaceutical companies, medical schools, and research laboratories. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that the veterinary industry will grow up to 33% from 2008-2018. It is important to note that the growth rate in the industry is faster compared to all other occupations. This means that a lot of opportunities are coming your way if you graduate within the decade.

Veterinarians work in a clean, well lit, and well ventilated environment. However, animal behavior can be unpredictable so veterinarians are exposed to risks such as getting bitten or getting hurt by animals. Sometimes, vets have to deal with difficult and emotional pet owners. Apart from it, veterinarians are exposed to animal diseases. Indeed, there are lots of hardships and risks that a veterinarian must take. But despite that, there are rewards that they can enjoy and one of them is the salary.

The average yearly salary of veterinarians is $79,000. In the federal government, the median salary for vets is $93,398. They can earn as much as $61,300 to $143,000 per year, depending on the employment setting or their specialization.

There are indeed numerous undertakings that an aspiring veterinarian must take. From knowing how to become a veterinarian to taking the steps, there are lots of things to do. But working as a vet is a rewarding profession especially if you love animals. Once you see the pet getting better or the smile on the pet owners’ face, you will feel a great sense of accomplishment. Now that you know how to become a veterinarian, it’s about time that you take the steps to become one.