How to Become a Veterinarian

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Just like human beings, animals need effective health care treatment. They need preventative care to maintain health and specialized treatment when they are sick or injured. Veterinary science is essential to study and production of animals. Veterinarians administer medical, diagnostic, and therapeutic techniques to all types of animals.


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What does a veterinarian do?

Veterinarians provide health care to pets, livestock, wildlife, and animals in laboratories, racetracks, and zoos. Some veterinarians protect humans from animal diseases and carry out clinical research on the connection between health problems of humans and animals. Others conduct basic research and broaden public knowledge about animals and medical science. Some work in applied research and create new ways to use knowledge about animals. Most veterinarians diagnose health problems in animals, advise owners about the care of animals, vaccinate animals against diseases, provide medical treatment to animals with illnesses or infections, and perform other medical techniques.

What kind of training does a veterinarian need?

Veterinarians must earn a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.) from an accredited veterinary medicine college. All programs require at least 45 credit hours and some require a bachelor degree. Most applicants have completed a bachelor degree prior to applying to veterinary school. All veterinary schools require satisfactory test scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), or the Veterinary College Admission Test (VCAT). Many graduates enter 1-year internship programs after graduation.

All 50 states and the District of Columbia require veterinarians to be licensed before they are allowed to practice. There are some exemptions for veterinarians employed by some state governments of Federal agencies. Licensing requirements vary by state, but all require a D.V.M. degree or equivalent and a passing score on the North American Veterinary Licensing Exam. Most states also require a passing score on a state jurisprudence examination that covers the laws and regulations of the state.

What are the prospects for a career as a veterinarian?

Employment of veterinarians is project in increase much faster than average for all professions, increasing 35% from 2006 to 2016 (1). Growth for veterinary services will stem from more animals being kept as pets and consumers increased awareness on the importance of veterinary care.

Excellent job prospects are expected especially for veterinarians with extensive experience working with animals and for those with specialties.

How much do veterinarians make?

As of July 2009, veterinarians with less than 1-year experience earn annual salaries between $50,364 and $67,820. Those with 1 to 4 years experience earn annual salaries between $55,233 and $75,607 (2).

A career as a veterinarian is an excellent choice for people who have a genuine desire to help and improve the health and wellbeing of animals. Aspiring veterinarians must have efficient manual dexterity and an ability to communicate effectively with animal owners. Great business skills and communication is essential for veterinarians who wish to go into private practice.

Joshua T Osborne

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