Saturday, February 06, 2016

What Does It Take To Become A Veterinarian?

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Sleuth, the VNN Reporter Dog

Everyone knows that veterinarians really care for and love animals…but did you know the extent of their education?  Sleuth the Reporter Dog often hears people talk about how it would be fun to be a veterinarian, but what EXACTLY does it take to be part of this proud profession?

1)    Students who desire to be veterinarians should spend a lot of time in high school and college taking math and sciences courses.  Good grades are important!

2)    Finding opportunities to work with animals at a local shelter, through FFA or 4H or even at the local veterinary hospital can help you understand what kind of care different animals need.

3)    It’s also important to be very well-rounded…the vast majority of veterinarians work with clients as well as patients!  So, good communication skills are helpful.

4)    Competition to get into a veterinary school is very intense.   The 28 veterinary schools in the US only allow about 3,000 students each year.  Compare that to the 20,000 medical students that graduate each year.

5)    New veterinary students in their first two years focus solely on classroom activities.  They need to learn lots of medical information, like anatomy, microbiology and about different types of parasites.

6)    Then, in the last two years, students get a lot more hand on experience.  Not only do they work with the attending veterinarians in the teaching hospital, they gain experience in surgery and vital nursing care needs for patients.

7)    After graduation, veterinarians still need to pass national and state board exams before they can legally practice veterinary medicine.  In addition, states require a set number of continuing education (CE) credits each year. 

8)    This “CE” keeps your veterinarian up to date on the latest technologies and treatments.  Ask your veterinarian about their recent CE classes.

9)    Even though many veterinarians work in private practice, others go into the military and public health service.  Some opt to teach new veterinarians or specialize in areas like radiology or dentistry.  Still others do important research to better lives for people and pets.

10)    Trust a site like to provide you with accurate and unbiased pet health information.