How to Become a Veterinarian

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How to Become a Veterinarian

How to Become a Veterinarian

Love animals and science? Interested in public health? Then you may want to consider a pre-veterinary medicine program at college.

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Get the details on what it takes to become a veterinarian and what you can do now in high school to prepare for your college studies in this area.

What Are the Education Requirements to Become a Veterinarian?

You’ll need much more than a bachelor’s degree to become a veterinarian you’ll need a Doctor of Veterinary medicine degree from an accredited college. A graduate program in veterinary medicine will provide classroom, laboratory and clinical experiences.

The first step to become a veterinarian, though, is to get your undergraduate degree. Your undergraduate degree can be in any major you choose, the most popular areas being biology, chemistry, anatomy, physiology, zoology, microbiology or animal science. Some colleges also may offer four-year degrees in veterinary technology.

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When choosing a college, make sure it has not only your college major of interest, but also a pre-professional program for pre-veterinarian medicine. Participating in a pre-professional program like this will help ensure you’ll take all the right prerequisite classes for applying to graduate school. In addition to your college education, veterinarians also will need to become licensed to practice. These requirements vary by state.

How Much Do Veterinarians Make?

Veterinary physicians checking dog's heartbeat

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary of a veterinarian is $84,460 so all those years of school to become a vet will pay off! Job opportunities are expected to grow for veterinarians throughout the next decade.

A veterinary medicine degree provide opportunities for employment in a private veterinary clinic or hospital, at a research university or working in public health or food safety for the government.

How Can I Prepare in High School to Become a Veterinarian?

Volunteer at a local animal shelter or do a job shadow at a veterinary hospital or clinic in your area. In addition, take as many science classes as you can including AP classes when possible.

What Scholarships are Available for Pre-Veterinary Medicine Students?

Contact colleges you’re interested in to find out if they have scholarships available to students in pre-veterinary studies or pre-veterinary medicine programs.

Also, depending on the major you choose to study, look for scholarships online (at sites like Fastweb.com) for major-specific scholarships.

Check with the colleges you’re considering for information on major-specific scholarships, too.

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Elizabeth Abner
WRITTEN BY Elizabeth Abner

Elizabeth is pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy in Foreign Policy and earned her master's degree in business administration. For her undergraduate studies, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration with a concentration in international business. Elizabeth's research is focused on universities offering online degree programs.