What You Should Know About This Degree
Many people pursue careers in veterinary medicine because of their love of animals, so it’s important to keep in mind the emotional stress that can come along with seeing sick or injured animals, and having to euthanize animals. Veterinarians and vet techs must also be prepared for risks on the job, including being bitten, kicked, or scratched, or contracting diseases from animals.
While there are a variety of careers in veterinary medicine available to people of all educational levels, you must have a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) from an AVMA-accredited program as well as a state-issued license to practice as a veterinarian. Individuals who want to become veterinarians should plan on at least four additional years of education after completing their bachelor’s degree.
Earning a lower-level degree like an associate’s or bachelor’s can be beneficial, as it will give you the foundational knowledge you need when pursuing your doctorate. These degrees will also qualify you for entry-level positions in veterinary medicine, such as veterinary technologists and technicians and veterinary assistants, which will give you valuable hands-on experience. When earning an undergraduate degree, keep in mind that it should be from a regionally accredited institution. This will guarantee that your degree will be accepted by any institutions you apply to for future study.
Here are some questions to ask when researching Veterinary Degree programs:
- Does this program offer the specialization that I want? Many DVM programs allow students to specialize in various aspects of veterinary medicine, such as small animals, food animals, or equine animals. If you want to focus on treatment of a specific type of animal, look for a program that offers this type of concentration.
- What are the clinical requirements for this program? Programs that are accredited by the AVMA have hands-on clinical learning components. In DVM programs, this usually takes the form of a year-long clinical rotation, either in on-campus facilities or in outside settings. Talk to a program representative about clinical requirements, and where students complete them, so you can ensure that they will fit into your schedule.
Admission procedures vary by school, so be sure to look at the deadlines and application requirements for each school to which you plan to apply. Gathering application materials ahead of time can facilitate a smooth admissions process.
You should also research funding options for your degree. These resources can include federal financial aid like loans and grants, scholarships, assistantships, and tuition benefits from your employer, if you are currently working.