Why This Matters

  • CHOOSE FROM OVER 11 POTENTIAL CAREER PATHS

    Individuals with a degree in veterinary medicine can go on to work in several different areas, including private practice, research, public health and policy, food supply medicine, animal husbandry, and government agencies.

  • DEMAND FOR VETERINARIANS TO INCREASE 18%

    As veterinary medicine has advanced, the demand for vets who can perform complex surgeries and procedures has increased as well. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the addition of 15,600 new vet jobs by 2028.

  • EARN $59,410 MORE WITH A DOCTORAL DEGREE

    Entry-level positions like veterinary technicians earn a median annual wage of $34,420. By earning a doctoral degree and becoming a full-fledged veterinarian, you can increase your median annual wage to $93,830.

Our Research

In order to become a licensed veterinarian, individuals must have a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree. Related degrees in veterinary science or veterinary technology exist at the associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s levels to prepare students for doctoral study, as well as entry-level veterinary medicine jobs. We included all degree levels on this list.

All of the schools on our list have either regional or national accreditation. Most also have programmatic accreditation through the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).

Our list includes both online and on-campus programs. Doctoral programs with AVMA-accreditation have an in-person clinical component, so even if coursework can be completed online, students should be prepared for a year of clinical rotations.

We evaluated each program’s coursework, cost, flexibility, faculty, and reputation. We then assigned each program an Intelligent Score on a basis of 0 to 100. Our top picks for the best veterinary degrees are well-regarded, cost-effective, and flexible.(For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.)

  • 52 hours to write this article
  • 114 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 288 education programs we compared

The Top 17 Veterinary Degrees

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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.

What’s Next?

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.