What You Should Know About This Degree
There is a broad range of careers in veterinary medicine available to people of all educational levels, such as laboratory animal caretakers, veterinary assistants, and veterinary technologists; however, to practice as a veterinarian, a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) from an AVMA-accredited program as well as a state-issued license is required. After earning a bachelor’s degree, prospective veterinarians should expect to devote four additional years to higher education, including one year of hands-on, supervised clinical practicum. Graduates of AVMA-accredited programs must then pass the North American Veterinary Licensing Exam (NAVLE) to become licensed to practice in the field. Additional state-specific exams may also be required.
Although doctoral students come from various backgrounds, earning an undergraduate degree in veterinary medicine can provide the foundation necessary to apply to veterinary schools, such as prerequisites in math and science. An undergraduate degree may also be required for entry-level positions in veterinary medicine, such as veterinary technologists and technicians, that offer valuable exposure to working with animals. When pursuing an undergraduate degree, be sure to attend a regionally accredited institution, because credits and degrees from regionally accredited schools are typically more easily transferable to other institutions and are generally required for professional credentials.
Here are some questions to ask when researching veterinary degree programs:
- Am I eligible for this program? Many veterinary degree programs accept students from all educational backgrounds; however, doctoral programs in veterinary medicine require students to have successfully completed extensive coursework in math and science. Additionally, prospective graduate students are typically required to submit standardized test scores. Before applying to the program, check the program’s admissions requirements to confirm that you meet their qualifications.
- How long does it take to complete this degree? How long it takes to complete a degree in veterinary medicine depends on several factors, such as degree level and program. Typically, full-time students can earn an associate’s degree in two years. A bachelor’s degree usually takes four years to complete, while veterinary school requires four additional years of study.
Application procedures vary by school and program. As you research programs, you should take note of eligibility requirements and application deadlines for each program. You should also keep track of what materials you’ll need to submit with your application. You can visit the school’s website to find information about the application process, or contact the school’s admissions department for additional information.
Financing your education is another important issue to consider. Tuition and fees vary by program. Conventional funding opportunities include federal financial aid, scholarships, loans, and grants. You may also qualify for educational assistance through your employer if you’re currently employed.