How to Become a Vet
Does your child want to be a vet? Your child needs to be smart through high school and through college, and then lucky enough to get into medical school.
After earning a 4-year college degree, earning a DVM (doctorate in veterinary medicine) takes four more years to complete after an undergraduate college degree. And once your child gets into veterinarian school, the first three years are classroom training in animal anatomy and physiology, and then one year of clinical experience. Let me explain how to achieve the goal of becoming a vet.
How to become a veterinarian
- Attend a four-year college
- Get excellent grades in college
- Complete an undergraduate degree (pre-vet, biology, or STEM degree, meeting admission criteria for vet school)
- Earn experience with animals (e.g. through 4-H)
- Demonstrate leadership (join college campus student groups)
- Apply to veterinary school
How hard is it to get into veterinary school?
- Veterinary school is four years above the four years of regular college
- There are only 30 accredited veterinary schools
- Each year there are 6,800 applicants for only 2,700 openings
- Some say it's harder than getting into medical school
- Median entry-level vet salary in 2014 was $67,000
- Average total debt of a veterinary graduate is $135,000
- Most graduates work in companion animal practice or work for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service
How to prepare your child in high school
- Ensure they excel in math and science classes
- Ensure they exceed expectations of a regular college prep plan
- Choose a college with a good admission rate into veterinary school
- Decide on a college degree they can use in veterinary school
Consider alternatives to a doctorate in veterinary medicine
- Veterinary Technologists need a 4-year bachelor's degree
- Veterinary Technicians need a 2-year associate's degree (Both must complete a post-secondary program in veterinary technology)
- Animal Husbandry or Animal Science need a 2 to 4-year degree (For a career caring for or breeding farm or zoo animals)
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- Animal massage specialists
- Animal trainers
- Certified professional dog trainers
- Applied animal behaviorists