How can I become a veterinarian in 2024? Best Schools, Cost Programs & Salary

I’m not a lover of animals but I’ve read plenty of heartwarming stories of some amazing non-human creatures- dogs precisely. One of the stories I read recently got me so emotional that I was almost thinking of how to become a veterinarian.

I read the story of Dasher, a German Shepherd who lived in Mildura in Australia. The dog spent more than 14 hours in a forest during a storm protecting his owners’ child.

It’s a story you’d love to hear. I’ll share it with you in a moment. Just stay with me.

I got to know why people can go out of their way to ensure the well-being of their pets. Some pets are really interesting and fun to be with just like Dasher.

When two-year-old Dante Berry walked out of the family, Dasher was the only one who noticed. The child wandered all over the place, but luckily his faithful friend followed close behind him. Eventually, they lost their way in the forest about 1.8 miles (3 km) from home.

It took a long time for Dante’s parents to notice that their child was missing. They called the police and started looking for Dante everywhere, but a terrible storm broke out that night. It paralyzed traffic on the roads, and the search was postponed until better weather.

The next morning, 15 hours after it was noticed that the child was missing, Dante and Dasher were found in the forest. The lucky kid didn’t have a single scratch. Dasher helped Dante weather the storm and protected him from predators. Amazing, Isn’t it?

But you know, unfortunately, Dasher was hit by a vehicle just as they were finding their way home and almost died. But for the timely rescue of the veterinarian, he survived.

Veterinarians have been the lifesavers of amazing pets like Dasher and unfortunately, there are just a few of them around. A career in veterinary medicine is one of the most lucrative careers. This is because people can pay anything to keep their pets healthy. Find out how you can become one below.

how to become a veterinarian

Who is A Veterinarian?

A veterinarian, also known as a veterinary surgeon or veterinary physician, is a professional who practices veterinary medicine by treating diseases, disorders, and injuries in non-human animals.

They diagnose and control animal diseases and treat sick and injured animals and also advise owners on proper care of their pets and livestock.

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What does a school veterinarian do?

The job descriptions of Veterinarians are just too numerous to mention. But in any way, I will tell you some of the basic things veterinarians do. The primary responsibilities of a veterinarian include:

  • Administering immunizations
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Providing emergency care
  • Performs minor to complex surgery, depending on training
  • Conducts dental procedures
  • Euthanizes animals when necessary
  • Advising clients on care of their pets
  • Diagnoses animal health problems
  • Medicates animals suffering from infections or illnesses
  • Treats and dresses wounds
  • Sets fractures
  • Provides preventive care to maintain the health of livestock
  • Performs diagnostic tests such as X-ray, EKG, ultrasound, blood, urine, and feces

Veterinarians also work in government agencies. They work in the area of public health. They help to prevent and control animal and human diseases and promote good health.

Moreso, they quarantine and inspect animals brought into the country from other countries. They supervise shipments of animals, test for the presence of diseases and manage campaigns to prevent and eradicate many diseases such as tuberculosis, brucellosis, and rabies, which threaten animal and human health.

A veterinarian in research looks for better ways to prevent and solve animal and human health problems. Many problems, such as cancer and heart disease, are studied through the use of laboratory animals, which are carefully bred, raised, and maintained under the supervision of veterinarians.

It is essential for veterinarians to keep up with the latest developments in animal medicine. They do this by reading professional journals and attending conferences. This allows them to make sure their patients are receiving the best care available.

Read: Veterinary Medicine Conferences For International Students 2024

How long does it take to become a veterinarian?

Medical sciences usually take years of educations and practical hands-on experience before one can be certified to practice. Becoming a vet is no exception to this rule. Of course, no one would want to allow a quack to handle their pet for them so a degree is needed.

It is mandatory that you acquire a bachelor’s degree, and this usually takes up to 4 years. After your bachelor’s degree, you will have to enroll in a veterinary school where you will gain more knowledge for your practice. This might take you another 4 years. Once you are done with this, you will need to apply for certification and internship. These might last another one year or even more.

It is not always like in all situations but a bachelor’s degree is mandatory. From here we can see the number of years it takes to become a vet may last more than 8 years. On average, it can take a person about 9 years to become a veterinarian.

Usually, it takes about 4 years (minimum) to start your own practice, but it can take more too depending on the certifications you are trying to acquire.

Also Read: Study In Australia: 2024 Top 4 Veterinary Science Universities; Tuition and Cost of Living

How much do Veterinarians make?

Basically, how much you earn in any profession is dependent on so many factors. On average, The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that vets earn about $93,830. Further analysis shows that the best-paid vets had a take-home of about $162,450 while the least paid had a take-home of about $56,540.

A further study by the American Veterinary Medical Association indicates clearly that 67% of veterinarians’ incomes were between $60,000 and $150,000.

Which schools are the best to study veterinary medicine?

If you desire to become a vet, and you don’t know yet which school offers the program, here is a list of best veterinary schools in the US that you may consider.

  • University of California, Davis
  • Cornell University
  • Colorado State University
  • North Carolina State University
  • Ohio State University
  • University of Wisconsin
  • Texas A&M College Station
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • University of Minnesota
  • Tufts University

The University of California

The University of California, Davis has been ranked #1 in the world. The average acceptance rate is about 42 percent as of 2018, with SAT scores in the 1330 to 1530 range. This veterinary school alumnus won six national and international awards in 2017. 

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Cornell Veterinary College

Cornell Veterinary College students literally start hands-on experiments with animals on their first day to school, so this school can appeal to you if you prefer practical education as much as possible.

However, the acceptance percentage here is only around 14 percent from 2018. There are only 120 admission opportunities each year.

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Colorado State University

This school is famous for teaching surgical techniques using artificial tissue that can easily pass for the real thing. These surgical classes are available in your third and fourth years. 

Improve the health of animals, people, and the planet through innovative and dedicated teaching, research, outreach, and clinical service. 

Read: 10 Best Veterinary Colleges in California | Ranking 2024

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NC State College of Veterinary Medicine

The NC State College of Veterinary Medicine is where compassion meets science. Their mission is to advance the veterinary profession and animal health through ongoing discovery and medical innovation; provide animals and their owners with extraordinary, compassionate medical care; and prepare the next generation of veterinarians and veterinary research scientists.

North Carolina is unique in that you can combine your studies with an MBA or Ph.D. in addition to the doctorate in veterinary medicine.

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Ohio State University

The Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences received the first University Departmental Teaching Award, and the college has produced both University Distinguished Teachers and Distinguished Scholars.

The school is home to several unique partnerships including the Veterinary Public Health program with Public Health and a Business Minor program with the Fisher College of Business for our Professional Veterinary Students.

The college faculty is well-published in the scientific literature including leading textbooks and are frequently invited to give lectures at conferences locally, nationally, and internationally.

The college has one of the first and finest clinical residency programs in the nation. This school is home to the Ohio State Veterinary Center as well, which treats more than 30,000 patients annually. 

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See the other schools here:

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Steps to becoming a vet: the complete guide

Below is a full guide to all that is required of you to become a vet. Carefully read through.

Complete a Bachelor’s degree

You will definitely need a bachelor’s degree in veterinary medicine for you to continue to a veterinary school. However, it is also possible to go to veterinary school by following only undergraduate courses for the requirements.

Although many students achieve their degree in biological sciences, most veterinary schools do not have preferential specialization as long as certain courses are followed. These courses usually include general biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics.

Some schools may need a number of advanced science courses, such as food, mammals, biochemistry, or animal behavior.

Acquire a Ph.D. in veterinary medicine

Every year in a row the veterinary program relies on the curriculum of the previous year. The first year or two can focus on scientific topics such as anatomy, physiology, nutrition, and virology. These courses and associated training courses form the basic framework for understanding veterinary medicine. Some courses may be specific to the animal group.

The third-year can be focused on clinical studies in which students meet and practice live animals using the knowledge and skills gained in the last two years to diagnose and recommend possible treatments. The fourth-year usually includes participation in applied experiments, such as practical training or external training.

Participate in research projects. Some programs offer students the opportunity to participate in research during their studies. This experience can be useful in understanding certain aspects of the veterinary field and may offer opportunities for research work rather than a clinical setting.

Get a license

Graduates from accredited veterinary programs must have a license to practice in the field. All states require that graduates pass the North American veterinary license exam; additional state-specific tests may be required.

Gain experience

After obtaining a license, you can choose to gain more practical and specialized experience in the field by training for a year before applying for a permanent job. Most veterinarians work with small animals that guide them in private clinics.

A smaller percentage of veterinarians choose to specialize in working with horses or other large animals, exotic animals, or zoo animals.

Be certified in the specialty

Some vets choose to specialize in a certain area, but not all. To be eligible for a degree in a specialty, such as internal medicine or surgery, you must have completed a residency or further education.

Residency programs usually involve several years of work at a specific location where the vet receives training under his supervision in his chosen specialty.

Become a member of a professional association

National and national veterinary associations exist. Although membership of these organizations is completely optional, benefits may include access to newsletters, professional links, the literature on the latest veterinary subject, and continuing education resources.

How to Become a Vet: Frequently Asked Questions

Due to the clinical field and laboratory requirements, it is impossible for a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree program to be offered totally online. … Students looking into these programs should find a distance education program accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)

Becoming a certified vet will cost you an average of $100,000. A Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree alone typically costs $28,000-$54,000 per year for in-state tuition and fees (resident rate) or $41,000-$66,000 per year (for four years) for out-of-state tuition and fees (non-resident rate).

Commercial vets make the most money, with a mean annual salary of $160,000. … Companion animal practice vets generally earn the most, at an average of $110,000 a year. Mixed animal vets are generalists and earn an average annual income of $100,000 a year.

Employment of veterinarians is projected to grow 18 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations. Overall job prospects are expected to be very good.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a veterinarian?

A veterinarian is a professional who diagnostics, treats, and prevents animal diseases. They also advise animal owners on proper care and nutrition for their pets.

What are the requirements for becoming a veterinarian?

Becoming a veterinarian requires completing a four-year degree at an accredited veterinary college and passing the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination.

What are the benefits of becoming a veterinarian?

There are many benefits to becoming a veterinarian. As a veterinarian, you will have the opportunity to help animals and their owners in a variety of ways.

You will be able to provide medical care and advice to your patients, and you will also be able to educate pet owners on how to best care for their animals.

Additionally, veterinarians often have very rewarding careers, as they are able to make a difference in the lives of both animals and their owners.

In a Nutshell

The steps given here are trusted to guide you through to a swell time in your career as a veterinarian. As has been stated earlier, becoming a vet is a great career. One of the things you will enjoy is the great feeling that comes with helping folks pets get back on their feet.

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