Should I Become A Veterinarian ?
How Do You Become A Veterinarian ?
Ron Hines DVM PhD
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I decided I would become a veterinarian when I was seven years old. It is not uncommon for veterinarians to find their calling that young.
Veterinary medicine is a rewarding career for individuals who have empathy for both animals and the clients who own them. You can have terrific animal empathy and not be happy in private veterinary practice and you can have great human empathy and not be happy in practice. You must have them both.
Approximately two thirds of the graduates of U.S. veterinary colleges go into private practice. The rest teach, conduct scientific studies, work for pharmaceutical houses, state and federal animal agencies or the armed forces . there is an option there for you if you want the close relationship with animals without the inter-personal skills required in general practice. More than half the current graduates of U.S. veterinary schools are female. Men went on to more lucrative careers. Also, the number of veterinary graduates that go on for advanced specialty training is increasing steadily.
trade organization for veterinarians is the American Veterinary
Medical Association AVMA . It
represents about 70,000 veterinarians in the United States. There
are approximately twenty-seven accredited schools of veterinary
medicine in the United States, four in Canada and thirty-one in
Mexico. All U.S. and Canadian veterinary curricula are four years
long. Admission to veterinary college in the U.S. usually requires
a four-year degree in the sciences or a satisfactory number of courses
in the sciences. High grades are required for admission - especially
in the areas of biology and chemistry.
If you are considering becoming a veterinarian, I suggest that you work for a veterinarian for a number of years. Most veterinary students worked summers or after school in veterinary hospitals. The cost of a degree in veterinary medicine (DVM. or VMD) is high and it is hard to justify the cost of our education based on a return of investment. But return on investment is not something most veterinarians consider early in their careers. Since few of us have this money readily available, I suggest that pre-veterinary students get their undergraduate degree in a field such as registered nursing. This allows them to generate income as they go to pay for veterinary school tuition. It also gives them an excellent profession if they do not complete veterinary school.
I love veterinary medicine and I have never regretted the career choice I made. There are still veterinarian jobs in the USA that would appeal to me if I was just starting out; in towns too small to have a Walmart, in Humane Society setting, in advanced specialty practice or in the forefront of veterinary research.