How to Become a Veterinarian

How to Become a Veterinarian in the US

Do your love for pets drives you to become a veterinarian in the U.S.? It is high time you curing the sores of your pet dogs. Rather, you can get a degree in curing animals and save the lives of many who suffer from a disease unknown. Setting up a clinic by the road will help owners visit you with their pets for routine check-ups and treat them too. So, this guide on becoming a veterinarian in the U.S. can be of much help to get started then.
If you also care for human health, you can read other blogs on healthcare careers such as:-

Who is a Veterinarian?

Veterinarians are doctors trained to specialize in diagnosing and treating injured or animals. In fact, they prevent the transmission of infectious diseases from animals to humans. Even healthy pets might carry harmful microorganisms that can be lethal to humans. If the pet owners won’t be cautious in getting their checked-up, they might also get the diseases off them. So, becoming a veterinarian will help you make people aware of the need to get their pets checked. During the oath, the veterinarian doctors ensure to use their medical knowledge.

Skills Sets That a Veterinarian Needs

  • to help society through the means of protecting the health of animals
  • relieving animals of any pain due to an injury, protect animal resources
  • increase human knowledge about animal health, and advance technology to make animal medicine
As per the labor statistics of the U.S., in 2008 alone, there were 59,700 practicing veterinarians. Within a span of three years from then, the numbers could have increased. Veterinarians provide their services to private clinics for:-
  • pets
  • armed forces
  • police departments
  • government agencies
  • research
  • teaching
  • public health

What are the Job Role and Duties of a Veterinarian?


On becoming a vet, their prime task is to analyze a sick or injured pet. Then, they treat it on the basis of the severity of the problem. The majority of times, they treat pets and domesticated animals such as cattle and goats. In the case of sudden injury or critical condition, they will perform surgery to cure the animal. A farm owner might call upon a vet to test his dairy herds (cows), sheep, goats, pigs, and horses. They’re called up to check for any disease that might affect the production of dairy and meat products.


Vets also vaccinate animals for brucellosis, rabies, and other animal diseases. Their inmates in the check-ups are veterinary assistants and veterinary technicians assisting them. When pet owners visit vet clinics, they seek the use of sanitary measures they should follow. These measures include:-
  • maintaining proper animal feeding habits
  • update them about other general care topics
The other areas of expertise are research, teaching, and manufacture of commercial animal products.

A Day in a Life of a Veterinarian

  • A vet’s day begins at 8:30 or 9 am. He/she arrives 30 minutes after the receptionist, vet assistants, and vet techs arrive. These people come before anyone to get everything organized before the clinic opens. Usually, animals from the overnight emergency clinics arrive as soon as the clinic opens up for the business.
  • Once the vet arrives, they first attend to patients that were present at the overnight emergency clinics. They begin to examine these patients after discussing their cases. In turn, the vet diagnoses and treat them. In case of surgery or need for hospitalization, the matter proceeds with the paperwork.
  • Patients and pet owners start arriving. The vet will examine these new patients. But, if there are lots of other patients waiting for him, then he will get to work on the next animal. In the backdrop, the assistants will administer prescribed medications to the pre-diagnosed ones. Then the general anesthesia takes place to ensure if the animal is alright.
  • Some pet owners visit the clinic to get their pets vaccinated for rabies, brucellosis, or distemper. Then, they’ll Perform surgeries on animals with a critical illness. If an animal had a fracture, they would set them.

What More Does the Day Has for a Veterinarian?

  • Becoming a veterinarian also requires a lot of patience while dealing with the owners. Some owners like talking about their pet’s health. So, a vet has to spend a considerable amount of his time speaking to them.
  • Some pet owners bring in their pets to get them neutered and spayed. That is the removal of male and female sex organs to stop reproduction.
  • Sometimes, they euthanize (put to sleep) sick animals with bleak chances of survival. To become a veterinarian isn’t easy, as all these processes make them unhappy about their work. At times, they also get to euthanize animals abandoned or mistreated by their owners. Some are healthy animals, but due to space constraints, they’re put to sleep.
  • They will finally end their day by doing some reporting work on the computer. So, these are the jobs a vet performs in his/her day to day and year after year.

Educational Qualifications to Become a Veterinarian

If you have an equal amount of love for animals as you do for humans, then becoming a veterinarian is an ideal choice. Vets are as important as the family doctor as they take care of our extended furry family. To become a veterinarian, you have to graduate from a four-year veterinary medicine program. Once you graduate from this program, the title of a D.V.M. (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine) or V.M.D (Veterinary Medicine Doctor) will add on to your name. The prerequisite to join a veterinary medicine college is a high school diploma. Also, a four-year pre-veterinary bachelor’s degree in math and science subjects like:-
  • systematic physiology
  • microbiology
  • zoology
  • cellular biology
  • vertebrate embryology
  • general biology
  • animal nutrition
  • biochemistry
  • genetics
  • physics
  • organic and inorganic chemistry, and animal biology
For exposure, you can volunteer at a vet clinic or an animal shelter. There you’ll gain some knowledge and insight of sick, injured, and disowned animals. As a result, in the course you’ll be doing a great service and gaining prior knowledge of the work you would be doing. Furthermore, this experience will add to your degree and will help in your admission to a vet school. Before enrolling for a four-year program, you will have to sit in three major exams. That is:-
  • GRE (Graduate Record Examination)
  • VCAT (Veterinary College Admission Test)
  • MCAT (Medical College Admission Test)
The scores you get from these tests will benefit you in getting admission in one of the 28 veterinary colleges across the county. Once you graduate from your bachelor’s degree, you will have to enroll in a four-year veterinary medicine program. Make sure AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) approves your chosen college/school. In the whole of the U.S., there are only 28 accredited colleges in 26 states offering veterinary medicine.

28 Best Colleges to Study Veterinary

List of top AVMA accredited colleges in the U.S.
  1. Auburn University, Alabama
  2. Tuskegee, Alabama
  3. Purdue University, Indiana
  4. University of Missouri-Columbia, Missouri
  5. Iowa State University, Iowa
  6. Cornell University, New York
  7. The University of California, California
  8. Western University of Health Sciences, California
  9. Kansas State University, Kansas
  10. North Carolina State University, North Carolina
  11. Louisiana State University, Louisiana
  12. The Ohio State University, Ohio
  13. Colorado State University, Colorado
  14. Tufts University, Massachusetts
  15. Oklahoma State University, Oklahoma
  16. University of Florida, Florida
  17. Michigan State University, Michigan
  18. Oregon State University, Oregon
  19. University of Georgia, Georgia
  20. The University of Minnesota, Minnesota
  21. The University of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania
  22. University of Illinois, Illinois
  23. Mississippi State University, Mississippi
  24. The University of Tennessee, Tennessee
  25. Texas A&M University, Texas
  26. Virginia Tech, Virginia
  27. Washington State University, Washington
  28. University of Wisconsin-Madison, Wisconsin
Out of the above list, 22 colleges ask for the GRE test scores, while the two colleges ask for MCAT scores, and rest four will need a VCAT score. As per B.L.S.’s report, the number of accredited colleges hasn’t gone up from the year 1983, i.e., almost 20 years. But the prospective veterinarian applicants have gone up. By this, the waiting list to get into college to become a veterinarian gets longer. Besides, do not give up hope and keep to a good grade system and test scores, and you might be the next lucky applicant to get admitted into college.

How to Get a License to Practice as a Veterinarian?

After the completion of the four-year veterinary program, you have now considered as a DVM or VMD. But, practicing isn’t allowed if you don’t get your license approved. So, for becoming a veterinarian and to get a license for the practice, you will have to sit for the NAVLE (North American Veterinary Licensing Exam). In brief, NAVLE is eight hours long, a computerized test. Keep in mind that every state has its own rules and regulations of how vets need to practice. Once you pass the NAVLE exam, you are ready to practice as a veterinarian.

How Long Does it Take to Become a Veterinarian?

Now you might wonder, actually, “how long does it take to become a veterinarian”? Well, it takes eight years to be a veterinarian.

How Much Salary Do Veterinarians Earn?

Now, besides passion, the profession also demands to earn daily bread for a living. The salary of a vet depends on 3 main factors:-
  • where (small cities or metropolitan cities)
  • for whom (self-employed or big vet clinics)
  • how much experience he or she has
Besides, to give you an idea of what to expect after becoming a veterinarian in the U.S., here is all to know. As per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual salary of a vet is $95,460.

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