How Can I Become an Equine Vet?

Explore the career requirements for equine vets. Get the facts about education requirements, licensing, job growth and salary to find out if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Animal Care degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is an Equine Veterinarian?

Equine veterinarians provide care to horses, often on-site at ranches or farms. They perform check-ups, recommend dietary plans, and provide other routine care, such as vaccines. Equine veterinarians also diagnose health problems and prescribe medication, dress wounds, perform surgery, and euthanize animals. In their training, they learn to use a variety of equipment such as x-rays, forceps, and animal husbandry equipment. To learn more about this career, take a look at the education requirements and employment info outlined in the following table:

Degree Required Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM)
Key Responsibilities Perform checkups, diagnose and treat illness, make dietary recommendations
Licensure State licensure is required
Job Growth (2014-2024) 9% (for all veterinarians)*
Average Salary (2015) $99,000 (for all veterinarians)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Does an Equine Vet Do?

An equine vet is a veterinarian who works primarily with horses. While small animal veterinarians tend to have an office where their patients visit, an equine vet travels much more to see patients. Whether you are attending a racehorse, a show horse or a child's pony, you are on the go during your workday. Veterinarians perform regular checkups, diagnose and treat medical ailments, as well as give diet and care advice to owners. Veterinarians can also work in the research or teaching field, employed by a university or a private firm.

What Education Do I Need?

To become an equine vet, you need to attend veterinary school. Most veterinary schools recommend that your studies in high school and college focus on science, particularly biology. Many U.S. universities and colleges offer degree programs in pre-veterinary studies, a program similar to a pre-med program, which prepares you to apply to and attend veterinary school. The courses for each pre-vet bachelor's degree program vary, but generally include math, science, social science and humanities classes.

In 2014, 29 universities and colleges offered an accredited Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree program. Application to these programs is highly competitive because of the large number of applicants. In order to apply to a DVM program, you need to present scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), the Veterinary College Admission Test (VCAT) or the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). DVM programs typically take four years to complete and prepare graduates to sit for the North American Veterinary Licensing Exam in addition to any other state-issued exams required for licensure.

What Is the Career Outlook?

The American Veterinary Medical Association (www.avma.org), in a 2013 survey of U.S. Veterinary Medical School graduates, reports that average first-year earnings for those working in the equine medical field were $47,806. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the average yearly wages for veterinarians in all fields was $99,000 as of May 2015. Additionally, employment opportunities for veterinarians were projected to increase 9% in the decade from 2014-2024.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

There are several related alternative careers available for those interested in equine veterinary medicine. For instance, food animal veterinarians work with other large farm animals such as pigs, cattle, and sheep, which are raised for food. These vets work on farms and ranches to prevent and treat illnesses in food animals. Another option might be as a veterinary technologists or technicians. These aid veterinarians in diagnosing and treating illnesses and injuries and require only an associate's degree to gain entry-level employment.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:

Popular Schools

  • Strayer University

    Strayer University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Strayer University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Capella University

    Capella University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Capella University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Regent University

    Regent University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Regent University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • University of Delaware

    University of Delaware responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at University of Delaware:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Grand Canyon University

    Grand Canyon University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Herzing University

    Herzing University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Herzing University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Penn Foster Career School

    Penn Foster Career School responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Penn Foster Career School:

    Online Programs Available

  • Colorado State University Global

    Colorado State University Global responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Colorado State University Global:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Colorado Technical University

    Colorado Technical University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Colorado Technical University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Northcentral University

    Northcentral University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Northcentral University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. Next »