Veterinary clinical sciences and medicine encompass the diagnosis and treatment of animals, emphasizing the use of research and clinical experiments to determine effective strategies. Read on to see if an education and career in this profession might be right for you.
The veterinary clinical sciences make use of both laboratory and clinical research to find pharmaceutical, therapeutic and medical strategies to eliminate or alleviate diseases in animals. As a graduate of a veterinary clinical sciences program, you would be able to seek employment with laboratories in universities and animal hospitals, biomedical labs or in the private sector. You would also be prepared to work in a number of clinical areas based on your specific interests, such as large or small animal surgery, internal medicine or cardiology. Another option is to earn a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) and become a veterinarian.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment growth in veterinary professions is expected to range from average to much faster than average during the 2012-2022 decade (www.bls.gov). For example, expected job growth for veterinarians was 12%, while veterinary techs could anticipate 30% growth, and the projection for veterinary assistants was a 10% increase. As of May 2012, veterinarians earned a mean annual wage of $93,250. At that same time, veterinary technologists and veterinary technicians made $31,470, while veterinary assistants and laboratory animal attendants took home $24,740.
As a graduate student in the veterinary clinical sciences, you could focus your studies on a clinical specialty such as molecular biology, biotechnology or integrated neuroscience. A particular discipline, such as small animal surgery, oncology, farm animal medicine, diagnostic imaging or equine medicine, might also be a specialty.
Some universities separate graduate studies into multiple paths of study and career choices. For example, if you are more interested in research, you might want to pursue a Master of Science or doctorate (Ph.D.) in the field of veterinary clinical sciences. Through a research-based master's program, you'd receive training in both teaching and clinical veterinary practices. Such programs typically require a thesis. A Ph.D. degree program features both classroom and lab settings. You must pass a candidacy examination, complete a dissertation and pass a final oral examination to earn the degree.
Another option is to earn a master's or Ph.D. degree, as well as completing a residency in a veterinary clinical discipline such as cardiology, small animal internal medicine, veterinary bioscience or preventive medicine. Programs combining master's and DVM degree programs are also available. Courses vary based on your interest. For instance, a concentration in veterinary preventive medicine and public health would include courses in veterinary public service, epidemiology of zoonoses, biostatistics and public health administration.