Schools for Aspiring Animal Specialists

Animal specialists are veterinarians who focus on a specific area of veterinary medicine, procedure or type of animal. Review the educational path to becoming a veterinarian, and get info on choosing a school for your veterinary medicine studies. Learn about some specialization options, like veterinary dermatology or avian medicine, and find out how residency programs work. Check the requirements for becoming certified in an animal specialty. Schools offering Animal Care degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

You can study veterinary technology and animal science through a number of undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Most widely available are the doctoral programs which typically last about four years; some might include specialties and/or residencies.

What Steps Do I Take to Become an Animal Specialist?

Before you can become a specialist, you must earn a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.) degree. You become a D.V.M. by completing a 4-year program through an accredited college of veterinary medicine. In general, you're eligible for admission to a college of veterinary medicine if you hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited undergraduate institution.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), some veterinary programs do not require a bachelor's degree if you've completed between 45 and 90 semester hours of study at the undergraduate level. You can check with individual schools to learn more about admissions requirements.

Which School Offer Bachelor's Degrees for Animal Specialists?

There are plenty of bachelor's degrees available for potential animal specialists. Consider these 4-year programs offered in veterinary technology and veterinary science.

  • St. Petersburg College offers an online Bachelor of Applied Science (B.A.S.) degree program in Veterinary Technology
  • Becker College offers a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Veterinary Science
  • Michigan State University offers a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree program in Veterinary Technology

How Do I Choose a Veterinary Medicine School?

The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) can help you in your selection of schools. In 2011, the BLS noted there were 28 colleges in 26 states that were accredited by the Council on Education of the AVMA. Contact information for all of these schools, in addition to foreign veterinary schools, is listed at the websites of both the AAVMC and the AVMA.

What Are Some Specializations and How Do I Earn Them?

After earning your D.V.M., you can participate in an internship program. Generally lasting one year, an internship is a non-degree program that prepares you for entry into a residency program. Your internship can be in a specific area, such as large or small animal surgery, large or small animal medicine, emergency medicine or exotic medicine.

Residency programs are where you'll train for certification in a specialty. According to the BLS, there are 39 AVMA-approved veterinary specialties, including neurology, dentistry, pathology, preventative medicine, cardiology, equine internal medicine, avian medicine and oncology. Residency programs usually last from 2-3 years, depending on the requirements of the specialty.

Some schools offer you the opportunity to enroll in a post-D.V.M. Master of Science residency program. In addition to residency requirements, this type of program requires completion of master's-level courses and usually takes three years to complete. Like most residency programs, you'll need to successfully complete a 1-year internship or its equivalent in work experience prior to enrollment.

Which Schools Offer Master's Degrees for Animal Specialists?

Consider these master's degrees in animal science and veterinary medicine. Some schools which offer these programs also provide students with the opportunity to earn a doctorate.

  • Tufts University offers a Master of Science (M.S.) degree program in Animals and Public Policy
  • The Ohio State University offers a Master of Science (M.S.) degree program in Comparative and Veterinary Medicine
  • The University of California at Davis offers a Master of Preventative Veterinary Medicine (M.P.V.M.) degree program

Which Schools Offer Doctoral Degrees for Animal Specialists?

There are myriad options for doctorate degree programs in the field of veterinary medicine. Choose a program that suits your needs.

  • The Ohio State University offers a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree program in Comparative and Veterinary Medicine
  • The Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine offers a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.) degree program
  • Colorado State University offers a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.) degree program

Once I Complete My Residency, Am I Certified in That Specialty?

Once you successfully complete your residency requirements, you may be eligible to sit for a board certification examination. The AVMA American Board of Veterinary Specialties recognizes 21 veterinary specialty organizations that administer certification examinations in one or more specialty. You become certified in your specialty by completing the requirements set by the applicable specialty organization. You can investigate specific requirements at the AVMA website.

All veterinarians need to be state-licensed regardless of specialty. Though licensure requirements vary from state to state, you'll usually need to complete a D.V.M. program and pass the North American Veterinary Licensing Exam before receiving your veterinary license.

Students can study to become animal specialist through various programs at the doctorate level. Undergraduate degrees are also available, in addition to master's programs.

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:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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