Veterinary Certification Courses and Schools

Earning a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree and becoming licensed are requirements to work as a veterinarian. Find out about specialty certifications you can consider when you become a licensed veterinarian. Schools offering Animal Care degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

A passion for animals and for the people who take care of them is at the core of a veterinarian's own heart. A day saving the life of one animal while caring for another with limited options might be typical in the field of veterinary science. Veterinarians require a professional doctoral degree and state licensure; optional certifications allow for specialization with specific animals or issues.

Degree Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from American Veterinary Medical Association
Courses Biology, organic chemistry, health and reproduction, genetics, surgical and radiological sciences, immunology, physics
Certifications Eleven recognized veterinary specialties by the American Board of Veterinary Specialities (ABVS), among others

Which Certifications are Available?

Affiliated with the AVMA, the American Board of Veterinary Specialties (ABVS) recognizes 11 different veterinary certifications. Other recognized organizations that provide certifications include the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine (ACLAM) and the American College of Veterinary Microbiologists (ACVM). Certifications offered by the ABVS include:

  • Avian Practice
  • Canine and Feline Practice
  • Dairy Practice
  • Equine Practice
  • Feline Practice
  • Food Animal Practice
  • Shelter Medicine Practice
  • Beef Cattle Practice
  • Swine Health Management
  • Reptile and Amphibian Practice
  • Exotic Companion Mammal Practice

Where Do I Get the Right Education?

You must become licensed in order to become a veterinarian in the U.S., which requires you to obtain a DVM degree. You must earn this degree from a college that is accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). There are currently 30 AVMA-accredited schools located in 27 U.S. states. Veterinary schools often require you to take courses in biology, organic chemistry, physics, physiology and genetics. You must complete all pre-veterinary program requirements before seeking a DVM. Most DVM programs can be completed in four years and include clinical rotations. While in veterinary school, you may take courses focusing on the following:

  • Veterinary pathology
  • Veterinary parasitology
  • Animal health and disease
  • Small animal and large animal surgery
  • Veterinary public health
  • Immunology
  • Principles of anethesia
  • Diagnostic imaging

What Do I Need to Become Certified?

Certifications are offered to DVM graduates who work in sub-specialties within the veterinary field. The requirements for taking each certification examination usually include earning your DVM. Other common requirements for certification include additional veterinary schooling, professional experience or sponsorship by another professional in that specialty.

You also need to re-certify to maintain veterinary certifications. Re-certification is generally done by taking continuing education credits in your specialty. Common ways to earn continuing education credits include taking classes and attending conferences.

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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