What Are Veterinary Studies?

Veterinary medicine promotes the health and welfare of all animal species. Because there are so many kinds of animals, studies to become a veterinarian or veterinary technician are varied and intensive. Keep reading to find out what it takes to pursue a career in veterinary studies. Schools offering Animal Care degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Veterinary Medical Studies Information

In order to practice as a veterinarian, you must complete a 4-year Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) and obtain a state license. The DVM program gives you a solid background in caring for many types of animals through classroom work and hands-on experience. You'll have several options in which to specialize, such as small animals or livestock.

Important Facts About This Area of Study

Common Courses Animal anatomy, parasitology, radiology and cell biology
Prerequisites Experience working with veterinarians and animals in a clinical setting; appropriate scores on Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) or Graduate Record Examination (GRE) for admission to DVM program
Concentrations Primate care, equine reproduction or specific types of surgical procedures
Licensure North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE), via the National Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners

Prerequisites

A bachelor's degree is typically not a necessity to apply to veterinary school, but programs typically require that you complete a minimum of 80-90 semester hours of undergraduate education. Many veterinary medicine prerequisite courses are the same classes required for those applying to medical school. You'll usually need to have studied statistics, physics, biology and chemistry. As a prospective veterinary student, you also might be required to take studies in zoology, animal science and animal nutrition before applying to a program.

Graduate Education

The DVM program begins with a number of foundation courses. Depending on your veterinary medicine focus, you might also take courses in equine, fish, canine, feline or large animal anatomy, drug therapies, shelter medicine, toxicology or community health. A critical foundation course can explore how to diagnose animal illnesses. This course comes into play when you begin your clinical courses.

Your final two years of the program will be spent taking clinical clerkships that focus on what type of veterinary medicine you want to practice. Clerkships in large animal or production medicine could take you to a farm or stable to work with large production animals, such as cattle, sheep or swine. You'll learn how to perform examinations, give vaccines, conduct reproductive evaluations and assist with births. Small animal clerkships are often taken at practices or clinics, where you can learn to perform routine examinations, interact with families and practice medical management for family pets.

Other advanced courses include large and small animal surgery, emergency care, clinical imaging and anesthesiology.

Licensure Information

After finishing an accredited veterinary medicine program, all states require that you pass the proper exam. Scores can be transferred to your state licensing boards through the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (www.aavsb.org). Some states require additional testing.

Veterinary Support Studies

Like all physicians, veterinarians rely on a dedicated support staff. Veterinary technicians help with much of the clinical work in a private practice or clinic, performing blood tests and other diagnostic exams. They also help with X-rays, record patient histories and engage in family interactions.

Associate degree programs in veterinary technology usually last two years and first focus on courses like biology, chemistry and math. Advanced courses teach you how to assist with examinations and perform imaging procedures. You'll also learn about pharmacology and anesthesiology, in addition to clinical and surgical procedures. Internships can show you how to perform many of the functions at an office, including nursing care, laboratory work and advanced radiological equipment use. Depending on your state, you might have to earn licensure or certification by passing an examination after you complete an accredited veterinary technology program.

Pay and Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, veterinarians had a median annual wage of $87,590 in May 2014, while veterinary technicians made $31,070. The BLS noted that employment of veterinarians was expected to grow by 12% from 2012-22, while employment of veterinary technicians would increase by about 30% in that same period.

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:

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  • Kaplan University

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    • Master
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  • Penn Foster

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  • Regent University

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  • Capella University

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  • Southern New Hampshire University

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  • South University

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    Popular programs at South University:

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  • Grand Canyon University

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    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

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  • The George Washington University

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  • Penn Foster High School

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  • CDI College

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    • Anywhere: Anjou, Burnaby, Edmonton, Laval, Longueuil, Montreal, Point Claire, Richmond, Surrey, Winnipeg
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