What Are the Education Requirements to Be a Veterinarian?

To become a veterinarian, you need to earn a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree and obtain a professional license in your state. Keep reading to learn more. Schools offering Animal Care degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Required Education

To become a veterinarian, you'll need to complete several years of education and training. You'll need to earn a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree and obtain a license. Many DVM graduates also choose to continue their training through internships and residency programs.

Important Facts About Education for Veterinarians

Prerequisites High school diploma (for undergraduate degrees)
Online Availability Undergraduate only
Continuing Education Courses are available for professionals seeking training in specific areas
Possible Careers Laboratory animal caretaker, animal care & service worker, zoologist

Undergraduate Degree

Earning a bachelor's degree can improve your chances of gaining admittance to veterinary college; however, some veterinary schools admit applicants who have a certain number of undergraduate credits, rather than a bachelor's degree. Commonly required courses include animal biology, microbiology, animal nutrition, zoology, and systemic physiology. The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges provides a useful table that allows students to check the requirements for individual colleges (www.aavmc.org).

Veterinary College Admission

Entrance into veterinary college is highly competitive. In addition to high grades and letters of recommendation, prior experience working with veterinarians or scientists could give you an advantage over other applicants. Depending on the school, you must also gain an acceptable score on the Medical College Admission Test, Veterinary College Admission Test, or Graduate Record Examination.

Doctorate Degree

Earning your Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree typically takes four years of study after undergraduate school. Coursework is divided between classroom lectures, laboratory sessions, and clinical studies. You can expect to take courses like infectious diseases, immunology, pharmacology, and parasitology. In the final year, you'll spend most of your time completing clinical rotations in various specialties of veterinary medicine.

Licensing and Postgraduate Training

After earning a DVM degree, you'll need to obtain a license by passing the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination. Other licensing requirements are determined by individual states. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), many graduates also choose to complete a one-year internship after earning their license to gain experience in the field. If you're interested in practicing in a specialty of veterinarian medicine, you may consider completing a 3-year or 4-year residency program to become board-certified.

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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