What Is a DVM Degree?

If you are interested in becoming a veterinarian, then you must earn a DVM, or Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. A DVM program typically lasts four years and features in-depth training in animal sciences. You can also learn medical skills with an emphasis on applying them towards non-human members of the animal kingdom. Read on to find out more details about DVM degree programs. Schools offering Animal Care degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Degree Information

To become a veterinarian, you must first earn a DVM and acquire state licensure. It takes approximately four years to complete a DVM program, not including your undergraduate credits. Typically, the first three years in a DVM program are pre-clinical and focus on coursework and lab skills, while the fourth year presents you with essential hands-on learning through clinical experiences.

Important Facts About DVM Programs

Possible Careers Other than through private practice, employment can be found in public health, food supply medicine, shelter medicine, and corporate veterinary medicine.
Online Availability While full programs are not available online, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine/Master of Public Health joint degrees offer core courses online.
Continuing Education Certification and certification courses are available through the Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy.
Programs Fellowship programs are available for graduate students.

Admission Requirements

While you are not required to possess a bachelor's degree in order to apply to a DVM program, you do need a certain number of undergraduate credit hours, usually 45-90, depending on the school. These credits should include courses in biology, chemistry, biochemistry, physics, genetics, animal nutrition and other math and science-related other courses.

You also must complete the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) prior to applying for admission to a DVM program. Admissions requirements at some schools can include previous experience working with animals.

Program Coursework

The curriculum of a DVM program focuses on advanced courses in various areas of animal science. Anatomy, histology, bacteriology, embryology, immunology and many other life sciences are examined from a veterinary perspective. You will also gain medical skills in areas like anesthesiology, physical examination, surgery and pharmacology with relation to animal applications. Many schools also allow you to choose an area of emphasis, such as small animals, equines or food animals, which will largely dictate your future career path. The last year of study is mostly dedicated to clinical internships or clerkships, in which you receive field experience in a facility dedicated to your chosen area of emphasis.

Employment and Salary Info

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the median annual salary of veterinarians was reported to be $93,830 in May 2018 (www.bls.gov). The BLS also predicted an occupational growth of 19% for veterinarians between the years 2016-2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. Increases in consumers' pet-related spending are expected to drive employment in the veterinary services industry, which employs most veterinarians.


All states require that veterinarians be licensed. Licensure calls for a DVM from an accredited program and passing the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination. Some states require an additional exam. State and federal agencies may have other requirements.

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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