Your Frequently Asked Questions about Veterinarians Answered

Here are a few questions that vets get a lot from the public.

How Do You Become A Vet?

Deciding to become a veterinarian is a big decision, and will require a big commitment to do so. It is imperative to have a high school diploma or a GED and to attend undergraduate school in a field that will help you apply for Vet school later. There is no specific bachelor’s degree that must be obtained to be accepted to Vet school, but there are degrees that will help make sure you are accepted. It is a really good idea to find a college that has a program that offers pre-requisites that are needed to be accepted to Veterinary College. Post Graduate studies for a vet take about 4 years to complete, before taking boards to gain licensure.

Make sure you take courses that focus on life sciences if you want to apply for Veterinary Training as a post-graduate. A well-rounded curriculum that includes advanced science courses, like biochemistry, organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, and physics is ideal. Making good grades is a big plus and shows that you are a hard worker who will be able to make it through the challenges of Vet training.

Most Veterinary Colleges require you to have at least 400 hours of time working with animals to be accepted as a student, so look for a part-time job at a vet’s office, an animal shelter, cattle ranch, or another place that you can gain valuable knowledge working hands-on with animals.

How Can I Begin Working With Animals?

If you want to try to work with animals before committing to a vet tech school or starting the process to begin vet training, you can do so in a few ways. Luckily, these are all great ways to help your community, as well:

  • One great way to work with animals in need is to volunteer at your local animal shelter. These facilities are often relying on volunteer help, as well as donations, and you will be helping the stray pet communities in your area directly while getting a good taste of what it is like to work with animals full time.
  • Ask if you can shadow your own pet’s veterinarian. If you have a good relationship with your pet’s vet, this is a great way to learn more about working with animals.
  • Working at a livestock farm is one more great way to gain experience working with animals, especially if you want to work with large animals like horses or cattle.

What Kind of License(s) Do You Need To Be a Vet?

Another question many people ask a vet about is how veterinarians are licensed. All vets in the United States have to be licensed state by state to practice. In other countries, the legalities vary about licensure.

In every state in the US, a state license is needed to practice in that state. If you live near a state line, you might want to get licensed in both states you live near. In order to apply to be licensed to practice veterinary medicine, you need to graduate from an accredited College of Veterinary Medicine to get a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree (DVM), and also pass the boards for vets, or the NAVLE (North American Veterinary Licensing Examination).

Because of the nature of the job, there might be additional accreditations needed, depending on the vet’s knowledge base. Some vets might work mainly with household pets, and others with cattle or horses. There are zoo animals and other exotic animals that require specific hands-on knowledge to be adept at, and so there is extended education and testing that involves working closely with various kinds of animals.

Just like other doctors, vets may specialize in fields such as trauma care, EENT, surgery, dentistry, and more.