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Veterinary Medicine School: Vet Colleges and Careers

Veterinary medicine is a specialized area of animal and pet care, and veterinarian colleges prepare students for a variety of roles in research, medicinal administration, and treatment of both animals and humans. Veterinarian schools train students to work with pets, zoo animals, laboratory animals, and livestock. Specialized practitioners may choose to work exclusively at farms or ranches, while others may choose to work at an animal care facility or open up their own veterinarian medicine practice. Studying veterinarian science at veterinarian school offers multiple opportunities within the field, but admission to veterinarian colleges can be especially competitive. After rigorous training and education, many veterinarians choose to open their own clinics or work independently on a consultant basis. Others choose to work in research and developments in veterinarian medicine.

Why Study Veterinary Medicine?

Veterinary medicine offers a diverse and changing field in healthcare for both animals and humans, and many students of veterinary schools enhance their education by specializing in a particular field. Veterinary colleges are designed to provide both clinical experience and knowledge training in various specialties. Graduates of veterinary schools are able to diagnose illnesses, reduce pain, and help cure diseases for animals suffering from various conditions.

Veterinarians are generally responsible for:

  • Diagnosing animal diseases
  • Treating injured or sick animals
  • Advising pet owners on appropriate animal care
  • Reviewing veterinary medicine publications and research results
  • Treating animals with medical equipment and sometimes sophisticated laboratories
  • Contributing to human health
  • Food safety testing
  • Quarantining animals

Skills Developed in Veterinarian School

A prospective veterinarian must be comfortable working with a variety of animals and owners, and learn how to administer and diagnose illnesses. Veterinary school training offers students a chance to gain skills in bonding with pets and animals of all sizes. Even when a veterinarian career leads to a private practice, or treatment of only small or large animals, some important skills needed include:

  • Working with a wide range of sophisticated medical equipment

  • Working long hours, both in a lab setting and on location when needed

  • Getting along with pet owners

  • Forming strong bonds with pets

  • Strong communication and business skills

  • Being able to promote their private practice

Programs and Courses at Veterinary School and Veterinary College

Students interested in pursuing veterinary medicine can choose from a variety of programs and courses at veterinary school. Veterinary schools offer the basic training for a lifelong career in the field, and specializations may include research, veterinary medicine administration, and studies in veterinarian science.

Common programs offered at veterinarian colleges include:

  • Pre Veterinary Education
  • Undergraduate programs
  • Graduate programs
  • Faculty Research
  • Veterinarian medicine counseling

Each veterinary college may also offer specialized studies and departments including:

  • Endocrine & Metabolism Research
  • Companion Animal Initiative programs
  • Center for Agriculture & Food Security
  • Disaster Animal Response programs
  • Humans & Animal Relationships
  • Rural Veterinary Services

Common courses offered at veterinary school, veterinary colleges, and vet school include:

  • General Biology
  • Genetics
  • Animal Breeding
  • Qualitative Chemistry
  • Biochemistry, including modern medicine practices
  • Statistics
  • Social studies and sciences
  • Animal nutrition

Training and Course Requirements for a Veterinary License and a Veterinarian Career

While an undergraduate degree offers basic training in veterinary medicine, a veterinarian must complete other requirements in order to earn a license. They will need to earn a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from and accredited college of veterinary medicine in addition to completing state-administered licensure requirements. Veterinarian colleges offer a variety of colleges and courses of study, but admission to a veterinarian school for graduate work can be very competitive. Admission to veterinary school requires a strong educational track record, in addition to passing the Veterinary College Admission Test (VCAT). The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is another option for some veterinary colleges, and an internship or related experience may also play a role in admissions.

Formal experience in a clinical setting is especially helpful for prospective graduates of vet school or those interested in a long-term career in veterinarian science. Formal experience allows students to demonstrate their knowledge and learning, and can take place in a supervised setting such as a health science clinic, veterinarian laboratory, or even within an agribusiness department.

All 50 states and the District of Columbia require licensure of registered veterinarians, and these are available after successful completion of the D.V.M. degree. Most states also require an additional examination and testing for clinical competency, and a licensed veterinarian must also pursue continuing education in order to to keep their license.

Veterinarian Career Earning Potential and Employment Prospects

Veterinarian career prospects look promising as the employment of veterinarians through 2014 is expected to grow as fast as average. Vet school training offers students a chance to open up their own clinical practice if they do not choose to work in an animal hospital or clinic. The growth of pet owners who have the ability to obtain pet health insurance and make regular visits to the vet make a veterinarian career an attractive employment opportunity. Those who prefer to work in rural or isolated areas may choose to become large-animal veterinarians where they work exclusively at a farm or other animal care facility. Those interested in raising public awareness about veterinary health issues may also choose to work with the Federal Government or related nonprofit agencies.

Median annual earnings for those pursuing a veterinarian career were $66,590 in 2004. Related occupations include:

  • Animal care and service workers

  • Veterinary technologists

  • Veterinary technicians

  • Vet school researchers

  • Veterinarian science instructors

  • Veterinarian medicine researchers

  • Veterinary college professors


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