How to Become a Veterinarian

What To Do Now? Veterinarian Career Training

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Are you known for your love of animals and like the idea of spending your time devoted to animal care? Veterinarians are doctors to a wide range of animals--from pets to livestock and even exotic zoo animals. Veterinary schools or online veterinary training courses are avenues that can help you improve your skills and retrain for this career.

Vital Career Skills for Veterinarians

Veterinarians have a thorough knowledge of the anatomy, biology, and needs of animals. Some veterinarians work in private or group practices, primarily treating small animals, like dogs, cats, and birds. Other veterinarians specialize in large animals, such as livestock and larger zoo animals. These vets often spend a good part of their days traveling to farms or visiting the zoos and circuses that house these animals.

To become a vet, you should have an interest in science, an ability to communicate with others, and, of course, a love for animals. Veterinarians should be compassionate and careful with their patients. As you develop your career skills, you'll learn the specific needs of different animals as well as how to care for each of them. Vets give shots, treat broken bones, administer medications and deal with almost as wide a spectrum of problems as doctors do for humans. Vets can also become involved in research regarding animals, their problems, and treatments. Because people will continue to have pets and livestock, veterinary medicine should continue to be a stable career in most any economy.

Career Advice for Animal Lovers: Veterinary Medicine

Retraining as a veterinarian requires entrance into a special veterinary school. Whether at a traditional campus or through online veterinarian training courses, these focused programs help you develop the career skills necessary to succeed in the field. Previous education, like a bachelor's degree in a related field, is usually required. After you finish your advanced coursework, you will continue to improve your skills through internships and supervised experience. If you think you would enjoy spending your days with animals and are willing to work hard, a career in veterinary medicine could be a perfect fit for you.

Career Outlook

  • Private Practice. 74 percent of veterinarians work in veterinary services industry. About 18% are self employed.
  • Get Your License. Before they can practice, veterinarians need to pass the 8-hour North American Veterinary Licensing Exam
  • Stay Dedicated. It can take up to 8 years of schooling and a 3- to 4-year residency before veterinarians can begin to practice veterinary medicine
  • Median Annual Salary. In May 2013, the veterinarians earned a median annual salary of $96,140 with top 10% making more than $149,530.
  • States with Highest Employment. California, Texas, Florida, New York, Illinois.
  • Top Paying States. Hawaii, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, California.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, veterinarians
Bureau of Labor Statistics, veterinarians, May 2013 Wages