When people hear the phrase “degree in animal care” their thoughts usually immediately turn to becoming a veterinarian. This is probably because veterinarians are vital to the health and survival of our furry friends and without them, our pets would be in big trouble. If you want to become a veterinarian, you definitely have to spend some time in college and earn a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree.
To do this, you must attend and graduate from an accredited program in veterinary medicine. Such a program will teach you to diagnose and treat medical conditions in animals. Most veterinary medicine programs are 4-year degree programs and will include both laboratory and clinical work.
Getting admitted to a veterinary medicine program requires you to have a Bachelor’s degree or at least a certain number of credits. It’s also a very competitive program to get into so you’ll want to make sure you do well in your undergraduate studies so you’ll have a better chance of getting in. Most programs prefer that you’ve done previous coursework in animal nutrition, genetics, biology, physics, and chemistry. You’ll also be required to submit your test scores from a graduate entrance exam like the Veterinary College Admission Test. Find the right animal care training college below to get started.
During your studies, you’ll complete coursework in animal medical care, and in other areas like business practices, ethics, and animal welfare. It’s during your final year of study that you’ll be able to specialize in something like oncology, surgery, or preventative medicine. Here are some courses you can expect to take while studying for your Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree:
Certification, Licensing and Continuing Education
Every state requires that all veterinarians be licensed. The minimum requirements for each state are that aspiring veterinarians graduate from an accredited veterinary medicine program and pass the North American Veterinary Licensing Exam.
Veterinarians can also try to obtain voluntary board certification through professional organizations like the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners and the American College of Veterinary Surgeons. In order to obtain these certifications, you’ll be required to complete three to four more years in a veterinary residency program. A lot of these professional organizations also offer veterinarians opportunities for continuing education too.
Becoming a veterinarian is definitely not the easiest thing you can try to achieve in the field of animal care. However, veterinarians tend to earn higher salaries than those employed in the other fields of the animal care industry. And, being able to help sick and wounded animals recover and live happy and healthy lives can be very rewarding. So, if you love animals and you have the ambition and dedication to stay in college an additional four years after you earn your Bachelor’s degree, earning a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree may be just the thing for you.