Veterinary Medicine Schools Colleges & Universities

First requirement for becoming a veterinarian? A great love of animals.

Veterinary Medicine Colleges: Higher Education Path to a Fulfilling Career: Veterinarians work with animals, sometimes specializing in species from dogs to cats to horses to all large animals, treating their patients the way pediatricians treat children who can't verbalize.

Degrees in veterinary medicine don't just lead private practice, however--though about 80 percent of veterinarians work in private practice, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Some use what they've learned in veterinary medicine schools to research human and animal health problems where those problems may overlap, to further knowledge of medical science where it relates to animals, or even to protect humans from animal-borne diseases.

Veterinary Medicine Schools: Veterinarians need to be licensed in every state, as well as to have one or more degrees from one of the accredited veterinary medicine colleges. There are 28 veterinary medicine colleges in the U.S. from which you can graduate with four-year degrees in veterinary medicine which meet accreditation standards from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). A Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree is required before you can practice animal medicine.

Veterinary Medicine Colleges Admissions Prerequisites: Different veterinary medicine schools have different prerequisites for admission, which may vary from a bachelor's degree to a certain number of credit hours at undergraduate level. Admission to veterinarian medicine schools is competitive, so a bachelor's degree can boost your chances of getting in.

Most pre-veterinarian medicine courses concentrate on science classes, so typically students will study courses like

  • • Biochemistry
  • • Biology
  • • Animal nutrition
  • • Microbiology
  • • Zoology

Some courses emphasize advanced math classes. In addition to the pre-vet courses, colleges require test scores from one of the following exams

  • • GRE (Graduate Record Examination)
  • • VCAT (Veterinary College Admission Test)
  • • MCAT (Medical College Admission Test)

Every state and Washington, DC require licensure of veterinarians.

When considering applicants to veterinary medicine schools, boards take into account personal qualifications. Applicants who want to go into private practice should understand business and have the ability to work with humans. Applicants moving toward research should have high scores in sciences and maths. Every applicant to veterinary medicine colleges should love animals.

Working as a Veterinarian: Most veterinarians (80 percent, according to BLS) work in private practice. A large number work in an internship between veterinary medicine college and entering into practice, and many work for established group practices before going out on their own, which requires the ability to buy, rent or lease office space, and to finance equipment and staff.

Some veterinarians work as meat and poultry inspectors, or with animal welfare organizations, or as epidemiologists. The U.S. Public Health Service and some branches of the U.S. Armed Forces employ veterinarians. While competition is strong to get into veterinarian medicine schools, employment is expected to increase much faster than average (BLS) and job opportunities are excellent. Employment for individuals with degrees in veterinary medicine should see employment increase by 33 percent from 2008 through 2018.

Median annual wages for veterinarians ran $80,510 in 2009 (BLS). Top paying industries for the veterinary occupation included medical and diagnostic laboratories, and scientific, research, and development services.

If you love animals and you're looking for a career that allows you to work helping animals, degrees in veterinary medicine could start you on your way to a great career.

The writer Emily Kerr is a Northern Nevada freelance writer who writes about education. Her background is in journalism, and she writes about her passions.

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