up close photo of vet holding dog

So You Want to be a Veterinarian?

Are you scientifically-minded and passionate about the health and well-being of animals? If so, vet medicine could be the perfect career choice for you!

Veterinary medicine offers a broad variety of career opportunities. The majority of veterinarians work in private small, large or mixed animal clinical practices diagnosing and treating illnesses of animals and maintaining their health. Many other veterinarians practice with county, state and federal governments, universities, private industry, zoos, the U.S. military, and wildlife organizations.

Prospective veterinarians must graduate from a 4-year program at an accredited college of veterinary medicine with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M. or V.M.D.) degree and obtain a license to practice. There are 30 colleges in 27 States that meet accreditation standards set by the Council on Education of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).  Many of these colleges do not require a bachelor’s degree for entrance; but all require a significant number of credit hours—ranging from 45 to 90 semester hours—at the undergraduate level. However, most of the students admitted have completed an undergraduate program. Please note that all states require individuals to pass the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination and some states also require state-specific exams to cover their laws and regulations.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of veterinarians is projected to grow 9 percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations.  Growth is also expected in areas such as food and animal safety, where organizations work to prevent foodborne contamination and diseases in animals; public health, where organizations work to protect the health of an entire population; and disease control. To view employment data on veterinarians in the US, click here.

*Adopted from literature of the Bureau of Labor Statistics.