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Becoming a Veterinarian: How a Pre-Veterinary Major Can Lead to Your Dream Career

Pre-veterinary student pursuing her dream job with a laborador dog patient.

Fri, 04/05/2019 - 3:05pm

How to become a veterinarian

There's more to National Pet Day than cute pictures of dogs and cats on Instagram. On this special day, we pay homage to the animals that bring us so much joy. But while most pet lovers will spend April 11th posting adorable snapshots online or enjoying extra cuddles, a few especially passionate individuals will spend their day caring for animals in need.

Veterinarians deserve praise not only for their current efforts, but also for the years they dedicated towards their training — first throughout their undergraduate veterinary program and then with doctorate-level studies. Have you ever wondered how to become a veterinarian?  If you’re interested in following in their footsteps read on to discover if you have what it takes to succeed as a veterinarian.

Key Qualities of a Successful Veterinarian

A deep love and respect for animals lies at the heart of every veterinarian, but this is only the beginning. Ideally, aspiring veterinarians will possess — or work hard to gain — these key qualities and abilities:

  • Compassion — Veterinarians must demonstrate compassion not only for the animals they treat, but also for their owners.
  • Manual dexterity — Precision is key for veterinarians, particularly as they treat injuries or perform surgery. Intricate procedures call for exceptional dexterity.
  • Effective communication — Veterinarians work closely with vet techs and other professionals. They also interact with farmers, ranchers, and pet owners. Without proper communication skills, they might struggle to accurately convey essential information such as diagnoses and treatment options.
  • Aptitude for and interest in science — As a pre veterinary studies major or veterinary student, you'll spend years studying biology, chemistry, and physics. Think twice about your veterinary aspirations if you hate math and science.  This is the foundation most veterinary schools require.
  • Management skills — Depending on your preferred career trajectory, you may eventually manage a lab or clinic. While many veterinary hospitals hire practice managers, leadership and management skills remain critical to the success modern veterinarians achieve.

How to Become a Veterinarian

If you possess the qualities outlined above, your professional future may lie in veterinary science. First, however, you'll need to devote years of your life to academia. Your prep work begins long before you enter veterinary school. First, you'll need to gain a solid grasp of preveterinary science.

You might be asking yourself “what is pre veterinary science?” Well, as a pre-veterinary student, you will gain the core knowledge that equips you for further veterinary studies. Your program should emphasize chemistry and biology — key subjects that will come into play in veterinary school. Pre-veterinary major coursework will also help you develop important communication and critical thinking skills.

Following graduation, you'll be ready to enter into a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) program, which will grant you the in-depth skills and knowledge needed for success as a veterinarian. While today's veterinary programs are highly competitive, you'll stand a much better chance of gaining admission if you previously had the foresight to pursue a pre veterinary college track as an undergraduate.

In graduate school, you'll complete a rigorous curriculum that initially emphasizes biomedical sciences and laboratory instruction. Later, you'll gain practical knowledge via clinical experience. Upon graduation, you'll encounter a wide variety of career opportunities that go beyond the clinics you might associate with veterinary work. For instance, many veterinarians travel to farms to treat livestock while others prefer research-oriented work in laboratories or universities. Or you can choose to go in a whole different direction and perform safety inspections in food processing plants.

No matter your preferred work setting, you'll be impressed by the array of job opportunities available. The field is quickly growing, with the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting the expected employment growth at 19 percent — well above the national average of 7 percent. Additionally, the BLS cites a median annual veterinarian salary of $90,420.

If you love animals and are willing to dedicate your life to their well-being, you could be an ideal candidate for the veterinary profession. Get ready to enter a rewarding career track that allows you to make a difference every day.

Getting into a veterinary school is highly competitive. Get the advantage that UC offers its pre veterinary studies majors. With advisors in the two disciplines traditionally needed for veterinary school admission, they understand the procedures and entrance requirements to become a veterinarian. See if University of the Cumberlands is the right fit to help you jump start your veterinary career. For more information on our preveterinary science track, visit us on the web, or call us at 877.713.8767.