How to Become a Veterinarian
Veterinarian Job Details
Skills and Qualities of a Veterinarian
Leading Organizations for Veterinarians
Top Cities for Veterinarian Jobs
Other Careers of Interest
Veterinarians are required to graduate from an accredited college of veterinary medicine with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree (D.V.M. or V.M.D.). Veterinarians are also required to have a state license. Many of the doctorate programs do not require applicants to have a Bachelor's degree for admission into their programs. But they may require a significant number of science prerequisite courses (45 - 90 semester hours) at the undergraduate level. Candidates with a Bachelor's degree generally have a better chance for acceptance into a program. Applicants must also submit scores from their Graduate Record Examination (GRE), the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), the Veterinary College Admission Test (VCAT), depending on the requirements of the college to which they are applying.
Some graduates will begin their practice after they receive their license, and some may choose to enter a one year internship which generally will lead to a higher paying position. Those wishing to receive a board certification will have to complete a 3 to 4 year residency program that provides intensive training in one of the 20 AVMA veterinary specialties. Due to the limited number of universities that offer a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Degree, it may be difficult to obtain acceptance to one of the accredited universities. Training and good grades are very important in this highly competitive environment.
Veterinarians may care for health of pets, livestock, and animals in zoos, racetracks, and laboratories. Some conduct clinical research on human and animal health problems. Most veterinarians diagnose animal health problems, vaccinate against diseases such as rabies, medicate animals suffering from infections or illnesses, treat and dress wounds, set fractures, perform surgery, and advise about feeding, behavior, and breeding.
Some common job titles are Veterinarian (Vet), Veterinary Medicine Doctor (DVM), Small Animal Veterinarian, Large Animal Veterinarian, Staff Veterinarian, Companion Animal Practitioner, Emergency Veterinarian, Medical Director, Mixed Animal Veterinarian, and Veterinary Intern.
Veterinarians should have a love for animals and the ability to communicate well with others. They must be able to deal with difficult matters, respond to medical emergencies, and be willing to work during non traditional working hours.
Most veterinarian schools have a high expectation of academic achievement.
Employment of veterinarians is expected to increase 35% over the 2006 - 16 decade. Employment opportunities are good in both cities and suburbs, but better in the rural areas because less people tend to compete for those positions.
Dr. James K. Payne of Tarpon Springs, Florida, received the AVMA Public Service Award for outstanding contributions to public health and regulatory veterinary medicine. He has assisted U.S. Congress with developing vital language used in the Wholesome Meat Act of 1967 and the Wholesome Poultry Act of 1968. He was a founding member of the American Association of Food Hygiene Veterinarians. He is also a diplomat of the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine (www.avma.org).
The American Veterinary Medical Foundation is the national foundation for veterinary medicine and animal health. It is designed to promote animal well-being and enhance medicine research efforts.
Phoenix, Arizona is the top city for general practice veterinarians. Riverside, California, Columbus, Ohio, Chicago, Illinois, Indianapolis, Indiana, and Los Angeles, California are also good cities for veterinarian careers.
Metropolitan areas with the highest concentration of veterinarians are Ames, Indiana, Ocala, Florida, Lawrence, Kansas, Lexington-Fayette, Kentucky, and Fort Collins-Loveland, Colorado.
Top paying metropolitan areas for veterinarians are Newark New Jersey, Union Pennsylvania, Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk Cincinnati, Oakland-Fremont-Hayward, California.
Job prospects are better for veterinarians who specialize in farm animals because of lower earnings in the farm animal specialty. Veterinarians with training in food safety and security, animal health and welfare, and public health and epidemiology should have best opportunities for a career in the Federal Government.
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