Students who enjoy working with both animals and people may want to consider a career in veterinary medicine. Along with the traditional role of veterinarian there are also several career paths available with a population perspective that will enable DVM graduates to work throughout the world improving the lives of people as well as animals. Such career options may be research in lab-animal medicine helping to identify and cure human disease; detect emerging diseases by working with such agencies as the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention; work to conserve endangered species; teaching farmers in developing countries about animal production and health; work in the food animal industry; and as teachers and professors. Several vet schools also offer a Ph.D. program along with the DVM program that will open the door for more career opportunities.
Curriculum and Career Planning
- Timeline - Students should refer to Alfred University's Pre-health Timeline and Checklist to assist them in career planning.
- College Major and Required Courses - There is no specific major that is required by veterinary schools; each school has its own set of prerequisite courses. It is best to check with the veterinary school you are interested in applying to and determine which classes are necessary. Students should complete the Pre-Vet Worksheet to assist them with program planning.
- Grades - Most veterinary schools require a letter grade of C- or better, higher grades are needed for an Early Acceptance Program. Pass/fail is generally not considered.
- The GRE Test - The GRE test is required for most veterinary schools (generally verbal and quantitative only) and practice tests are recommended. A free practice test is available.
- Experience - It is imperative that candidates for veterinary school get some experience in working with animals and it is generally recommended that candidates have experience with at least 3 species of animals. Examples of relevant experience might include working with or shadowing a veterinarian, working on a farm, wildlife refuge, animal shelter or zoo. The quantity and quality of the experience is supported by the letters of evaluations from supervisors.
- Extracurricular Activities - The well-rounded candidate will have demonstrated achievement outside of academic and animal-oriented activities. Most admission committees value research experience, community involvement, and volunteer work as well as desirable personality traits such as honesty, integrity, dependability and dedication.
- Credential File/Dossier - Alfred University's Career Development Center provides detailed instructions on preparing your credential file/dossier. In addition, there is a pre-health dossier checklist to make sure your credential file/dossier is complete.
The application process is specific to each school. Interested candidates should contact the schools they are applying to. Most veterinary schools accept applications at the end of the junior year of undergraduate work, however, some schools have an Early Acceptance Program that enables applicants to apply at the end of their sophomore year. The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges provides information for applicants.
- American Veterinary Medical Association
- Contact specific veterinary schools for specific information.