Employment of veterinarians is projected to grow 19 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. Overall job prospects are expected to be very good.
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 PhD program along with the DVM program that will open the door for more career opportunities.
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. Additionally, the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges provides information for applicants regarding the VMCAS.
Due to the number of science prerequisites required to apply to Veterinary schools, most applicants are science majors. Unlike most medical schools, many veterinary schools require more biology courses.
The minimum course requirements for most U.S. veterinary schools are listed below with their AU equivalent courses. Please check APVMA.org or specific vet schools for any additional specific courses requirements.
|Calculus I||MATH 151|
|Statistics||BIOL 226; POLS/SOCI 330; PSYC 220|
|Physics I||PHYS 111 or 125|
|Physics II||PHYS 112 or 126|
|General Chemistry I||CHEM 105|
|General Chemistry II||CHEM 106|
|Organic Chemistry I||CHEM 315|
|Organic Chemistry II||CHEM 316|
|Biological Foundations (requirement for Biology sequence)||BIOL 150|
|Cell Biology||BIOL 211|
|Structure and Function||BIOL 213|
Some schools require or highly recommended exposure to advanced science courses, particularly, comparative vertebrate anatomy and animal physiology, animal behavior and animal nutrition, as well as speech.
Experience with animals, particularly in a veterinary practice or biomedical research, is crucial to your application. Competitive applicants normally have engaged in two or more areas of veterinary--or a combination of veterinary and animal experiences--(e.g. small animal, large animal, research, food animal, production, exotic, aquatic, wildlife, zoological medicine, etc.) with substantial depth of experience in at least one area. Successful applicants usually have 400 hours or more of veterinary experience. Animal experience can include working with livestock, breeding or showing various species, working at a zoo, aquarium or pet shop, or volunteering at an animal shelter.
The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required by most veterinary schools, and some also require the Biology GRE. The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is also accepted by some schools in place of the GRE.
The Veterinary Medical College Application Service (VMCAS) is sponsored by the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC). This common application simplifies the process of applying to veterinary school so applicants can apply to the vast majority of AVMA/COE accredited colleges in the US and abroad, including 29 of the 30 US veterinary institutions, two Canadian, two Scottish, one British, one Irish, one New Zealand, two Australian, and two Caribbean veterinary schools. The application requires a minimum of three (maximum of 6) letters of reference. One of these letters must be from a veterinarian who can describe and assess your relevant veterinary experience. Applicants are also required to have one academic letter of evaluation. Additional letters(s) may be from other significant experience(s) (veterinary, animal, and/or other experiences).
Submit application materials during the summer before your senior year on the VMCAS website. Applications are usually due in the middle of September. Late applications are NOT accepted. Therefore, the GRE will need to be taken before August. You may still complete some of your prerequisites, but most Veterinary colleges require that a majority of them be completed before applying.
"Before starting this [APEX] experience, I knew I wanted to be a veterinarian but was unsure of what path I would follow within the profession. Performing this research inspired me to pursue a more ..."