April 10, 2013
The first series of blogs will describe various jobs available in the veterinary fields. We will focus first on veterinary school.
I frequently hear comments from people who wanted to be a vet until they found out what was involved and from kids who are dreaming of becoming a veterinarian when they grow up. A lot of vets, myself included, knew that being a veterinarian is all they ever want to do. I think it is the greatest career in the world. So how does the dream come true?
Getting good grades is a must. Most applicants to vet school have finished their bachelors degree. Most major in a science, but the major is not as important as the grades. Some vet schools require the GRE and some want MCAT instead.
Currently, there are only 28 vet schools in the United States. There are far more applicants than there are spaces in the schools. The school admission committee looks at grades and test scores. They also look at the applicants experience with animals such as work experience, 4H, FFA, and volunteering. They also look for leadership and communication skills. More information is available at www.avma.org or www.AAVMC.org.
Once accepted, vet school is 4 hard years of intense studying. Most vets have spent 4 years in undergrad and another 4 years in vet school. Usually a large amount of student loan debt has accrued over those 8 years.
Some vets will focus on either small animal, large animal, equine, or mixed practice. Some will go on to specialize in a specific area of interest such as dentistry or internal medicine.
Is it worth all the years in school? YES! Every day is different. I get to spend hours petting animals every day. It is a great feeling to be able to make a sick pet feel better. I get to be a dentist, a surgeon, a pediatrician, a family doctor, a dermatologist, an internist, a cardiologist, and much much more! I can refer difficult cases to a board certified specialist if necessary. It’s is not all roses. There are some difficult days. Some of my patients don’t like me as much as I like them. There are some diseases that can’t be fixed. But the positives far outweigh the negatives. Being a veterinarian is a fantastic career!