Published: Sep 06, 2008 08:24 PM
Modified: Sep 06, 2008 08:24 PM
We frequently receive questions about veterinary careers in general and the education required to become a veterinarian.
Here is some basic information on how one becomes a veterinarian and where you can go once you graduate from veterinary school:
Most veterinary schools have a set of required courses that must be completed before application to veterinary school. Once the courses are completed some schools require a standardized test (GRE, MCAT), letters of recommendation and an interview to apply.
A pre-veterinary undergraduate focus is not necessarily required to apply to veterinary school. My first-year veterinary class included a chiropractor, and English major and a nuclear engineer.
Veterinary school lasts four years and is very intense. Once veterinary school is completed a veterinarian can begin practice immediately or begin an internship and consider specializing. Veterinary specialties usually require one year of internship and three years of residency in the specialty. The specialties available to veterinarians are very similar to those available to medical doctors.
Veterinarians who do not choose to specialize often enter general practice. Most general practitioners focus on small animal (mainly cats and dogs), large animal (mainly horses and cows) or mixed practice. Veterinarians also work in a wide range of other fields -- government, research, teaching, and pharmaceuticals are some of the many choices for a veterinarian.
Becoming a veterinarian requires years of dedication and hard work. Working with pets and their owners is both a privilege and a responsibility, and veterinary career is both fulfilling and challenging. Most of us would not have it any other way.
Erick Dorsch is a veterinarian at the Animal Hospital in Carrboro.