Many of us share a passion for animals. Whether it’s from a childhood pet that we truly loved or fascination with animals from movies and shows, the passion is there. Lots of people take this passion to the next level by becoming a veterinarian or “vet” for short. Without many veterinary websites out there, you might be wondering what it takes to become one.
Veterinarians are licensed professionals. They treat diseased and wounded animals of all sorts so they undergo specialized training before they can start working. While it is a different certification from being a medical doctor or “M.D.”, it has many similarities to that profession.
If you are wondering what are the steps to becoming licensed as a vet, look no further!
How to Become a Licensed Vet
1. Earn a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences.
An undergraduate bachelor of science is first and foremost required of aspiring veterinarians. Veterinary websites will tell you to take courses that will prepare you for the post-graduate degree of Veterinary Medicine. These courses include general biology, zoology, and ecology. Science classes like chemistry and physics and electives in animal behavior will also come in handy.
2. Complete the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) program.
The second step is to complete the DVM program in an accredited school. In the USA, there are over 30 accredited schools to choose from. This doctorate curriculum covers all classes to prepare and train aspiring vets. At this point, it is a big help to volunteer or intern at vet clinics or pursues independent research. Since veterinary medicine is an on-hands job it will benefit you to gather field experience even before you graduate. You can refer to veterinary websites to find the clinics or even non-government organizations that are looking for volunteers.
3. Pass the licensing examination offered in the state/country wherein you wish to practice.
After finishing the program, you must pass the licensing examination to be a licensed vet. This is a tough challenge so adequate preparations should be made prior to the exam. It also varies between states and countries. Different documents are needed – so be sure to look into this before taking the exam. Should you wish to practice in another country, they would have different requirements too.
4. Start your practice!
This is the most exciting step because you are finally done with all the requirements to be a veterinarian. It is now time to put yourself out there and start helping the animals that need it. You may choose to work with a private clinic, government office, animal care facility, a zoo, or even a rescue center. Many options await veterinarians as the demand is very high.
5. Pursue further training and certification.
Further training is optional. But it is a good path if you want to specialize in a certain field and improve your skills. Veterinary specialties include anesthesia, dentistry, emergency and critical care, internal medicine, and many others. You will need to apply for training programs in the specialty you’d like. This will certainly make you more qualified in your vet practice.