A doctor of veterinary medicine is a physician who is trained to treat a variety of animals. Vets, as they are called, perform many duties in the course of their day. They can assess animals for illness, diagnose them, and treat them. The assessment involves interaction and discussion with the human owner of the animal regarding symptoms and concerns. Vets also perform surgery on animals when necessary, administer medication and vaccines, and engage in routine preventive medicine measures to keep animals healthy. The majority of vets treat house pets such as dogs and cats, but other vets specialize in the treatment of farm animals and horses, and some even treat reptiles.
The working environment of a veterinarian depends on the area of specialization. Vets who treat pets will usually work in private veterinary offices and clinics or veterinary hospitals. Vets who specialize in treating farm animals will usually travel to various locations for patients such as farms. The hours a veterinarian works can vary, but often, vets work long hours and possibly weekends.
A veterinary degree can be obtained through one of the 28 veterinary schools in the United States. The top veterinary schools ranked by US News in 2011 are: Cornell University, University of California-Davis, Colorado State University, North Carolina State University, and Ohio State University. Although these schools are ranked as the top five best veterinary schools, all schools must meet accreditation regulations set forth by the Council on Education of the American Veterinary Medical Association. Entrance into a veterinary medicine program is competitive since the programs are small and selective, and only about 1 in 3 applicants are admitted into veterinary programs. Schools base their decisions for entrance on many factors such as grades, test scores, and experience working with animals in the veterinary field. In addition, prospective veterinary students should have a keen interest in science, since the majority of the classes they will need to take will be scientific in nature. Obviously, students should love animals and have the ability to be personable with their human owners.
All states require that veterinarians be licensed, but the rules for licensing differ by state. All states do require that graduates pass the North American Veterinary Licensing Exam which is an extensive test. Many states also require that graduates seeking licensing pass an exam that covers the veterinary laws of the state.
The Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree is offered at 28 different colleges and universities in the United States. Most students start their academic career with a bachelor's degree in a science field although a science degree is not a prerequisite. All holders of a bachelor's degree are eligible to apply; however, they will need to complete various prerequisite courses in order to be eligible for admission and/ or graduation in a veterinary medicine program. Some of the prerequisites needed to enter a veterinary medicine program will include:
Admission to a veterinary medicine program also requires satisfactory scores on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). The minimum scores that must be attained on the GRE vary by school. More infrequently, colleges will require the Veterinary College Admission Test (VCAT), or the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) for admission to their program.
Upon entering a veterinary medicine program, students will need to attend a substantial number of classes in veterinary medicine their first, second, and sometimes third year in school. These classes will prepare students for the clinical aspect of the degree program. Possible classes in the professional phase of veterinary schooling include:
In the third or fourth year of a veterinary medicine program, students will embark on a clinical phase which will prepare them with actual hands on experience in veterinary medicine. Clinical experience is comprised of a substantial amount of clinical hours. Many universities have veterinary teaching hospitals where students can gain valuable experience. Some of the clinical rotations students will need to participate in include:
After all components of the degree have been fulfilled, students of veterinarian schools will then be eligible to graduate and sit for the different exams that are required by each state. Once testing and licensing is complete, graduates will be able to obtain employment as a veterinarian in:
We found 28 schools offering veterinary degree programs in the U.S.
|Iowa State University||Ames||IA||26845|
|University of Georgia||Athens||GA||31288|
|Auburn University Main Campus||Auburn University||AL||21860|
|Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College||Baton Rouge||LA||31527|
|Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University||Blacksburg||VA||27869|
|University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign||Champaign||IL||38465|
|Texas A & M University||College Station||TX||44026|
|University of Missouri - Columbia||Columbia||MO||23309|
|Ohio State University - Main Campus||Columbus||OH||47952|
|Oregon State University||Corvallis||OR||16758|
|University of California - Davis||Davis||CA||26094|
|Michigan State University||East Lansing||MI||43366|
|Colorado State University||Fort Collins||CO||26807|
|University of Florida||Gainesville||FL||45114|
|Cornell University - NY State Statutory Colleges||Ithaca||NY||8083|
|The University of Tennessee||Knoxville||TN||25890|
|St Andrews Presbyterian College||Laurinburg||NC||644|
|University of Wisconsin - Madison||Madison||WI||40658|
|Kansas State University||Manhattan||KS||21929|
|University of Minnesota - Twin Cities||Minneapolis||MN||45481|
|Mississippi State University||Mississippi State||MS||16561|
|University of Pennsylvania||Philadelphia||PA||21853|
|Washington State University||Pullman||WA||20492|
|North Carolina State University at Raleigh||Raleigh||NC||28619|
|Oklahoma State University - Main Campus||Stillwater||OK||18676|
|Purdue University - Main Campus||West Lafayette||IN||39667|