Become A Veterinary Doctor

Veterinary doctors care for sick and injured animals.

Becoming a veterinary doctor has an infamous reputation for being difficult. According to, it’s harder to get into veterinarian school than it is to get into medical school. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals that only 1 out of 3 applicants was accepted into a veterinary school in 2007. A veterinary doctor treats animals with diseases and dysfunctions. These animal doctors work with small animals, such as cats and dogs, large animals, such as cows and horses, or both. According to the BLS May 2008 Occupational Wages and Employment data, a veterinarian earned a national average salary of $89,450.



1. Make high school matter, if you are still in it. According to, take as many math, science and biology courses and do well. You will need the strong study skills in order to get into veterinarian school. Get as much hands-on, clinical experience possible by volunteering or interning at a veterinarian’s office, clinic, zoo, farm, stable or research lab.

2. Research veterinarian programs. The Council on Education of the American Veterinary Medical Association accredited 28 colleges in 26 states. Look into the prerequisites for admission, since program admission requirements vary.

3. Take college courses and be sure to emphasize the sciences. According to the BLS, many veterinarian programs do not require a degree, but all expect a number of credit hours, from 45 to 90 semester hours at the undergraduate level. Most students actually get a bachelor’s degree before applying. Applicants with a bachelor’s degree may have an edge over those lacking one.

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4. Prepare and take the admissions test. See which test your desired college prefers. You can take the Graduate Record Examination, Veterinary College Admission Test, or the Medical College Admissions Test. According to the BLS, 22 schools require the GRE, 4 require the VCAT, and 2 require the MCAT.

5. After graduating, get a license. Licensing is controlled by the state and may be different, so look at the specific requirements. All states require the completion of the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree and a passing grade on the national board examination called the North American Veterinary Licensing Exam. The exam typically lasts 8-hours and includes 360 multiple-choice questions.

6. Choose a path after graduation. Graduates with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree may practice immediately after graduation and receiving a license; whereas, many new graduates choose a 1-year post grad internship. Board certification requires a 3 to 4 year residency that includes an intensive training in a specialty, such as surgery or preventative medicine.