Do you want to learn what it takes to become a Veterinarian? If YES, here is a complete guide plus requirements needed to become a Veterinarian online.

The major aim of every profession is to equip the practitioner with knowledge that would make him relevant in the society, and that is why people don’t often consider the pains and the struggle it takes to be a practitioner of some professions. Strenuous task or not, people just want to have the job they can call their own, with the fundamental aim of gathering knowledge and be relevant in the society.

Some jobs require that practitioners interact with the patient; i.e. sick people in healthcare centers, some professions on the other hand enjoins the practitioners to be involved with the people that buy and sell products used in the trade. However, the job of a veterinarian is the only job that requires the practitioner to interact with pets and animals.

The profession of a veterinarian is not restricted to any country, tribe or gender. As a matter of fact, the job of a veterinarian is a profession that is open to every human being, so far the drive, passion and dedication is inherent to pursue the career.

Although, the profession of a veterinarian is a branch of medicine, but this is a profession that requires its practitioner to attain a particular knowledge standard designated for him before he is able to practice. He can attain this status by pursuing a bachelor degree in veterinary medicine from any veterinary school or department of veterinary medicine in various colleges.

The career of a veterinarian is an interesting career to pursue, but there is need to know the pre-requisite and all what the profession really entails.

What is a Veterinarian?

A veterinarian is no other person than a medical doctor that specializes in the treatment of pets and animals. In as much as veterinary remains the branch of medicine that deals with the treatment and taking care of animals, a veterinarian will also be known as a professional physician that practices the art of treating diseases, injuries and any medical and mental illness an animal might be having. The name veterinarian is only associated with a professional who has completed all the pre-requisite qualifications and is licensed to serve as a doctor of all animals excluding humans.

The work of a veterinarian is very challenging because it requires that the practitioner deals with the animals whose language she may not understand. This is one of the reasons why a veterinarian is expected to be very patient and watchful, so as to be able to know what exactly the animal is suffering from. It is expected of a veterinarian to be an intelligent and a very smart observer. He needs to be able to observe the physical and observable changes in the animals he is dealing with, before he is able to treat such an animal of whatever illness it is suffering from.

The profession of a veterinarian could only be practiced by a veterinary physician that has been licensed to practice the profession. Apart from bagging the degree in veterinary medicine, every country and state still has an examination designed for veterinarians to pass before they can be certified to practice. For example, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has the pre-requisite standard and examination a veterinarian must pass before he is licensed to practice in the united states of America.

A veterinary do not work in any other places apart from a clinical setting. He can work on his own, employed in a veterinary hospital or employed to work in the zoo to watch directly over animals that are there.

Job Description and Duties of a Veterinarian

The job of a veterinarian is very distinct and clear-cut, as a veterinary doctor is the only professional practitioner that sees to the issues of treating and taking care of animals. However, a veterinarian performs various duties in the course of taking care of his patient ,and it is expected of a veterinarian to be vigilant at all times, so that he can carry out his work effectively on the pets in his custody. Below are some of the functions and responsibilities a professional veterinarian:

Diagnosing-: Whenever pets are sick, injured or showing unusual signs, a veterinarian will be called upon to diagnose and perform a test on the pets. A veterinarian performs diagnostic test on his patient to determine the illness or causes of the injuries battling the pets. A veterinarian needs to be careful and observant, so that he can be able to determine the exact illness or injury the pet is suffering from. A veterinarian relies mostly on the signs and symptoms given by the animals for diagnosing, as some animals cannot make any major vocal signs.

Some signs might not be meaningful to those that own the pets, but a veterinarian is an expert that can read and deduce the meaning of any sign that a pet gives. It is during this diagnostic test that a veterinarian will be able to know the exact illness or injury the pet is suffering from before he can go ahead to treat the pet. Diagnosing is the first and major thing a veterinarian do on pets and without it, a veterinarian cannot perform any other functions on the pets.

Treatment-: After diagnosing to know the exact illness or injury a pet is suffering from, a veterinarian will now go ahead to treat the animal of whatever illness the pet is suffering from. During this stage of treatment, a veterinarian may keep a pet separate from other pets, especially when the pet is suffering from diseases or illness that could be easily contacted by other pets. In some cases, the pet might just need a routine checkup and not any spectacular treatment.

During treatment, a veterinarian may administer vaccines for the pet that requires it, he may also stitch a part of the pet’s body that requires such, and even go as far as performing surgery on the pet when there is need for it. The major reason why a doctor of pets is called a veterinarian is because of the treatment he gives to pets and that is way it is expected of him to always perform the duty of treatment.

Medication Prescription-: Apart from the functions of diagnosis and treatment of pets, a professional veterinarian still performs the duty of prescribing medications for the owners and those who are in charge of taking care of pets. He will have to discuss with those in charge of the pets of what they need to do to keep the pet safe and healthy at all times.

In a nutshell, a veterinarian performs the duty of providing health care recommendations for pet owners. There is need for veterinarian to always educate the owners about what they need to know, especially the precautionary information about the pets they are rearing.

Research-: There is need for veterinarians to always carry out researches about the pets. Veterinarians need to research at all times, to equip themselves with up to date knowledge of how to handle animals. They also have to be accessed to new methods of how to improve animal welfare and to get a good and lasting solution to any illness or disease that might be disturbing the animals in their custody. It is expected of a veterinarian to always do research at all times, as this will even make him to be relevant and updated about his profession.

Tools of the Trade for a Veterinarian

A veterinary health care center is almost the same with that of a human being, this is so just because most of the equipment that are in use for humans, are similar to what a veterinarian uses on pets. It is very important a veterinarian uses some certain equipment to ensure the well-being of animals in his care.

Although, the price of some of the equipment a veterinarian uses might be huge, but he still needs to get it in order to able to treat pets brought to him by his customers. Below are some of the equipment a veterinarian uses in his healthcare:

Doppler-: This is a typical instrument that can measure the blood pressure of a pet. A Doppler is a machine used to test and monitor the anesthetics of a pet. Just as humans suffer from high blood pressure, pets can as well suffer from high blood pressures. And whenever this is observed, a veterinarian will introduce the use of a Doppler machine, as this will allow the veterinarian measure the pet’s blood pressure.

If the blood pressure of a pet is measured with a Doppler, it will enable the veterinarian to diagnose, prevent, monitor and treat any problem that might be associated with the inflation of the pet’s blood pressure. This is why pet owners and zoological attendants are always advice to take their pets and animals to the veterinarian for medical checkup from time to time.

  • Endoscope
  • Fluid Pump
  • Autoclave

How to Become a Veterinarian – A Complete Guide

Labor Market Situation for Veterinarians

Most veterinarians work in private health centers, some works in laboratories, farms, government offices or classroom, and that has given the practitioners of this profession a welcoming and great job opportunity. This is so because they have several places they can work at.

According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of veterinarians is projected to grow by 12 percent from 2012 to 2022, about as fast as the average occupation could grow. This means that the demand for veterinarians will spur and grow faster than before.

Due to increase in people’s interest and love for pets and the low turnout of people enrolling for veterinary courses, the occupation of a veterinarian is expected to grow rapidly in few years to come. Pursuing the part of becoming a veterinarian might tend to be boring and strenuous, but if people can withstand the pains, and then become focused and passionate about the job, the profession is a glorious and interesting career to follow.

Impact of the Internet and Technology on the Profession of a Veterinarian

With the advent of internet and technology, the profession has recorded an indelible transformation, as new gadgets have emanated to improve and compliment the effort of veterinarians. Technology now makes the work of diagnosis, treatment and management of pets easier and more effective than before.

Another thing is that with the introduction of the internet and technology, there is a good and fast interaction between the veterinarians and their clients. This is as they can now easily communicate and discuss the conditions of pets online via emails, and chat forums.

Imagine a situation where a client; the owner of some pets can easily interact and discuss the condition of the pets in the custody of a vet’s who is in a separate country- far from where he is. This is actually easy and possible to do with the help of internet and technology.

Finally, the use of internet has served as a major tool in equipping veterinarians with necessary and required knowledge they are required to know about different type of pets. Professional veterinarians and even the students that are pursing the course of veterinary medicine can easily subscribe to the internet to access anything they want to know about any particular pet.

Professional Bodies and Associations for Veterinarians

  • Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA)
  • British Veterinary Association
  • American Veterinary Association
  • Australian Veterinary Association
  • National Veterinary Association
  • National Veterinary Medical Association
  • World Veterinary Association

Career ideas/sub-sectors that exist within the veterinarian profession

  • Veterinary Medicine
  • Animal Dentistry
  • Veterinary Surgeon
  • Veterinary Teachers


Factors Discouraging People from Becoming a Veterinarian

  • The Nature of the Job-: A veterinarian, who is a professional who takes care of animals, is not the envy of all. Whilst the job is rewarding after all, but many persons especially those who do not have the love for animals or phobia for other animals will find it discouraging to venture into it.
  • The Cost Implication of the profession-: It takes a lot of monetary efforts to become a veterinarian, and apart from that, it takes a lot of financial obligation to practise the profession effectively. So, for these reasons many people are discouraged from venturing into the profession.
  • Difficulty in securing jobs-: The profession is one of the most difficult trades to secure a job in. The fact is that; it takes a lot of difficulty to get a job placement as veterinarian even after graduation. So, this difficulty in securing jobs discourages many people from becoming a veterinarian.
  • Job Security-: Job security is also one of the most difficult aspects of the profession. It is difficult to keep a veterinary job. This is due to the fact that establishments that take care of this profession are scarce to come by.
  • Difficult nature of the profession-: the veterinary profession is one of the most difficult in the world. This is because it is lonely and it takes a lot of strenuous efforts to be patient with animals. So, this difficult nature of the veterinary job discourages people from deciding to go into the profession.

How Much Do Veterinarian Professionals Earn

Veterinary profession is one of the most economically stable and the salary of its professionals tends to increase as per years of practice. Besides experiences, veterinarian salary is also determined by geographical location, type of practice, place of practice, etc. The area of specialization also has a greater influence it plays on their salary.

This is so because today, people are willing to spend more money and time for keeping their pet healthy. So, they treat their animals on time. Therefore, the demand for vet doctors is increasing and they get around $50,480 as minimum salary per year. To earn this salary, a veterinarian must diagnose and treat health problems of animals.

  • In the United States

According to research; the median annual salary of veterinarians as per May 2012 was $84,460. It is estimated that if a person works with the federal government, you can earn around $85,170 per year. The salary scale varies on states in the United States as follows:

  • Alabama $80,000
  • Alaska $66,000
  • American Samoa $85,000
  • Arizona $69,000
    Arkansas $78,000
  • California $86,000
  • Colorado 69, 000
  • Connecticut $85,000
  • Delaware $73,000
  • Florida $75,000
  • Georgia $86,000
  • Guam $66,000
  • Hawaii $56,000
  • Idaho $65,000
  • Illinois $83, 000
  • Indiana $79,000 etc.

However, the demand for these professionals is still very high. The salary of veterinarians is increasing every year because of the shortage of veterinarians and high demand.

  • In Canada

The average annual salary of Veterinarians in Canada was around $67,000 in 2010, depending on years of experience, type of practice, size of community served, etc. If you are running your own business, you can charge a reasonable fee for your treatment or service.

However, you must be able to justify your cost to your clients. Fees can be determined on the basis of complexity of treatment, duration of a consultation, lab work, specialized referrals such as internist, dermatologist, oncologist, etc. and equipment used. Besides salary, Veterinarians also get bonus up to C$9,696 and commission between C$1,965 and C$9,251.

The Study of veterinary Medicine is highly expensive in Australia; despite the fact that the salary earned is comparatively very low. A graduate can earn around $45,000 per year, while veterinarians can earn up to 76,000 per year at the peak of their career. The salary of a small animal veterinarian will be around $96,000 per year.

While a veterinarian, diagnostician can earn around $90,000 per year. Likewise the annual salary of veterinarian pathologist is around $100,000. While working as a veterinarian disease surveillance manager’s salary will be $97,000 per year. Experienced veterinarian can earn around $40-$50 per hour in Australia.

  • In the united kingdom

The average starting salary of veterinarians in the United Kingdom is around £21,800 to £33,500 per year. The salary depends on experience. As a senior veterinarian, you can earn more than £53,000 per year. Levels of salary will further vary in accordance with your training, location of practice, specialization, etc. Veterinarians also get some other facilities such as free accommodation, car, etc.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Veterinarian?

Veterinarians are trained animal physicians educated to the graduate level. Like conventional medical school, professional veterinary school usually lasts 4 years and confers the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, or DVM, degree, a nationally recognized doctorate in animal healthcare. The breakdown of the number of years is as follows:

  • Undergraduate Education-: The Undergraduate education which typically lasts for 4 years is compulsory. They must then take the GRE, or Graduate Record Examination, and apply to veterinary school with their scores. Whilst Graduates of accelerated programs may complete the education in as few as 6 to 7 years, those who wish to advance in the field as specialist veterinarians generally spend at least 11 to 12 years in training. On average, it takes about 8 years after high school to become an entry-level veterinarian.
  • Internship exposure-: Prior experience is not technically a veterinary school requirement, but competitive admissions make pre-professional clinical practice a major asset on graduate applications. Today, many programs look for students with at least 500 to 600 hours of industry exposure, whether through internships, work or volunteer opportunities. Generally, professional and volunteer experiences are best completed while earning the bachelor’s degree.
  • Advanced Degree-: Veterinary students may also pursue advanced graduate training after vet school, to move into a specialized field, such as equine medicine or clinical veterinary pharmacy. Such post-professional training might include specialty internships or residencies, a degree like the Master of Veterinary Medicine (MVM), or a full PhD in Veterinary Medicine.
  • Licensure-: After the successful completion of the veterinary professional education, they can seek state licensure. Veterinarians must pass the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE) or another board certification test to earn a state license to practice.

Generally, it takes about eight to ten (8-10) years of education, internship and experience to become a veterinarian.

Educational Requirements to Become a Veterinarian

The educational requirements to become a Veterinarian are similar in many countries. But the basic educational requirements in the United States, Australia, Canada and UK are as follows:

  • Doctor of Veterinary Medicine-: Veterinarians are required to complete a four-year Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) program in addition to undergraduate school. These professionals are also required to obtain licensure to practice in the profession.
  • Bachelor’s Degree-: Anyone who wishes to enter a veterinary program needs to obtain a bachelor’s degree in science-related areas, like zoology, molecular biology, chemistry, animal science and biochemistry. In some instances, veterinary programs do not require students to hold four-year degrees; however students may experience difficulty gaining admittance into veterinary programs without degrees.
  • Bachelor of Science in Animal Science-: A bachelor’s degree in animal science can be completed in four years. Studies usually include both classroom and laboratory education. Courses that prepare students for veterinary school include: Microbiology, Animal management, Anatomy and physiology, Animal nutrition, Equine care.
  • Licensing-: After earning a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, aspiring veterinarians must become licensed. All states require veterinarians to pass the North American Veterinary Licensing Exam (NAVLE), which is a 360-question test that lasts 7.5 hours and assesses candidates’ knowledge of veterinary activities and animal species. Some states also have additional requirements, such as passage of veterinary law and clinical skills exams.

Certifications Required to Become a Veterinarian

Just like with other professionals, becoming a certified Veterinarian requires some certifications- most especially in the United States. The certifications required in becoming a Psychiatrist in the United States and the processes which lead to it are as follows:

  • Veterinarians must obtain a bachelor’s degree, preferably in biology or animal science. In order to apply to a veterinary program, prerequisites such as biology, chemistry, math, and physics must be completed.
  • Veterinary schools require that applicants take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) and submit letters of recommendation.
  • After completing all academic and clinical requirements, students will graduate with a doctor of veterinary medicine degree and are eligible to sit for the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE).

Can You Become a Veterinarian by Taking Online Courses?

We may have heard of courses that can be acquired at home via the internet. The question is; can all professional courses be bagged form the home? While one cannot categorically state that taking online courses can make someone become a veterinarian, it is safer to say that some aspects of veterinary such as Veterinary Technicians and Technologists do offer some programmes online. Some schools across different countries offer accredited online learning programs for students interested in becoming a veterinary technician.

Programs cover similar topics, though prerequisites, eligibility requirements and program outlines vary greatly. Most schools with online vet tech programs need that courses and practical may be completed in three years, and online scheduling allows working Students necessary flexibility.

Some of the programme criteria for online studies may include:

  • Completing coursework from a personal computer at home, or attending computer-based courses at an on-campus computer lab
  • Previous or current work experience at a veterinary clinic
  • On-campus meetings, labs or examinations
  • Internship and practical lab experience at an approved veterinary site
  • Required software installed on a personal computer
  • Completion of general education courses prior to entering the vet tech program

The Industries a Veterinarian Can Work in

A Veterinarian is a well-respected specialist in what he/she does. This is so because the profession is one of the most sought after profession in the world. Thus, the professional has a wide range of industries where he/she can successfully work in. So, the following are perfect industries in which a veterinarian can work in, and they include:

  • Private clinics
  • Hospitals
  • Farms
  • Laboratories
  • Classrooms or Academia
  • Government offices
  • Research Institutes

Career Opportunities Open for a Veterinarian

There are a wide range of career opportunities available to a Veterinarian. This is because the veterinary profession is one of the most sought after, as we have fewer professionals in the industry. Therefore, the opportunities which can be found in this profession are numerous and they include but not limited to the following:

  • Private Practice-: About 80% of veterinarians choose to work in private establishments, providing health care for companion animals. Private practitioners may work in a one-person practice or as part of a team in a larger clinic or hospital. Private practitioners offer many services including health exams, vaccinations, and treatment of ill animals, surgery, and emergency care.
  • Research-: Competent research veterinarians are constantly needed in pharmaceutical and private research laboratories, universities, and various government agencies. These veterinarians investigate basic and applied problems concerning food-producing animals, companion animals, laboratory animals, captive animals, wildlife, and various aquatic species
  • Education-: Thousands of veterinarians teach in universities and colleges. Wherever you find a medical school, agricultural school, or veterinary school you are likely to find a veterinarian helping to spread the knowledge of animal health and disease.
  • Consultation-: Various businesses and organizations employ experienced veterinarians as full-time or part-time consultants. To be a successful consultant requires advanced skills developed through years of experience and advanced training and education. These veterinarians advise private businesses such as ranches, dairies, poultry farms, and meat processing facilities.
  • Public Health and Regulatory Medicine-: All states in the U.S. (and many counties and cities) have veterinarians who advise and help control animal diseases. As public health officials, they continually inspect milk, meats, and other animal food products to make sure they are safe to consume. In regulatory medicine, public health veterinarians inspect meat, poultry, and dairy products, test for livestock disease, and oversee interstate transport of animals.

Skills and Traits Needed to Become a Successful Veterinarian

  • Passion for animals-: The most important skill is a passion for animals and a commitment to the health and well-being of animals.
  • Academic Competencies-: All veterinarians need outstanding competency in math, science, language and research and a commitment to lifelong learning.
  • Interpersonal Skills-: Almost every animal treated by a veterinarian has an owner. Whether it is a cat, dog, ferret, bird or any other type of pet- the owners of these animals are the clients who pay the bills. Good interpersonal skills with clients are essential when treating their pets.
  • Communication Skills-: A great veterinarian has excellent communication skills and can talk effectively with pet owners to determine exactly what the animal needs, as well as explain clearly to the owner what the diagnosis is and what the treatment will be.
  • Customer Service Skills-: A great veterinarian has excellent customer service skills and can satisfy the animal care needs of pet owners.
  • Work ethics
  • Management ability
  • Compassion
  • Time management skills
  • Dedication

Tips, and Advice That Advance your Career Towards Becoming a Better Veterinarian

  • Earn the necessary certifications-: To become a successful veterinarian, you must ensure that you acquire all the certifications that are required of you. This is because it is only through this that your journey towards even making it as a psychiatrist can materialize.
  • Seek relevant information-: Seeking of information from the right sources is critical to ensuring that you succeed as a veterinarian. Information such as the certifications needed in your country/state, the relevant government agencies you must be familiar with and so on and so forth.
  • Follow relevant blogs-: The internet today brings information to you even to the comfort of your homes. Therefore as a veterinarian who wishes to succeed, you must maximize this opportunity and ensure that you follow relevant blogs that can provide you with the necessary information you need.
  • Be thorough
  • Be patient and compassionate with animals and persons

In conclusion,

Veterinarians are high in demand and are well-respected. The professionals are not only humane, but also compassionate and patient with both animals and human beings. Thus, these professionals really epitomizes what service to humanity is, as they are not only kind to humans but also ensure that the animals, are well kept, treated, and never goes into extinction.

Ajaero Tony Martins