It is well known how difficult it is to get into medicine or become a doctor, only the brightest and most driven students are accepted onto courses provided that they’ve excelled during all of their school years, after acceptance it gets even harder with 7 years of studying after high school, countless exams and having to remember a lot of content.
What is lesser known is that becoming a vet is an equally difficult process. A doctor has to diagnose patients from anemia to infections, a vet also has to diagnose patients but without being able to speak to the patient making their job much harder. They have to know what all sorts of symptoms mean for your animal and determine if your cat has a sensitive stomach or if it’s something more serious, as an example. It’s a difficult profession to get into so you’ll want to think about if it’s really right for you and if you can get all of the qualifications that you need to succeed.
What does a vet do?
Being a vet is a challenging but rewarding job, there are various areas of work that a vet may choose to specialize in, they may work with house pets, farm animals, or zoo animals, some vets are so well trained they can mix between all three allowing for many more job opportunities. Every day at work as a vet would be a wildly different experience as they will come across different problems with different animals every single day.
Their main job responsibility is to care for the health of animals however they can. Some ways in which they do this is by diagnosing animals correctly and taking care when doing so to not prescribe the wrong things and make an animal worse rather than better. They are also responsible for carrying out general checkups on animals, providing owners or zookeepers with accurate advice to allow for the best quality of life for the animals. People also take their animals to the vets to get neutered so they’re responsible for population control. While some days as a vet may be extremely rewarding when you help or save an animal, some days are much tougher as vets are also responsible for putting animals to sleep when they’re reaching the end of their lives which can be a tough thing to do. If you think all of this sounds like a job you’d want then as long as you’re patient, caring, and knowledgeable then you will thrive as a vet.
So if you’ve decided that becoming a vet is your true calling then you have to start working towards it very young. Firstly, you need to make sure that you do well in high school, only those with the highest grades will be accepted onto higher education courses. There are some great veterinary science degrees available including at the University of California, Cornell University, and Colorado State University. These undergraduate degrees are usually 4 years long and cover many topics such as infectious diseases in animals, management of diseases, pathology, and research skills so hopefully, you can add to the veterinary field once you’re fully qualified.
Following this you’ll have a great foundation of knowledge to continue onto the next stage of your journey, you’ll need to complete another 3-4 years course to earn the title Doctor of Veterinary, which includes more advanced topics like radiology, anatomy, and parasitology. If you put the hard work in and make it to this point you’ll know veterinary science inside and out and you’ll be close to becoming a fully qualified vet.
Once you’ve completed this before you can begin to practice you’ll have to obtain a license as it’s a requirement in the United States that all veterinarians have one to offer their services legally. If you have your Doctor of Veterinary then you’ll just have one more exam to complete. There are various professional bodies you can get a certificate from, but if you’re looking to sit the easiest exam after 7/8 years of studying then the North American Veterinary Licensing exam is widely know to be the easiest one to pass.