Veterinarians are trained in the treatment and health care of animals, including pets, livestock, and animals in zoos, racetracks, and laboratories. They diagnose and treat animal illnesses and injuries just as a doctor would for a human. Most veterinarians work in private clinics treating dogs, cats, and other companion animals. Others specialize in working with horses, livestock, or animals in research laboratories. Some of the typical job responsibilities of a veterinarian include:
- Performing examinations on animals to diagnose health issues
- Treating and dressing wounds and setting bone fractures
- Vaccinating animals against diseases
- Performing surgery
The BLS reports employment of veterinarians is predicted to grow 36%, much faster than the average for all occupations, from 2010 to 2020. Advances in veterinary medicine are increasing the number of services that can be offered by veterinarians to pet and animal owners. Demand for such services as well as the continued need to inspect food animals, animal products, and food supplies for the world's growing population will provide more job opportunities for veterinarians.Read More
Job Growth for
Becoming a Veterinarian
Veterinarians must hold a doctor of veterinary medicine (D.V.M. for V.M.D.) from an accredited college of veterinary medicine. Applicants to D.V.M. programs must complete a set number of hours in prerequisite coursework in subjects such as biology, chemistry, and physics. Some veterinary schools will favor applicants with experience working with animals, working for a veterinarian, and/or working in a research laboratory or setting related to veterinary medicine.
A typical doctor of veterinary medicine (D.V.M.) program will offer various tracks of study, such as equine, small animal, or food animal. Programs generally take four years to complete and will include laboratory and clinical components. Due to the hands-on nature of veterinary medicine, D.V.M. programs are not available in online-only formats. Some classes in a typical D.V.M. program may include:
- Veterinary Anatomy
- Veterinary Physiology
- Veterinary Parasitology
- Veterinary Anesthesiology
Veterinarians must be state-licensed. Candidates for licensure will need to successfully complete the national North American Veterinary Licensing Exam as well as a second exam covering state-specific laws and regulations. Additional certification for veterinarians is not required, but can demonstrate expertise in a specific area of veterinary medicine.