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FAQs about Being a Veterinarian

facts about veterinariansWhat made you decide that you wanted to become a veterinarian?

I really enjoyed studying sciences, especially Biology. Veterinary medical school required studying many courses in the biological sciences. Plus I was really interested in being able to help animals recover from diseases and injury.

How many different types of veterinarians are there?

There are veterinarians engaged in pet animal practice, called Small Animal Medicine and Surgery, and others in farm animal practice. There are zoo animal veterinarians, veterinarians in research and pharmaceutical companies, military veterinarians, teachers, private practitioners, and more. The American Veterinary Medical Association website has a good list of all the different categories of veterinary medical work that is being done today.

Is there a specific certification needed to become a veterinarian?

Specific education and a state license is required. In order to practice veterinary medicine, a veterinarian needs to graduate from an accredited College of Veterinary Medicine (there are less than 25 in the USA) and pass certifying exams in order to be licensed in any state in which the doctor wants to practice.

On average, how much money does a veterinarian make each year?

It can be from $45,000 to over $200,000 annually depending on the kind of practice a veterinarian is in. Being an employee usually indicates less income potential than a veterinarian that owns numerous practices and employs many veterinarians.

becoming a veterinarianWhat is the difference between a veterinarian assistant and a veterinarian?

To be a veterinarian, the person has to be a graduate of the doctoral program at a college of veterinary medicine, which usually takes eight years of college study. A veterinary assistant can be anyone the veterinarian trains to assist. A licensed Veterinary Technician needs to graduate from a two-year college level course of instruction to be called a licensed Veterinary Technician.

Why is it important to society to have licensed veterinarians?

Licensure protects the society from anyone who might pose as a veterinarian and who does not possess the training and education required to perform expected tasks. Since animal health issues often impact human health, the general public is entitled to competent veterinary care, so specific regulations need to be enforced.

Which classes would be best for a student wishing to become a veterinarian?

Becoming proficient in mathematics and science courses will be very helpful. Biology and Chemistry especially will prepare the student for college work.

Does being a veterinarian involve long working hours on a daily basis?

Usually a veterinarian in private practice will put in a full 8-10 hours a day. Often, too, weekends are taken up working on emergency cases or caring for sick patients.  Other fields of veterinary medicine, such as teaching, may be less time-demanding.

What is the hardest thing about being a veterinarian?

As a small animal practitioner, the fact that your patients often need help 24 hours a day can be the biggest strain. Often there is a lack of personal free time.

What makes it worth going to work every day?

There is a substantial satisfaction knowing that you are helping an animal patient regain optimal health. Along with that, very appreciative and thankful pet owners can brighten up a veterinarian’s day. Pets are surely part of the family!

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I did not realize that there were veterinarians who specialized in working with zoo animals. That actually sounds like it would be a lot of fun to me. It seems like being a vet requires a lot of time and energy, which isn’t that surprising. Doctors who work on people work long hours as well. It makes sense that veterinarians might have a similar schedule. I think that most of it just depends on the kinds of animals you work with. Cats are probably a lot less maintence than a horse or a tiger.

Thanks for sharing these FAQs on being a veterinarian!  It’s so awesome that you get to work in a field that gives you so much personal satisfaction.  You can go to bed knowing that each day you did your best to help pets lead healthier lives.  I know that I would want a vet for my dog who has this type of mindset.

My daughter is 16 and she really wants to become a veterinarian, but I don’t think that she realizes that there are different types. I think that she would like to work with zoo or farm animals. However, how do those two types compare to the others in terms of demand and salary?

Hi Faylinn,

The American Veterinary Medical Association has a good list of all the different categories of veterinary medical work that is being done today.

Salary and demand for any job depend a lot on location and experience. is a good reference for job salary information for your area.

Good luck to your daughter, and thanks for reading!

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