Veterinarian Training and Job Qualifications

Veterinarian training is a long process, but it can lead to a rewarding career in veterinary medicine. If you're interested in pursuing a career in veterinary medicine, here's what you need to know about veterinary training and job qualifications.

Preveterinary Work Experience

Before you even begin your veterinary training, you'll need some preveterinary work experience. Try to get a job in a private or public veterinary practice, perhaps as a veterinary assistant or specialist. If you can't get a job working in a veterinary practice, don't despair; any job working with animals will do. Try working in a local animal shelter, a local kennel, or even on a local farm.

Do your work with enthusiasm and dedication. If you can't get a job working with animals, offer your services as a volunteer. Contact local veterinarians, express your interest in becoming a veterinarian, and ask if you can shadow them for a day as they perform their duties. Participate in a summer program that can give you laboratory and research experience.

Veterinary Training

Before you can begin applying to veterinary colleges, you'll need to earn a four-year bachelor's degree in a veterinary-related field, such as animal science. Then, you'll need to earn a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from an accredited veterinary university. Some of the nation's top veterinary universities include Cornell University, Colorado State and the University of Pennsylvania. They all have different admission requirements so you'll need to do your research.

Once you have your Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree, you'll need to pass your state's board exam before you can begin practicing as a veterinarian.

Becoming a Veterinary Specialist

If you're very interested in a particular field of veterinary medicine, you can become a veterinary specialist. Veterinary specialists are much in demand, as the process of becoming one is quite arduous and requires a minimum of two additional years of study. You'll need to participate in a university or hospital-based residency program and fulfill requirements including gathering clinical experience, publishing research or clinical case studies in a journal, and passing a specialty board exam.

If you become a veterinary specialist, you won't perform the same duties as a general veterinarian. Instead, you'll work in a veterinary specialist hospital and perform only those procedures directly related to your specialty. You'll work in conjunction with general veterinarians, who will refer to you those cases which they feel are in need of specialized attention.