Understanding Veterinary Specialty Programs for Graduates

Veterinary specialty careers are perfect for those who wish to develop a high degree of skill in one specific area of veterinary medicine. Veterinary specialties are in high demand, because the process of becoming a veterinary specialist can be so demanding.

Prerequisites for Becoming a Veterinary Specialist

Before you can become a veterinary specialist, you'll need to earn a bachelor's degree in a field such as animal sciences and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from an accredited university. Then, choose a veterinary specialist field; the American Veterinary Medical Association recognizes over twenty specialty fields.

Fulfill Your Specialty's Requirements

Veterinary specialties range from anesthesiology to zoological medicine. Each specialty has its own requirements, and you'll need to attend a university-based residency program or work in an approved veterinary specialty center. You'll probably need to fulfill the following requirements in your specialty:

Clinical experience

  • Publish a clinical case or research findings in a medical journal
  • Pass a credential review and specialty board examinations
  • Fulfilling the requirements of your specialty will take at least two years.

The Veterinary Specialist Career

As a veterinary specialist, you'll work in combination with a general practitioner who will refer cases to you. This means you won't handle routine care such as vaccinations and spaying/neutering; instead, you'll be working only on cases and procedures that fall within your specialty.