veterinarian and nurse tending a dog

A Service for Pets: How to Become a Veterinarian

Veterinarians have become an essential job in our society as our loves for our pets grow. More and more Americans are adopting pets into their household. If you’re interested in pets and about the biology behind their functioning, being a vet is a career path for you.

About 60% of American households own a pet. That’s about 85 million people who are your soon-to-be client. This number is expected to increase in the coming years as more people get pets, especially during the pandemic.

The growing number of pets in the U.S. is one of the reasons becoming a vet is crucial to society. Without them, pets would decrease drastically due to diseases that we are not aware of. For example, parvovirus is pretty common among dogs, and only a small population knows about it. So how do you get started down this path?

Bachelor’s Degree

The first thing you’ll have to do is get a bachelor’s degree in biology or any related science. This will give you the know-how you need to understand how different creatures work. It’s a general look into the different bodily organs of every creature, and this is essential knowledge you need once you enter veterinary school. A bachelor’s degree will take at least four years of your life, but this is a crucial stepping stone when you want to be a vet.

High Degree of Knowledge

Being a veterinarian requires you to be in charge of a creature’s life. So it shouldn’t be surprising that this is one of the jobs that require a doctorate degree. Sure, it takes a lot of time, but it’s a gratifying job, with high pay and fulfilling tasks. Additionally, a lot of things you will be learning in veterinary school are all about animals. This is an exciting topic that not many people get to learn, so consider yourself lucky.

Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM)

a veterinarian

The specific course you will be taking is a doctorate in veterinary medicine. This particular course is lengthy and might require more years than your bachelor’s degree, with subjects much harder than before. You’ll be encountering specific parts of animals, what makes them unique, and what keeps them thinking. It’s time to put what you’ve learned in general biology into action.

Generally, DVM will also be tackling all sorts of diseases, viruses, and parasites that exist in the animal world. You’ll also be understanding the different breeds of every pet and know what disease they are vulnerable to. There are at least  195 breeds of dogs alone, so there’s a lot of learning to be done. Aside from these things, you’ll also learn what most doctors study, such as applying I.V.s, diagnosing cancer, and more.

Licensing Examination

Once you’ve graduated from your doctorate course, it’s time for you to take your licensing examination. This examination depends on your state, but most vets end up taking an exam from the National Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners. It’s a seven-hour exam that’s fairly difficult but has a decent passing rate.

However, your path as a vet doesn’t end here. Once you become a licensed vet in your state, you still have to pursue specialization and various certifications.

Specialties

Like human doctors, vets also choose their specialty because one vet can’t do all the work or know everything. There are about 40 specialties in this field. It’s not as much as the specialties you can get in general medicine (there are hundreds), but it’s a good number in this field. This number continues to grow as we make more discoveries.

Some of the specialties you can take are anesthesiologist, internal medicine, dermatology, dentistry, and even animal behavior. Yes, vets cane dog trainers as well. Of course, you could also pursue more than one specialty. However, you don’t have enough years in your life to pursue all 41 specialties. Having more than one can certainly lead you to more clients.

Certifications

Each specialty has its own certifications, and it takes months to get them because you still technically have to get trained in doing them. You also still have to pay for them. But they are worth it in their own right. There are also clinic-related certifications that involve cleanliness and having up-to-date equipment. You need to get this certification every few years or so if you’re running a private clinic.

The road to becoming a vet is a long one, but it’s certainly rewarding. Helping people’s pets to get better or, in some cases, saving them is always a fulfilling job. The smiles you get in your client’s faces after a long day at work saving their fur baby will be something you can keep for the rest of your life.

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