How to Become a Veterinarian in the US

Veterinarians are responsible for the medical care of animals, such as pets, zoo animals, laboratory animals, and livestock. Moreover, veterinarians might also be required to help in controlling the spread of disease or work as researchers. In order to work as a veterinarian, you have to love and care for animal welfare. More importantly, you have to have specific education, such as four years of undergraduate school, four years of veterinary school and state license. Likewise, if you want to become a specialist, you will be required to undergo residency training and board certification. Here is everything you need to know how to become a veterinarian in the US.

First and foremost, in order to become a veterinarian in the U.S., you have to attend undergraduate school. In fact, some veterinary colleges require applicants to hold only 45 to 90 undergraduate hours. Nevertheless, most students enroll veterinary school with a bachelor’s degree. No matter which undergraduate a student attends, it’s important to have biological and physical sciences, such as chemistry, genetics, microbiology and physiology. Moreover, other studies can also be beneficial for the transition into veterinary school, including social science, communication, and mathematics.

The challenging part is gaining admittance to veterinary school, as there are only 30 veterinary schools accredited by the AVMA’s Council on Education. So, each applicant takes a college admissions test, for example, GRE or Graduate Record Examination. Most students will be required to use the Veterinary Medical College Application Service to apply to a school.

After this step is successfully completed, students complete four years of veterinary school to earn a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine or D.V.M. During the first two years, they study about basic science education in the classroom and laboratory, while the final two years they are focused on clinical instruction which helps students gain hands-on experience diagnosing and treating animals.

All veterinarians in the USA have to obtain licensure from their state licensing board. The requirements depend on the state, but all boards require applicants to hold a D.V.M. and pass the North American Veterinary Licensing Exam. This exam consists of 360 multiple-choice questions and takes about 8 hours.

The veterinarians who want to concentrate on a specialty of veterinary medicine have to get a certification through the AVMA American Board of Veterinary Specialties. It recognizes forty specialties, surgery, internal medicine, pathology, and dentistry. In order to be eligible for certification, veterinarians have to complete 3 to 4 years of specialty training in an approved residency program.

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