Things to Consider when Considering Veterinary School

Veterinary medicine is an esteemed profession to pursue. Veterinary medicine is the science that deals with the maintenance, prevention, and cure of illness and injury in animals, primarily domestic animals.

For those who are interested in this line of work, there are many steps and details to consider. From an individual’s personal requirements needed to enroll in a veterinary program to the various aspects that go into school choice, reliable and relevant information can be vital to the student’s decision process. Described below is information on personal traits needed to become a veterinarian, grades needed to go to veterinarian school, factors to consider in choosing a school, and costs associated with pursuing the profession.

Personal Traits Needed to Become a Veterinarian

First, a person who is considering a profession as a veterinarian should review his/her own personality traits to determine if they complement the types of duties encountered in this career field. Communication skills are a necessity for a veterinarian. A vet must be able to effectively explain the details regarding an animal’s condition to its owners. Empathy is also very high on the list of qualities a vet would require. Many pet owners consider their animals to be members of their families. A vet would need the ability to understand what people are going through at the time of service and respond accordingly. Attention to detail is an important trait; being detail-oriented is necessary during the care of the animal and in managing records for the various patients. Physical stamina rounds out a list of needed traits for a successful veterinarian. In this profession, a person would need to be able to be on his/her feet a lot and may need the ability to lift or move heavy animals.

Grades/Courses Needed to Go to Veterinarian School

A potential veterinary medicine student will need certain prerequisite courses before entering graduate school. The required courses will differ from school to school, but a general list that is common to many schools can be found below. One to two semesters of the listed courses can be required. Work experience under the direction of a veterinarian or experience working with animals is also something that is considered by some schools. Experience can be a beneficial addition to coursework. Also, note that possible required courses are not only in the field of science. Studies in subjects like English, public speaking, and the humanities are also important. Grades should be kept at a competitive level; a 3.5 grade point average is a reasonable standard to maintain. As with the requirements for coursework, the requirement for grades will also vary from school to school.  These courses are some of the most common requirements:

  • Chemistry
  • Biology/Zoology
  • Physiology
  • Animal Science
  • Microbiology
  • Biochemistry
  • Physics
  • Genetics
  • Mathematics
  • English
  • Nutrition
  • Public Speaking
  • Social/Behavioral Science

What to Look for in the Best Vet Schools

Once a decision has been made that veterinary medicine is a productive choice for a field of study, a decision still remains as to what University to attend. Every school will have distinct strengths and weaknesses. A good guideline for a prospective student is to weigh his/her strengths, weaknesses, and desires against those of the school. Another key factor to consider is location. Are there veterinary programs near the student’s home, or is the student willing to move? A student may also consider whether he/she is open to online courses and should look into which schools have these offerings. Individuals considering applying for a program should also explore the quality of the faculty. This level of education is an investment, and a student should be assured that the faculty consists of experienced veterinarians. The ratio of students to teacher may also be a point of inquiry. Technology is a major component of every facet of the world today. A student may want to determine the level of technology applied to the medical program he/she is considering. Further, it would be worth it to understand what technology is required of the student and how much will be provided for him/her.

Cost of Becoming a Vet

There are general costs that go into pursuing a degree in veterinary medicine. Some of them include tuition and fees, room and board, and books and supplies. For students attending school in their state of residence, an approximate amount for these costs is $140,000 over four years. For students attending school out of their state of residence, an approximate amount for these costs is $240,000 over four years. Other possible costs are transportation, personal, and miscellaneous expenses. The cost of school may be one of the biggest determining factors in the choice to become a veterinarian.

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