If you’ve got a passion for helping animals and want to make this your career, then you might be wondering how to become a veterinarian. Like many positions related to the medical field, you should be advised that there is a fair amount of education and training required. Still, if you have the dedication and can meet the requirements to become a veterinarian, you can enjoy a truly rewarding career saving the lives of all kinds of animals. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for veterinarians is expected to grow about 12% in the next 10 years, making this a great career path for those who want job security as well.
Wondering what education is required to work in this field? The first step in terms of how to become a veterinarian will be to obtain a Bachelor’s degree, preferably in a related field (such as Animal Science). Upon completion of your Bachelor’s degree, you will need to apply to some dedicated veterinarian schools. Specifically, these will need to be Doctorate programs, as veterinarians in the United States are required to have a Doctorate degree (just the same as a traditional doctor). Completing all of your schooling can easily take 6-8 years, depending on how many credit hours you take each semester. Therefore, you’ll need to make sure you’re fully dedicated to becoming a veterinarian before you enroll or even begin applying to veterinarian schools.
Is a license required to work as a veterinarian? Once you’ve completed your educational requirements when it comes to how to become a veterinarian, it’s time to get licensed. Specifically, you will need to take and pass the North American Veterinary Licensing Exam (NAVLE); your studies up to this point should provide you with more than enough preparation to pass this exam. However, depending on the specific state where you’re looking to get licensed, you may also have additional exam requirements to complete before you can be licensed.
After you’ve received your license, you’re well on your way in terms of how to become a veterinarian. However, you’ll still need to gain some experience in the field before you can be viewed as a reputable veterinarian and perhaps land a full-time position. Most newly licensed veterinarians end up interning for a year or so before they’re able to find a full-time position. Consider applying for internships at your local veterinarian office, animal hospital, or even zoo. During this time, you may also consider becoming certified in relevant specialties, which will make you more competitive on the job market.
Overall, working as a veterinarian is an excellent choice for those who have a passion for helping animals. By being aware of the steps necessary in how to become a veterinarian, you can be prepared for the years of education and experience to come.