Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Degree

Considering a Veterinary Career?

Are you interested in animals, medicine, and science? Do you like helping people?

vet student teaching young boyIf so, then veterinary medicine may be for you.

Veterinarians are dedicated to improving the health and well-being of both animals and humans. You will need to solve problems and work with people on a daily basis.


  • Focus on a college preparatory program that includes all major subjects (English, history, languages, etc.), and be sure to include as much as you can of biology, chemistry, physics, and math.

  • Choosing the right college is a very important life decision. Take your time and research your options. Use the college guides and apply to the colleges that best suit you with regard to size and academic demand. A “good fit” will likely result in academic success. Resist choosing a college based on its athletic achievements or its social atmosphere if you are serious about attending veterinary college.

  • You should choose a major you will enjoy studying and building a career around in case you are not accepted into veterinary school. Your studies should be planned to provide the opportunity to take many science courses including biology, chemistry, and physics with laboratory components.

  • Veterinary students generally complete their four-year undergraduate college experience and earn their bachelor’s degree. Completion of a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree requires four years of additional study. We have an option whereby students can apply for admission before completing their undergraduate studies. Few students choose this option and only a very few are admitted under it.

  • Students should start out working or volunteering for a veterinarian, zoo or local animal shelter. Try to gain experiences with many animal species, not just cats and dogs. Also, pay attention to the roles of the doctors and technicians.

    Track the hours of experience you gain and consider keeping a journal. When you apply to veterinary college you will need to articulate all of the animal experiences you have had as well as write a personal statement. A journal describing the learning you have acquired will be a valuable resource during this process.

  • A significant percentage of veterinary graduates are engaged in private practice individually or as a partner in a group clinic. There are small animal (focusing on dogs and cats) and large animal (horses, cattle, pigs) practice opportunities.

    There is also the chance to work in areas of food safety, public health including bio-terrorism research, animal disease control, and the military.

    Private industry offers exciting opportunities for the DVM in the fields of nutrition and pharmaceuticals such as conducting research for new products for animals, analyzing drug effects, nurturing the well-being of laboratory animal colonies.

    Other career areas include zoo animal medicine, food resource management, marine biology, and wildlife preservation.

  • Resources from the American Veterinary Medical Association