Veterinary science is a challenging yet rewarding career choice. It involves over eight years of collegiate and post-graduate study as well as one or more veterinary internships. Here's what you need to know.
How do you become a veterinarian?
If you want to become a veterinarian, you need to have a love of animals and a desire to help. Additionally, you need to be good at science. While veterinarians work exclusively with animals, they need to be proficient in biology, chemistry, and physics as well as animal sciences, like zoology.
What education do you need to become a veterinarian?
Students who wish to become veterinarians need to earn a four-year bachelor's degree in a related field before applying to veterinary schools. This could be a degree in biology, animal science, or a specialized, pre-professional degree in veterinary science. Veterinary school is an additional four years of post-graduate study.
Do you need veterinary internships for veterinary school?
Admission requirements vary from veterinary school to veterinary school, but most require previous work or volunteer experience with animals. Competition for admission to veterinary schools is fierce and the more experience you can have on your admissions application the better.
Additionally, once you are in veterinary school you will be required to have one or more veterinary internships. Veterinary internship opportunities vary depending on the school and the specialty that you plan to pursue.
Are there different types of veterinary internships?
Your veterinary internship opportunity depends on which specialty field you plan on pursuing your career. There are many avenues you can take, including:
Some veterinarians prefer research to day-to-day interaction with animals and their owners. They spend their time in a lab studying diseases and analyzing data. Internships in this area of veterinary science would assist in a lab setting.
While most people do not automatically think of food animals, like cattle or pigs, when they think of veterinary science, but those types of animals need to be kept healthy as well. Food animal veterinarians are in short supply and there is a growing need for students interested in this branch of veterinary science.
Internships for students focusing on companion animals can often be found in both veterinary office settings and animal hospitals. Additionally, there are both volunteer and internships available at animal shelters.
Some veterinary students decide to specialize in the care of specific species, like avian, equine, reptile, or even exotic companion animals, like squirrels and ferrets. Internships in these specialties will be harder to find, but they are out there.
What do you do in a veterinary internship?
While not a full-fledged veterinarian yet, students do get a lot of hands-on experience during their internships. They will work under the direct supervision of a licensed veterinarian during the duration of their internship observing and assisting with animal care.
How long is a veterinarian internship?
The length of an internship depends on the veterinary school's program. Some schools require an internship during the last semester of school while others schedule internships every summer semester.
If you are up to the challenge, a career in veterinary science can be rewarding.