What does it take to become a Veterinarian (DVM) ?
The average veterinarian completes 4+ years of undergraduate education, taking classes such as biology, chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry, physics, microbiology, anatomy and physiology, math, animal science, and more… just to prepare them for attending veterinary school. In some cases, veterinarians already have a Master’s degree or PhD before they enter veterinary school.
A 4-year veterinary school education is equal to what medical school students receive – but tailored specifically for a number of animal species. Course subjects include anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, microbiology, immunology, pathology, toxicology, biochemistry, surgical techniques, and many more, as well as in-depth courses on specific animal species and body systems.
Upon graduation from a veterinary school, they receive a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) or Veterinary Medical Doctor (VMD) degree. At this point they can pursue a career as a veterinarian. However, a number of veterinarians also seek additional training in the form of an internship (usually one year) and/or residency (approximately 2-3 years) and may become board certified in a specialty area of practice.
As a veterinarian, you must be licensed in each state where you wish to practice medicine. State licensure requires a veterinarian to pass a national examination that tests their veterinary knowledge. Some states also require a veterinarian to pass a state-specific examination, most often to test their knowledge of the state specific laws and regulations.
The path to becoming a veterinarian is extensive, but rest assured the next time you see your veterinarian, you’ll fee comfortable knowing your pet is being cared for by a highly trained professional. If you are interested in becoming a veterinarian, you’ll be rewarded with a fabulous career, just be prepared for the path to get there!