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Career Countdown: Veterinarian
By MKOC Staff

How Can I Prepare?

There are approximately 28 colleges in the U.S. that offer a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M. or V.M.D.). Since so few schools exist, the competition is fierce.

Veterinary schools place a great deal of emphasis on experience. The more interaction an applicant has with animals - either through employment or by volunteer or intern work - the greater the chance of acceptance. Veterinary schools want to see a strong degree of dedication to animals by the applicant. Those that have the most experience dealing with animals will be considered desirable. You can get experience by volunteering at veterinary clinics, farms, ranches, or kennels. Be sure to document all of your experience and you'll need approximately 500 hours of animal experience to be considered a serious candidate by veterinary colleges.

In addition to all of your animal experience, you will need to take college courses in the math and sciences. Similar to medical school preparation, a veterinary school candidate will need to take classes in physics, inorganic and organic chemistry, biology, genetics, zoology, and other sciences. Some veterinary schools require calculus whereas others require trigonometry. The perquisites vary from school to school, so it's best to speak with the admissions counselor at the veterinary college that you are interested in before enrolling in any of these courses.

Veterinary schools also require that you take either the GRE, MCAT, or VCAT for admission. A GPA of 3.5 and a GRE score of 1350 is considered competitive. Grades and test scores of course matter, but many veterinary colleges are looking for a high level of dedication and animal experience as well. If you're able to portray a high level of commitment to veterinary medicine through work experience and grades, you are more likely to be accepted.

What's the Expected Salary?

Like all professions, your expected salary can vary. Things like experience, location, demand, and competition all contribute to spikes and declines in your pay. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for a veterinarian was $72,000. This amount can change and can be higher or lower than this. Since demand for veterinarians is growing, it is expected that the salary will also. For a better gauge of what veterinarians are earning in your area and what it takes to become one, ask to interview one near you.

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