Veterinarians essential career information:
- 2012 median pay: $84,460
- 2012, number of jobs: 56,020
- Employment growth forecast, 2010-2020: 36 percent
- Entry-level education requirements: Doctoral or professional degree
Veterinarians; what they do:
Animal owners consider veterinarians irreplaceable; these specially trained professionals diagnose, treat, and research animals. The animals veterinarians work with vary from household pets, to livestock to zoo animals to racetrack animals to laboratory animals.
A veterinarian’s work varies greatly. They see animals for regular check-ups as well as for health concerns, accidents, emergencies, and surgeries. Veterinarians are trained to treat and dress wounds, test for and vaccinate against diseases, and prescribe medication for pain relief or to aid in the animal’s recovery. When nothing more can be done to safely and fairly prolong an animal’s life, veterinarians also euthanize animals.
Veterinarian careers include working with a variety of medical equipment, ranging from small surgical hand tools to x-ray machines.
Companion animal veterinarians mostly see household pets; equine veterinarians work with horses and food animal veterinarians work with livestock such as sheep and cattle.
Food safety and inspection veterinarians inspect livestock and animal products to enforce government regulations for food safety.
Research veterinarian careers include conducting clinical research on human and animal health problems in a laboratory setting.
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Veterinarian job titles:
- Holistic Veterinarian
- Exotic Veterinarian
- Dog Veterinarian
- Cat Veterinarian
- Horde Veterinarian
- Research Veterinarian
- Veterinarian Medicine Doctor (DVM)
- Small Animal Veterinarian
- Emergency Veterinarian
- Large Animal Veterinarian
- Veterinarian Surgeon
Veterinarians Education, Certification and License Requirements
Becoming a veterinarian involves time and dedication. People interested in a veterinarian career need a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM or VMD) from an accredited college of veterinary medicine.
Admission to veterinary programs is highly competitive, with fewer than half of the applicants being accepted each year. Veterinary programs include working in the classroom, laboratory, and clinic.
Veterinarian programs cover subjects such as:
- Animal anatomy
- Animal physiology
- Disease prevention, diagnosis, and treatment
- Business management
- Career development
- Animal science
In all states veterinarians need a license to practice. Although licensing requirements vary by state, they all require graduation from an accredited veterinary program and passing the North American Veterinary Licensing Exam. Veterinarians usually must obtain a separate state license for each state they wish to practice in.
Technically, a veterinarian may begin practicing as soon as they graduate and earn their license, but many opt to do a one-year residency first, in order to gain more experience.
Certification is not required for veterinarians, but highly recommended, as it demonstrates mastery of skill in specific specializations. Veterinarians may earn certification from the American Veterinary Medical Association in 40 different specialties.
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Veterinarians Job Outlook
Forecast: 36 percent employment growth from 2010 to 2020 for veterinarians, much faster than the average for all occupations.
The pet population is growing exponentially, increasing the demand for veterinarians. Household pets are also quite common and have increased in status over the years, with owners willing to pay more for their care. Advancements in veterinary care also increases the treatment options veterinarians have to offer and the amount and types of animals and animal diseases they may treat.
As the human population grows, the safety of livestock meant for consumption will need more veterinarians closely monitoring it.
- 2012 median annual wage: $84,460
- 2012, workers at the 75th percentile annual wage: $108,640
- 2012, workers at the 25% percentile annual wage: $67,040
- Veterinary services industry
- Colleges and universities
- Private industry; medical or research laboratories
- Government agencies