How Long Does It Take To Become A Veterinarian?

Do you love animals? Do you feel comfortable with them? Do you have a soft corner for animals in your heart? Well, if your answer is yes, yes and yes then Veterinarian is a profession which you should pick. There are many ways in which you can help the animals and being a “Vet” is one of them. Being a “Veterinarian” is one of the most popular choices among children but not all of them stick to their childhood choices. The road to become a “Veterinarian” is not easy. It is tough, highly competitive, and requires a lot of hard work with books, projects, and practices. Being a Veterinarian doesn’t mean that you will play with puppies and kittens; it needs a complete dedication but you will get time to play with cute puppies and other animals, too.

puppy playing

Though answering the question of how long does it take to become a veterinarian is the ultimate aim of this post, to make you fully aware on this topic, we have covered everything from job profile to salary scale. Utilize it and take your first step to become a Veterinarian.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Veterinarian?

How Many Years Does It Take To Become A Vet?
To practice Veterinary medicine in the United States, one has to take up an undergraduate degree for the first 4 years in the field of veterinary medicine, preceded by DVM/VMD that is another 4 years. Totally, one has to study 8 whole years to become a Veterinarian.

What Do Vets Do?

Being a Vet is very important job. A veterinarian is someone who looks after the health of animals. They are equivalent to our doctors but in the animal’s world. They treat ill animals, and they diagnose and help in preventing diseases and injuries in animals. The skill of a vet depends on the vet, mostly vets work with small animals that include cats and dogs, and they also treat horses and livestock. Many vets also help Humans to prevent the diseases carried by animals. According to the American Medical Veterinary Association, about 77 percent of veterinarians treat pets. A vet can treat many animals from Dogs, Cats, Rabbits, and Birds to Reptiles.veterinarian examining dog


How to Become a Vet ?

Step 1 : Enroll In a Veterinary Related Undergraduate Program

First, you will have to go through the Undergraduate veterinary program in college. This degree program will take four years. This will provide you with a strong background in biology and physical science. This four-year degree course will lay a founding stone for you to become a Veterinarian. According to the United States department of Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) many Veterinary courses providing colleges require that the applicants to have a significant number of undergraduate hours. It varies from college to college. Studies of Humanities and Social Science may be beneficial for the applicant.

Step 2 : Equip Yourself to Meet the Pre-Requisite Criteria for the Veterinary Program

College Criteria for becoming a Veterinarian is a big thing. You have to have a good academic record and experiences to get into the Veterinary colleges. There are many other things too which should be taken care of before you apply to a Veterinary College.

Grade Point Average

GPA is very important for your Veterinary College admission. Most Veterinary Colleges prefer a GPA of 3.5 or higher. It is very important for you to study during your undergraduate program, especially courses taken in your last 3-4 semesters.

Animal and Clinical Experience

Experience with Animals and Clinicals is a must, it will boost your chances of getting into a good college. This will also give you a big image about what exactly a Vet does. Volunteer with a veterinarian to gain the experience in animal and clinical knowledge.

Step 3 : Take the Graduate Record Examinations

Getting an entry into a veterinary college is not that easy, as there are multiple steps and the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is one of them. SAT or ACT tests are not enough for your veterinary college application. You have to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) as it is widely accepted by many colleges. All colleges have different score rules for the entry, so check the website for each college to see the standardized test scores they require. So, if you wonder how many years of college it takes to be a vet, it’s not just 4 years of college. You should start your preparations beforehand itself.


Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation are very important. The applicant is recommended to choose three individuals for “Letters of Recommendations”. One is required from a veterinarian; another is required from an academic adviser and the third one is your course instructor. Many colleges may ask you to get two Letters of Recommendation from two veterinarians. To get these letters of recommendation you have to work hard during your time in undergraduate school and during the Animal and Clinical Experience.

Additional Skills

It is good to have great communication skills as it will advance your chances in getting a good college for veterinary studies. It is highly recommended to have more co-curricular activities like having a membership in a student club or Pet-Vet Club or Debate Club. These activities will provide you with a great opportunity to serve in the community and you will learn many things.

Important Qualities To Become A Vet

  • You should be great in management, being a vet is not just about checking pets. You have to manage the finances and other requirements regarding the veterinary clinic demands.
  • Dedication is very necessary in the Veterinary profession. Your dedication to the profession is a must; hours of study, months of projects and years of college. Without dedication you can lose the motivation.
  • Passion for animals - if you don’t love animals then don’t be a vet. Love and passion are very important in this profession. A great veterinarian must be passionate and committed about treating animals.

How Much Do Vets Make?

Being in Veterinary Medicine is a great thing; you get to treat the animals who can’t speak for themselves. You also get a chance to play with cute and little kittens or puppies. And it is also an economically stable profession. As your years in practice to treat animals increases your salary will also increase. The salary of a vet depends upon many things from experience in the field to the region where they serve. It also depends upon how you practice your work. Some Vets see and treat animals in their clinic indoors while some travel to ranches to work outdoors.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 25 percent of vets who earn their salary by working 50 hours a week.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) the national median earnings of all Veterinarians were $82,040 in May 2012. Many private practice Vets had earned $90,000 as an average salary in 2009 according to the AVMA report. Corporate Veterinarians earn the highest; their median salary is estimated at $140,000 per year.


Location plays a very important factor in a Veterinarian’s salary. Highly populated states offer more money compared to the states that have less population.

California got the highest average pay for a Veterinarian at $97,190. Texas got $94,040 in average salary of a Veterinarian. Vets in major metropolitan areas also make more money, as it can be due to the higher cost of living in those areas.

According to the AVMA, the salary of an average vet is increasing at the rate of nearly 6% each year which is pretty good. And if you compare it with the cost of living and inflation it also works well.

No matter how many years of school it took you to learn the veterinary medicine, you have to constantly educate yourself by working with pets and animals. So, you can become a successful veterinarian; loved by pets and thanked by the pet owners.


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