Veterinarians have a wide range of professional responsibilities including: securing public health; treating illness and disease in livestock, sport, and companion animals; maintaining healthy and productive commercial food animals and livestock; and more. Most veterinarians work in a variety of animal clinical practices; however, they also work in federal government, universities, private industry, zoos, and wildlife organizations.
There are only 32 accredited vet schools in the United States, five in Canada, and 16 accredited international veterinary schools. Because many U.S. schools restrict the number of out-of-state students they will admit, admission to vet school is highly competitive. Since the academic preparation required is not uniform for all schools, students preparing for the veterinary profession are encouraged to plan their courses early in their first year of college. Careful planning will allow students to major in any discipline they choose, study abroad, and complete the requirements for veterinary school in time to apply in the fall of the senior year.
Veterinary schools also require many hours of both veterinary and animal experience so students should use every summer and January break to gain experience.
For information about careers in veterinary medicine, scholarship opportunities, how to prepare and apply to schools of veterinary medicine, see the Student and Advisor portal of the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC).
Pre-vet students should consider becoming a member of the American Pre-Veterinary Medical Association (APVMA), a national organization of students whose goal is to promote and stimulate interest in the field; create a forum for communication between pre-vet clubs and organizations; and provide resources to students on pursuing the field of veterinary medicine.