Families have become more willing to spend larger amounts of money on pets, adding to an increased need for capable veterinary services.
While it is important to have a love for animals to enter this field, it is almost equally important to be able
to get along with pet and livestock owners.
Vets typically work long hours, which commonly includes evening, weekend and holiday work. They may be required to work in inclimate weather as well as travel between sites, especially if they are involved in farm and ranch work.
Employment Prospects for Veterinarians
Employment prospects for the field of veterinary medicine falls into several different categories. Perhaps the most widely known is the care of domestic pets such as cats and dogs. Other fields include livestock, zoo, sporting, lab animals and though it is less well known, there are some prospects in the field of entertainment.
There are an increasing number of motion picture and television studios that are routinely hiring vets to care for their four legged stars.
Veterinary workers in the livestock field typically care for horses, cattle and more exotic types of livestock. These vets are more likely to be employed in rural and remote areas close to ranches and farms. Farm and ranch veterinarians may see their ‘patients’ in the office; however; more frequently they are required to pay house calls.
Sporting vets care for animals that work in fields such as horse racing. Finally, vets that work in laboratories are responsible for the care of animals as researchers conduct clinical research. This field has experienced a significant amount of controversy in recent years from various animal rights groups.
The largest percentage of veterinarians is employed in private practices caring for small animals such as:
Job Search for Veterinarians
Individuals seeking work in this field can find employment in a number of venues. Most vets are employed in small practices as self-employed veterinarians caring for small animals; however some vets find work in large practices.
Other veterinarians find work with zoos and laboratories as well as with the U.S. Government in such positions as animal welfare and safety, meat and poultry inspection, disease-control and research.
Employment opportunities can be found through techniques such as networking, checking the job board of the candidate’s alma mater and perusing U.S. Government web sites.
Cover Letters for Veterinarians
A cover letter is considered to be quite important when applying within this field. The cover letter should mention how the applicant learned of the position and focus on strengths such as experience and important internships.
Resumes for Veterinarians
Due to the intense educational and State regulated requirements of this occupation, the curriculum vitae resume is the most beneficial to use when applying for open positions. This resume format allows the candidate to focus on education and experience as well as internships or other data that may be deemed as important by employers.
Training & Qualifications for Veterinarians
To be employed as a veterinarian, graduation from a four year college, along with graduation from an accredited college of veterinary medicine and a State license are required. Admission to veterinary school is expected to be quite competitive in the coming years.
This is mainly due to the fact that while the number of individuals seeking admission to veterinary school has risen in the last two decades, the number of veterinary schools has remained the same.
Upon completion of veterinary school, the candidate will hold a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine or D.V.M degree.
Some States do not technically require completion of an undergraduate degree prior to entering veterinary school; however most do require completion of a minimum number of undergraduate credits.
With the increasing level of competition among veterinary schools for admission, completion of a Bachelor’s degree may enhance a candidate’s chances of gaining admission. In addition to completion of a Bachelor’s degree, many colleges are now placing a strong emphasis on actual animal experience, such as working on a farm or ranch, in a shelter or as an assistant at a clinic.
Candidates that wish to work within a certain specialty group generally must obtain additional education as well as complete a residency internship in order to obtain specialty board certification. This will usually involve a 3 or 4 year residency program.
Careers As Veterinarians
Regardless of their future aspirations, all candidates completing veterinary school must become licensed by the State before they can legally practice. They must pass the North American Veterinary Licensing Exam, or NAVLE. This exam is administered by computer and requires one day for completion.
A large portion of States within the US also requires that prospective vets successfully complete an exam on State laws and regulations. A small number of States require testing on clinical competency. Persons interested in this field should check their State regulations to be certain what is required in their own State.
Most States require veterinarians to take continuing education classes in order to maintain their license.