Advantages when Choosing a Career as a Veterinarian

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When thinking about the future, there are many career paths one can take. A career path such as a veterinarian, involves many challenges along the journey. Starting the journey involves researching and volunteering time towards the field of veterinary medicine. Before one should commit to this path, one needs to be certain that they want to put time and effort into a field that is demanding. There are many different types of veterinarians. Such as small animal veterinarians, exotic veterinarians, specialized veterinarians, and more. To become a veterinarian and prosper in the field. One needs to have dedication, passion for animals, and thorough knowledge. Although those qualities are important. They are not enough. Individuals wanting to pursue this career need to complete a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree. And a state license to practice. The research of this paper is to provide its readers. With an accurate path to becoming a veterinarian and properly guide one through. The requirements and challenges of this profession.

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Before deciding to pursue a career in veterinary medicine, one must be aware of the requirements. In order to become a veterinarian. One is required to attend an additional four years of school after completing an undergraduate degree. The majority of students major in biology for their undergraduate degree. But there are many majors people can choose from and still be on the path to veterinary school (Bureau of Labor and Statistics, 2018). At East Carolina University. Intended biology majors have three concentrations to choose from including. General biology, ecology evolution, and molecular cell biology (East Carolina University, 2018). The general biology degree requires an average of 2.0 GPA overall. Minimum of 120 credit hours, and complete 40 credit hours of general education courses (East Carolina University, 2019). There are many requirements for veterinary school. That need to be completed while getting an undergraduate degree. A course in animal nutrition is a prerequisite for veterinary school. East Carolina University does not have this course. There are many schools that offer this course including: North Carolina State University, Purdue University, Iowa State University, and more (North Carolina University, 2019). According to the Journal of Animal Science, “To help students define where their passion may lie, steps have been implemented in the Department of Animal Science at Iowa State University to inform incoming and freshman students about the diversity of careers in animal science.” (Sterle, Tyler, & Daniel, 2016). Iowa State sets up their students with many opportunities to gain experience in the field of veterinary medicine. Dr. Mercer argues that exploring the field before committing to veterinary medicine is important in order to get an idea of what is to come in the life of a veterinarian. East Carolina University supplies students with a list of requirements to complete for veterinary school. The list includes: a minimum of 400 hours shadowing veterinarians. At least 100 hours of animal experience, three recommendations, education experience, community activities, grades, and complete the GRE (East Carolina University, 2019). Upon graduation with a Bachelor of Science. The student must be prepared to apply to veterinary school.

The DVM program at North Carolina University Veterinary Medicine is competitive when considering who gets accepted. Students who are interested in applying to veterinary school must have completed prerequisite courses including: animal nutrition, biochemistry, biology, chemistry, composition and writing, genetics, microbiology, physics, humanities and social sciences, and statistics (North Carolina University, 2019). Students that meet these requirements then can begin the application process to North Carolina University School of Veterinary Medicine. Another requirement for veterinary school is taking the Graduate Record Exam to be able to apply to school (North Carolina University, 2019). Veterinary schools want students to be well rounded with veterinary experience, animal experience, education experience, and community involvement (North Carolina University, 2019). When students are involved in the community, one must acquire three recommendations from veterinarians or PhD scientists they have worked with in a veterinary or research setting (North Carolina University, 2019). Obtaining experience with veterinarians is a wise strategy to determine the types of animals students want to work with in the future or if one wants to specialize on a certain animal. If the student is accepted into the DVM program at North Carolina State University, they will begin classes the following semester. Dr. Mercer strongly advices that if one does not get in veterinary school on the first try, then try again and do not give up.

As a student goes through the DVM professional program, they will go through two different stages of education. The two stages include: a pre-clinical three-year stage. Which will be followed by a clinical period in the fourth year of training (North Carolina University, 2019). The first through the third year of the professional program are concentrated. With a continuous progression from a basic science presentation to a more clinical application of veterinary science (North Carolina University, 2019). In the first year, a DVM student will be able to describe the evolution, development, function and identification of normal microscopic and gross anatomy (North Carolina University, 2019). Students will be able to explain the physiological and biochemical basis for common tests used in the diagnostic process of veterinary medicine (North Carolina University, 2019). Students will also learn how to effectively communicate in small groups in a professional veterinary context (North Carolina University, 2019). By the fourth-year students must complete 43 credits in the senior year: 40 credits of clinical rotations and three credits in Clinical Conference (North Carolina University, 2019). The clinic year consists a total of 168 credit hours are required for graduation (North Carolina University, 2019). There are Clinical Conference presentations required of each senior to graduate (North Carolina University, 2019). All of this strenuous work is to prepare future veterinarians. With the most experience and training to do their job with an educated mind on the matter.

While finishing veterinary school. Most students will find work through their clinical portion of their studies. There are many types of work environments which include: private clinics, hospitals, laboratories, farms, classrooms, or work for the government (Bureau of Labor and Statistics, 2018). Most veterinarians work in private clinics or hospitals, which includes certain duties and tasks. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, veterinarians diagnose, treat, and research medical conditions and diseases of pets, livestock, and other animals (Bureau of Labor and Statistics, 2018). According to Veterinary Medicine, “The focal point of any investigation of animal disease is the making of a diagnosis, and the critical part in making that decision is the clinical examination…” (Constable et al, 2017). Some duties veterinarians are responsible for include. Treat and dress wounds, perform surgery on animals. Examine animals to diagnose their health problems. Test for and vaccinate against diseases, operate medical equipment such as x-ray machines. Prescribe medication, and more (Bureau of Labor and Statistics, 2018). “From the first moment we see a patient, we intuitively start making diagnoses in the sense of differentiating whether the animal presents signs that are consistent with a healthy status or not.” claims Dr. Villarroel. Veterinarians look for signs of unhealthy behaviors that animals could portray that would identify what is wrong. The most interesting aspect of being a veterinarian would be the experience alone, the ability to watch animals grow and help them stay healthy along the way. Occupations like veterinarians continuously rewards an individual due to the impact they have on others lives.

Upon graduating with a DVM most people already have a job in the field or seek further schooling to specialize. Employment for veterinarians in all practices is increasing each year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics is projecting that employment rate will grow to 19% from 2016 to 2026, which is much faster than the average for all occupations (Bureau of Labor and Statistics, 2018). In addition to projected employment growth, more job opportunities will become available as veterinarians retire and positions open for new veterinarians (Bureau of Labor and Statistics, 2018). The main reasons veterinarians are needed more in today’s society is due to the advancements in veterinary medicine. Veterinary medicine allows veterinarians to offer more services that are comparable to healthcare for humans, including more complicated procedures such as cancer treatments (Bureau of Labor and Statistics, 2018). In the words of Ridgeway, “Treatment of animal injuries and diseases is as old as medicine itself.” (Ridgeway, 2008). Medicine and treatment go hand-in-hand when advancements are made, which is how animals recover from diseases. Veterinarians make an average salary of $90,420 per year due to their extensive education and continuously growing knowledge (Bureau of Labor and Statistics, 2018). According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most veterinarians work nights or weekends, and may have to respond to emergencies outside of scheduled work hours (Bureau of Labor and Statistics, 2018). Veterinarians are continuously learning new information about veterinary medicine, which makes the job very demanding.

A veterinarian can be faced with different challenges throughout their career. Working in this type of field can test your ethical, personal, and professional points of view when working with animals. When veterinarians are surrounded by emotional owners due to their animal being hurt or ill, it can influence the veterinarian’s ethical views on deciding which treatment to give the animal. This is a challenge that can influence a veterinarian’s personal emotions and effect the way one would do their job. When addressing this challenge, the AVMA reminds veterinarians of their responsibility to the animal, veterinarians need to be an advocate when advising the owner on the best care for its health and welfare (American Veterinary Medical Association, 2019). In the words of researchers Nielsen and Eyre, “Perhaps the most important challenge facing veterinary medicine today is deciding on and implementing actions that will exploit the promises of one health to enhance the profession’s service to society.” (Nielsen & Eyre, 2017). Veterinarians have to continuously be educated in order to stay up to date with ways to treat certain injuries in the most effective way possible. This can be a challenge because it takes a lot of active learning while working full time. Dr. LaFoon argues, “In order to become a good veterinarian, one needs to be a forever student and always willing to continue learning something new.” Veterinarians should be up to date on innovations so they can properly treat animals to the best of their ability. Other possible challenges in a veterinarian’s career can include the stress of being responsible for someone’s animal and making sure to do everything possible to give the best care. Depending on the injury or illness veterinarians can only do so much to help an animal in need. In some cases, it is better to release the animal from its pain, but that is ultimately up to the owners and would be a challenging solution to recommend to the family. When a veterinarian has to inform a family of their animals need to be euthanized or a complication during surgery resulting in the animal’s death, the veterinarian care team has the responsibility to aid the owners through the grieving process by supporting them. In any field there will be multiple challenges, the main thing that matters is how one handles them.

In the field of veterinary medicine there are many innovations that are being discovered to help aid the practice of veterinary medicine. According to Dr. Powell, there are many new innovations including: microchips, pet insurance, digital x-rays/dental x-rays, cloud-based software, and more (New Innovations in Veterinary Medicine, 2018). As Dr. Powell has noted, “The newer lines of microchips are made of acrylic, not glass. This allows the chips to be 30% thinner than older chips.” he also goes to explain how the chips are indestructible (New Innovations in Veterinary Medicine, 2018). Microchips are used to track animals if they have run away, been taken by someone, or been lost. Dr. Powell believes that the microchip technology will be enhanced to have active GPS location in them to allow a device to track where the chip is in any given time (New Innovations in Veterinary Medicine, 2018). This device would come in handy for many occasions including: natural disasters, animals being taken, and run-away animals. With the most recent natural disaster a lot of animals were left in terrible conditions and lost in the destruction from hurricane Florence. Microchips would help track down animals during this devastation. Another innovation that has increased the practice of veterinary medicine would be pet insurance. With this new method, Dr. Powell argues, “I really like pet insurance, for several reasons […] It allows us to practice better medicine and provides less stress to owners (and us) about the cost of larger procedures or preventing the use of better but more expensive medications” (New Innovations in Veterinary Medicine, 2018). The new innovations help veterinarians focus on the health of the animal with less stress on the cost of procedures.

Taking the veterinarian path as a career has both advantages. And disadvantages related to the field of veterinary medicine. Since veterinarians go through extensive and competitive schooling, it can create a stressful environment for veterinarians. They have to make quick decisions that will impact the health of animals being treated. In dealing with this, Dr. LaFoon suggests that one be willing. To continuously learn new information and be familiar. With the most common diseases to help rule out certain treatments. Another disadvantage would be the physical demands of this career. Veterinarians can be called in at any hour for emergencies. There are also many advantages, which include: impacting the lives of many for the better, keeping animals healthy, working towards the advancements of veterinary medicine, and more.

As a student decides to choose the career path of a veterinarian, one should be dedicated to the field and have passion for this career. The educational requirements for this field are demanding and take years to complete. An undergraduate degree in biology would set up a student for veterinary school. In order to be successful in veterinary medicine, one needs to continuously educate themselves and focus on the best way to treat their patients.

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Advantages when choosing a career as a veterinarian. (2022, Oct 05). Retrieved November 30, 2022 , from
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