Veterinarian

What is a Veterinarian?

The first part of the veterinarian's oath indicates the expectations of the profession:

"Being admitted to the profession of veterinary medicine, I solemnly swear to use my scientific knowledge and skills for the benefit of society through the protection of animal health, the relief of animal suffering, the conservation of animal resources, the promotion of public health, and the advancement of medical knowledge."  (AVMA)

What do Veterinarians do?

Veterinarians have diverse and flexible careers. However, most (74%) of the 59,700 vets nationwide are in a small private, general practice.  Other career opportunities include working in an emergency veterinary clinic, a zoo or marine park; caring for large animals on farms; conducting research and teaching at a university; and helping to prevent the spread of animal-related disease as an employee of  a public health agency.

What is the current job market?

In 2008, the mean yearly income for all vets was $89,450 and the median was $79,050.  Veterinarians in government  and corporate practices tend to make a bit more ($93,398).

Job opportunities for veterinarians are expected to grow much faster than average over the next several years.  According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, the greatest potential growth in the veterinary profession is in specialty areas like molecular medicine, laboratory animal medicine, toxicology, immunology and diagnostic pathology.  Each of these specialties requires postgraduate education.

Education

There are 28 schools of veterinary medicine in the United States with about 2,500 graduates each year.  The only veterinary college in Florida is at the University of Florida.  Here are the stats for the class that entered UF in the Fall of 2009:

  • 862 applicants (301 in state)
  • 227 interviews (163 in state)
  • 101 admits (84 in state)
  • 88 in final class (82 in state)

Students in the entering class had an average overall GPA of 3.51 (3.56 science GPA) and a GRE total score of 1203.

Application Process

All applications are submitted online through VMCAS, and Oct. 1 is the deadline for submitting this ‘primary' application.  The schools that you apply to then may send you a ‘secondary' application.

The undergraduate prerequisites vary from school to school but typically include a year of Introductory Biology, Chemistry and Physics, a year of Organic Chemistry, a semester of Biochemistry, Calculus, Statistics, Microbiology and Genetics, plus courses in English, Social Sciences and Humanities.  Applicants to UF also have to take Animal Science and Nutrition at UF one summer.

 Find Out More

  • Association of American Veterinary Medical Col- leges (www.aavmc.org)
  • American Veterinary Medi cal Association(www.avma.org)
  • Veterinary Medical College Application Service(www.vmcas.org)