Need to know how to become a vet? Many children dream of becoming a veterinarian one day, but those who still have that dream as adults need to know how to become a vet. The road to becoming a veterinarian is a long, hard and expensive one, but it is very rewarding nonetheless. There are alternatives to becoming a doctor of veterinary medicine (DVM), such as becoming a veterinary assistant or veterinary technician, which require varying levels of education, but we're going to be focusing on how to get the Dr. in front of your name.
- Get involved as early as possible. Whether you're eight or 80, you can get involved with animals. Volunteer to help at the local animal rescue, find out if you can shadow a veterinarian for a day, and generally do anything you can to get involved with animals. If you don't already know what kind of animals you'd like to doctor, this could be a great opportunity to find out. If you do already know, try working with those specific animals. For instance, if you want to become an equine vet, you can get horseback riding lessons, or be a counselor or member of a horseback riding summer camp. Ask your instructor if you can be present when the vet comes to check on or help any sick horses. When you do get to meet a veterinarian, ask her questions about her job and let her know that you want to become a vet too. Most vets will be very nice and helpful, and some might even allow you to help them with what they're doing!
- If possible, start working towards it in high school. Some high schools now even offer veterinary programs. Through these program students can earn certification as veterinary assistants. Academies and programs have been popping up across the country that can help you meet your goals. If there is no veterinary program near you, take as many science classes as possible. Work towards achieving the best grades possible, as it's tough to get into vet school.
- Attend a veterinary college. It's best to choose a college that offers pre-vet classes. Most veterinary schools require that you have at least four years of undergraduate classes and require specific courses, GPA and VCAT scores. It is very important to check with the school you wish to attend to see what their requirements are. The more work experience you can get in a veterinary practice, the better. You will also have to choose what animals you wish to specialize in, whether it's small animals, large animals, exotics, etc. Completing vet school is going to be extremely hard and costly.
- Get your veterinary license. After graduating from veterinary school, and officially becoming a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (and finally getting that Dr. in front of your name), you must take the North American Veterinary Licensing Exam in order to get your veterinary license.
- Open your practice, or get a job at someone else's. Many veterinarians open their practices with another vet in the area and work in conjunction with each other. Opening your own practice is extremely expensive with all the items needed to create a safe, working practice for the animals. And chances are, you're still in debt from vet school.