How Long Does It Take To Become A Veterinarian?

If you’re looking for a job that combines your passion for science and animals, being a veterinarian may be the right choice. 

However, since your patients with four legs cannot communicate, you must thoroughly know the signs, conditions, and illnesses that affect animals. 

Your veterinary degree can be used in various ways, such as continuing your education or training to become a recognized expert, working as a large- or small-animal veterinarian, or working in the government’s biosecurity and trade departments.

Therefore, how long does it take to become a veterinarian? We’ll discuss the length of the program, the value of attending veterinary school, and other topics in this article.

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What is a Veterinarian School like?

Learning the abilities, information, and practical experience required to become a veterinarian takes students at least seven years. 

Although a bachelor’s degree boosts a student’s chances of being accepted into the program, many veterinary medical colleges do not require applicants to have completed an undergraduate degree. 

To fulfill the requirements for admission to veterinary school, all students must finish a predetermined amount of credit hours (varying from 45 to 90 semester hours). 

A typical veterinary medicine doctoral degree program consists of three years of in-class instruction, lab work, and clinical experience, followed by one year of clinical rotations at a veterinary hospital or animal facility.

Additionally, those who decide to complete a residency program, which typically entails 3–4 years of additional training depending on the specialty, can become certified in one of the 40 specialties the American Veterinary Medical Association offers, such as surgery, dentistry, and internal medicine. 

Last but not least, there is no specific doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) program for veterinary medicine. Thus, anyone interested in conducting research or teaching veterinary medicine must devote more time to earning a different Ph.D.

Is Attending a Veterinarian School Worth It?

Being passionate about your work is vital because it makes all the effort worthwhile. 

Most veterinarians participate in the prevention, treatment, and diagnosis of animal illnesses and injuries. 

They may occasionally need to make difficult choices and assist animal owners during trying times. 

Nevertheless, helping an animal in need is always a fulfilling experience.

Remember that becoming a veterinarian is probably not the ideal career choice if you have hemophobia (an unreasonable fear of blood). 

But it’s very typical to experience apprehension when you witness surgery for the first time.

More importantly, getting part-time or casual employment at a veterinary clinic or attending yearly open days at veterinary schools to learn more about veterinary careers is a great way to decide if being a veterinarian is the correct career path for you. 

This will assist you in acquiring the skills and knowledge you need to work as a veterinarian. 

You might start by contacting a family or nearby vet to learn more about becoming a veterinarian. 

Overall, the veterinary profession can be challenging. 

However, it can be the ideal career for you if you are highly motivated, engaged in science, and concerned about the welfare and health of animals.

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What Schooling Do You Need to Be a Veterinarian?

1. Getting Ready for High School 

It is more likely for students who are prepared for college-level coursework to complete their bachelor’s degree in four years. 

For example, students who need to take developmental math courses before taking college algebra may spend more time in college. 

Take science courses like biology, anatomy, chemistry, physics, and animal science if they are offered while you are still in high school. 

Consider enrolling in challenging math courses that foster critical thinking, such as calculus and trigonometry. 

Additionally, advanced placement courses might give you a strong foundation for the demanding college math and science courses ahead of you.

2. A Bachelor Degree in Science 

Veterinary schools occasionally accept applicants without a college degree, although this is unusual, and entrance is tough. 

If they work with an adviser and stick to a plan of study that specifies which subjects they must take each semester, academically strong students may get a bachelor’s degree in four years or even less. 

You can also keep your graduation date by registering for online or in-person summer courses. 

Because veterinary schools typically need strong scores in undergraduate science courses, including biology, anatomy, physiology, microbiology, zoology, and animal science, aspiring veterinarians frequently major in one of the sciences. 

Depending on your veterinary school, you might also need to take specialized math, social studies, and humanities coursework.

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3. Veterinary School

Three of your four years in veterinary school will be spent in the classroom learning material, working in the lab, and getting hands-on experience. 

You’ll study the physical makeup, behavior, and illnesses of animals. 

You will also learn how to diagnose and treat animals and practice preventative care. 

As part of your clinical rotations in your fourth year, you will be working under the supervision of a qualified veterinarian in a veterinary clinic or animal hospital, where you will watch procedures and get first-hand experience. 

Afterward, you are qualified to sit for any state licensure exams required to practice veterinary medicine in your state and the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination.

4. Alternative Training 

After receiving your DVM license, you may want to continue your education in a specialty field. 

Like medical professionals, veterinarians can apply for an internship or enroll in a residency program to become specialists in advanced practice. 

For instance, you might specialize in treating cancer or internal medicine for animals.

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How Long Does It Take To Become a Licensed Veterinarian?

Depending on your route, finishing your veterinary education can take between 8 and 13 years. 

There is, however, a slight catch to this response. 

The drawback is that you must continue your education throughout your career to keep your license. 

Additionally, you don’t have to formally return to school (or spend a lot of money on anything), but you do need to keep up with the latest developments in the field of veterinary care. 

This can take the form of attending seminars, looking into research opportunities, or writing publications on veterinary science.

How Much Does It Cost to Become a Licensed Veterinarian?

The average cost of obtaining a doctorate in veterinary medicine varies depending on various factors unique to each instance. 

Less than 30 accredited veterinary schools exist in the United States, which raises the level of competitiveness among applicants and reduces the number of places where candidates can take advantage of in-state tuition discounts and be eligible for state-specific scholarships and financial aid. 

In addition, the price of vet school keeps rising faster than inflation. 

The typical cost of out-of-state tuition, fees, and living expenses in 2013 was $63,000 per year, according to the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges. 

This data shows a 35 percent growth from the previous ten years.

Residents typically pay between $16,000 and $50,000 annually for in-state tuition and fees. 

For instance, the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine’s tuition and the lower cost of living in the area, according to the Veterinary Information Network, offers one of the most affordable veterinary degree programs in the country to residents of Virginia and Maryland. 

For the 2015 academic year, Virginia/Maryland residents must pay $21,434 in tuition and fees, while out-of-state students must pay $46,366. 

The college had one of the largest applicant pools on the continent in 2012; as a result, it was only surpassed by three other institutions.

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Salary and Job Outlook for Veterinarians after Study

According to information provided by PayScale, the typical veterinarian income in the US and Australia is approximately $66,000. 

However, you can also increase your income by specializing in a certain field or gaining more expertise. 

The Australian Government National Skills Commission’s Job Outlook program offers many employment options. 

This demonstrates an increase in Australia’s employment rate.


A career as a veterinarian may be difficult because you may have to put in erratic hours of work. 

It is thought to be the finest career for animal lovers because the employees will keep you among animals. 

To grasp the veterinary science programs and specialized courses offered around the world, as well as the ongoing need for the safety of animals and birds, it is helpful to be aware of the process for how to become a veterinarian doctor. 

Nothing is more satisfying than pursuing your love for helping animals and birds and developing better medical solutions for their care.

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Frequently Asked Questions 

Is vet school difficult? 

The majority of undergraduate curricula are easier than those in veterinary school. 
Also, most veterinary students enroll in 25–30 credits of demanding science-based coursework each semester. 

This implies that veterinary students should plan on spending 35 to 40 hours per week in a classroom or lab in addition to the additional study time required.

Why should I become a veterinarian? 

Most vets may anticipate having a secure job. Over the following ten years, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 17 percent increase in veterinarian employment. 
Those who have served in the military can anticipate fair compensation. 
According to the BLS, the median salary for veterans was approximately $100,000 in 2020.

Is a vet’s job more challenging than a doctor’s?

Becoming a doctor is easier than being a veterinarian. 
Instead of focusing on a single body system or illness, a veterinarian must be able to recognize and care for hundreds of different animals and conditions. 
There are many different sizes and shapes of animals.

To become a veterinarian, what do I need? 

You must enroll in college and earn a veterinary science or medicine degree to become a veterinarian. 
Usually, the program lasts five years. 

You must have a solid background in science to be considered for admission to vet school. You must excel at and enjoy physics, chemistry, and biology.

Is applying to veterinary school more difficult than applying to medical school? 

Because biology and chemistry are required in the veterinary and medical disciplines, many of these schools’ prerequisites are identical. 
Even though prospective medical students must take the MCAT before applying to medical school, most people believe that veterinary school is more challenging than medical school.

Am I allowed to work while in vet school? 

Veterinary students have the chance to earn money while still in school. Even if you don’t make much money, every little bit counts. 
Although not all of the positions may offer the opportunity for practical experience, they are all pet-related.

How long does it take a veterinarian to pay off their education loans? 

Age range: 20 to 25 

Twenty-five years after graduation, graduates of veterinary schools might anticipate paying off their veterinary education. 
But because everything is income-dependent, repayment plans based on income are a terrific method to finish this task faster.

What is the cost of veterinary school? 

The anticipated four-year total cost of attendance (tuition, fees, and typical living expenditures) for recent pre-veterinary students entering veterinary school in the US ranges from $150,000 to $420,000. 

Your expenses will vary depending on whether you attend a private veterinary school or reside in a particular state.


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