Nov 29, 2020
3
1
Status
  1. Pre-Veterinary
I am currently a junior planning to apply to vet school this coming fall, I have a good bit of experience working in an ER as an assistant for the past 6 months and just started a GP position. The past week I have had a lot of anxiety about going to vet school and if it is worth it or not. I see so many vets complain about the debt load and unhappy they are in their field. I have worked at a GP for about 3 weeks and have already determined that is not for me. I am interested in nutrition, surgery, radiology, or some other specialization. I have decided that the debt is not worth it to me to apply to an out of state school so I will be focusing on my in-state school (Minnesota). At my current job, I talk a lot to owners so that part of the job is not scary to me. I am mainly worried about paying off debts and how unhappy other people are in the field and want to know if it is really worth it or should I look to another field (PA or biotech). For current vets or vet-students is it still worth it? I just want to be confident in my decision to apply and if there are positives in the field. Any advice is helpful for a currently very stressed out student!
 

SnowJ

UMN c/o 2022!
2+ Year Member
Jan 31, 2018
174
252
Status
  1. Pre-Veterinary
I am currently a junior planning to apply to vet school this coming fall, I have a good bit of experience working in an ER as an assistant for the past 6 months and just started a GP position. The past week I have had a lot of anxiety about going to vet school and if it is worth it or not. I see so many vets complain about the debt load and unhappy they are in their field. I have worked at a GP for about 3 weeks and have already determined that is not for me. I am interested in nutrition, surgery, radiology, or some other specialization. I have decided that the debt is not worth it to me to apply to an out of state school so I will be focusing on my in-state school (Minnesota). At my current job, I talk a lot to owners so that part of the job is not scary to me. I am mainly worried about paying off debts and how unhappy other people are in the field and want to know if it is really worth it or should I look to another field (PA or biotech). For current vets or vet-students is it still worth it? I just want to be confident in my decision to apply and if there are positives in the field. Any advice is helpful for a currently very stressed out student!
I am a third year (IS at MN, if you have any questions while applying feel free to PM me!) and despite the immense stress that veterinary school has put me through, for me it is still worth it. However I have never been able to see myself doing anything else and still can't; I get so much satisfaction from working with patients and owners in clinical practice that I don't think any other career would have been a good fit for me. I also have a husband who can support us financially during and after school, so that changes how the debt will affect my future.

The debt/income ratio is a major problem, and if it is getting intimidating it may be worth looking into other options and considering whether another career path would be a good fit for you. Getting in to your home state definitely helps, and specialists tend to make more than GP so depending on the specialty that becomes less of an issue, though it takes longer to make that income because of internships and residencies.

Every vet will emphasize the debt problems because they are a big deal and they can be an additional barrier/challenge to things like buying a house/new car and having children, so they want to make sure you know what you are getting into. There also is a lot of mental health problems and burnout in the profession, which we are only just starting to address. That being said, I have spoken to many vets who love what they do. The problems are still there, but there are ways to negotiate your work hours, salary, benefits etc to get a work/life balance that works for you (depending on specialization, location, etc there may be more or less leeway). There's a lot of warning because there are a lot of issues that are important to consider before you take on the debt of vet school, but there is good to go around too. If you are interested in specializing it may be worth reaching out to some specialists to ask them about their experiences.

I'd take some time to think hard about other career paths that work for you, continue to get a broad amount of vet experience to see what you like and what you don't, and consider whether moving forward is worth it. There are student debt calculators somewhere that can help you estimate what your situation is going to look like and whether it's worth that for you
 
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Georgethecat

2+ Year Member
Dec 21, 2016
156
201
I am currently a junior planning to apply to vet school this coming fall, I have a good bit of experience working in an ER as an assistant for the past 6 months and just started a GP position. The past week I have had a lot of anxiety about going to vet school and if it is worth it or not. I see so many vets complain about the debt load and unhappy they are in their field. I have worked at a GP for about 3 weeks and have already determined that is not for me. I am interested in nutrition, surgery, radiology, or some other specialization. I have decided that the debt is not worth it to me to apply to an out of state school so I will be focusing on my in-state school (Minnesota). At my current job, I talk a lot to owners so that part of the job is not scary to me. I am mainly worried about paying off debts and how unhappy other people are in the field and want to know if it is really worth it or should I look to another field (PA or biotech). For current vets or vet-students is it still worth it? I just want to be confident in my decision to apply and if there are positives in the field. Any advice is helpful for a currently very stressed out student!
Absolutely nothing wrong with applying to only your IS school. I attached the class profile which will give you a rough idea of how your stats compare.


Schools that are either cheaper or comparable to Minnesota in cost are: NC State, WSU, and Purdue.

Also individual GP clinics can vary HUGELY in terms of workplace environment and what kind of medicine is practiced. At one clinic you might be thinking "These people are miserable, why would anyone want to be a vet?, or this is not the kind of medicine I ever want to do..." At another practice you might think "This is so awesome, this is exactly what I want to do, these people work so well together..."

Exploring other career options is a good idea as well. At the end of the day if you end up with a gap year to figure out whether vet med or being a PA, etc is the best fit, that's okay too.
 
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britzen

VMCVM
2+ Year Member
Sep 28, 2017
791
1,399
Status
  1. Veterinary Student
I found this tool helpful when thinking about where to apply:

It will rank schools for you based on the expected overall cost of attendance. The reason NC State and WSU are cheaper for example, is that you can apply for residency after your first year. 1 year out of state + 3 years in state at those schools is overall cheaper than 4 years of in-state in Minnesota.

I'll leave others to talk about whether they are satisfied in clinical medicine. I sold my soul to the government in exchange for a cheap education :whistle: So some of the major vetmed stressors aren't major concerns for me (high debt load, dealing with clients, etc).
 
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WildZoo

Illegal in all 50, Unyeetable Wolf
Gold Donor
7+ Year Member
Apr 18, 2013
52,841
77,640
The doll factory
Status
  1. Veterinarian
I'm decently happy in my job despite GP not being what I want to do long term. I won't say I love it all the time, but most days are good days. There are always going to be individual factors that come in to play though. In my case...
- I work part time because I'm also doing a PhD
- Because my job knows school/research is my priority, I all but set my own work hours
- I know it's temporary
- I'm not paying into loans yet
- I'm married so not worrying about being the sole source of income
- I don't have or want kids (though I do like to spoil my pets :D )

I know plenty of vets who love their jobs and plenty who have found it doesn't work for them and have either moved to non-traditional jobs or are looking to leave the profession entirely. To some extent I think you have to go into it knowing that you might not ever get that dream job, you might be in a situation where you have a metric ton of loans and no good way to pay them off, you might find out it really isn't for you at all. So it definitely warrants some soul searching and getting absolutely as much experience as possible.

And absolutely yes, limit yourself to applying for your least expensive options, especially if there is even a hint of a thought in your head that you might be happy doing something else with your life.
.
 
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Nov 29, 2020
3
1
Status
  1. Pre-Veterinary
I am a third year (IS at MN, if you have any questions while applying feel free to PM me!) and despite the immense stress that veterinary school has put me through, for me it is still worth it. However I have never been able to see myself doing anything else and still can't; I get so much satisfaction from working with patients and owners in clinical practice that I don't think any other career would have been a good fit for me. I also have a husband who can support us financially during and after school, so that changes how the debt will affect my future.

The debt/income ratio is a major problem, and if it is getting intimidating it may be worth looking into other options and considering whether another career path would be a good fit for you. Getting in to your home state definitely helps, and specialists tend to make more than GP so depending on the specialty that becomes less of an issue, though it takes longer to make that income because of internships and residencies.

Every vet will emphasize the debt problems because they are a big deal and they can be an additional barrier/challenge to things like buying a house/new car and having children, so they want to make sure you know what you are getting into. There also is a lot of mental health problems and burnout in the profession, which we are only just starting to address. That being said, I have spoken to many vets who love what they do. The problems are still there, but there are ways to negotiate your work hours, salary, benefits etc to get a work/life balance that works for you (depending on specialization, location, etc there may be more or less leeway). There's a lot of warning because there are a lot of issues that are important to consider before you take on the debt of vet school, but there is good to go around too. If you are interested in specializing it may be worth reaching out to some specialists to ask them about their experiences.

I'd take some time to think hard about other career paths that work for you, continue to get a broad amount of vet experience to see what you like and what you don't, and consider whether moving forward is worth it. There are student debt calculators somewhere that can help you estimate what your situation is going to look like and whether it's worth that for you
Thank you so much this was so helpful! I really appreciate you taking the time to respond!
 
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Nov 29, 2020
3
1
Status
  1. Pre-Veterinary
I'm decently happy in my job despite GP not being what I want to do long term. I won't say I love it all the time, but most days are good days. There are always going to be individual factors that come in to play though. In my case...
- I woke part time because I'm also doing a PhD
- Because my job knows school/research is my priority, I all but set my own work hours
- I know it's temporary
- I'm not paying into loans yet
- I'm married so not worrying about being the sole source of income
- I don't have or want kids (though I do like to spoil my pets :D )

I know plenty of vets who love their jobs and plenty who have found it doesn't work for them and have either moved to non-traditional jobs or are looking to leave the profession entirely. To some extent I think you have to go into it knowing that you might not ever get that dream job, you might be in a situation where you have a metric ton of loans and no good way to pay them off, you might find out it really isn't for you at all. So it definitely warrants some soul searching and getting absolutely as much experience as possible.

And absolutely yes, limit yourself to applying for your least expensive options, especially if there is even a hint of a thought in your head that you might be happy doing something else with your life.
.
Thank you so much. It’s really great to hear from people who are still enjoying the profession! I’ve looked into doing stuff like PA school but i’m not sure if working with people is for me! I do really get a lot out of the profession and I think it could be a mistake to not take a chance due to fear.
 

KiwiKaykmoku

Future Conservation Veterinarian
Nov 6, 2019
52
43
Status
  1. Pre-Veterinary
I found this tool helpful when thinking about where to apply:

It will rank schools for you based on the expected overall cost of attendance. The reason NC State and WSU are cheaper for example, is that you can apply for residency after your first year. 1 year out of state + 3 years in state at those schools is overall cheaper than 4 years of in-state in Minnesota.

I'll leave others to talk about whether they are satisfied in clinical medicine. I sold my soul to the government in exchange for a cheap education :whistle: So some of the major vetmed stressors aren't major concerns for me (high debt load, dealing with clients, etc).
What government program are you talking about? I am very interested in this idea.
 

britzen

VMCVM
2+ Year Member
Sep 28, 2017
791
1,399
Status
  1. Veterinary Student
What government program are you talking about? I am very interested in this idea.
The USDA has three separate scholarship programs:

Adel A Malak scholarship through USDA - FSIS
Saul T Wilson scholarship through USDA - APHIS VS
Chester A Gibson scholarship through USDA - APHIS AC

The army also has the Health Professions Scholarship program if the military might be your thing
 

that redhead

10+ Year Member
Feb 26, 2010
11,262
11,343
Three weeks in one clinic is not going to give you a great idea of GP work. These clinics run the gamut from awesome to terrible. Staff morale is low right now with the pandemic anyway; ask a doctor practicing in the current climate at a clinic that doesn’t run well and is full of problems and you’re going to get all negative reviews.

I would encourage you to seek out other vet experience opportunities as well as opportunities in other fields that might interest you to get a better idea of your options. It’s all well and good to plan to specialize once you finish school but you have to get through school, which is heavily skewed toward general practice work, and then you have to get into your desired speciality. If that doesn’t work, you’re pretty much looking at GP work as your back up. I went that route personally and it took me five years to get into my specialty of choice. I was generally content doing GP work during that time but a lot of it was dependent on where I was working, and it was a hard pill to swallow to think I might never leave GP, as rewarding and fun as it could be.

Just food for thought.
 
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Meow2124

UIUC c/o 2024
2+ Year Member
May 21, 2018
38
68
Status
  1. Pre-Veterinary
Your concerns are valid and it is great that you are already thinking about the financial burdens you may face. I had similar experiences with vets in practice a few years ago, their moral was low, they were unhappy in their current positions, and they basically told me that I would not be happy in this field and to do something else. Thankfully I did not listen to them and continued in the field to find other veterinary professionals who turned those views around. Like others have said 6 months is not long and I would encourage you to get some more experience with different vets if possible.

Regarding the debt, I think it is smart that you are focusing on your in-state school as it will be the cheapest option, however, if you do decide to go out of state, there are still options. Planning is your greatest tool when it comes to handling financial stress; calculate your tuition, your costs of living, etc. and only take out what you need while you are in school. Personally, my fiancée and I spoke with a financial planner before I started school and were able to come up with some ways to save heavily and put some money into investment accounts. Some vet schools even offer financial planning courses! There is also a great Facebook group called Debt-Free Vets where vets get together and talk about how they have tackled their debt. Overall, I would recommend you get more experience in this field and really feel out if you think this is the field for you!
 
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