How To Become a Veterinarian

  • Yes

    Votes: 2 66.7%
  • No

    Votes: 1 33.3%

  • Total voters
    3
Aug 28, 2016
3
0
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Hi I live in Tracy CA and am in 9th grade. I go to Millennium High School which don't accept D's and my average GPA is a 3.3. I would love to become a Companion Veterinarian but I've heard that if you want to become a Veterinarian you have to start as early as possible, so here I am. What do I have to do to become a Veterinarian? What do I have to study? How many hours do I have to work in a clinic? What does my GPA have to be? What college would be the best around my area? Please give me as much info about this topic as you can. I love working with animals so I think this is the right choice for me. Thanks in advance.
 

Bottle of Bear

Warning: Harmful if swallowed
2+ Year Member
Jun 20, 2016
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You're young you should go outside and enjoy life since most places won't take you on for volunteering until you're at least 16. And you have literally years to go before you even have to worry about applying so you've got plenty of time. That said, if you're super gung-ho about this and you just have to start right now or else you'll just die, you could try to help raise money or awareness for a local organization/animal shelter. But for now just focus on being a good student and enjoying time with your friends before you all scatter across the country.
 

lioness2408

Tufts c/o 2020
5+ Year Member
Jun 28, 2013
17
27
RI
Status
Veterinary Student
Hi Mustafa! I know I was definitely someone who wanted to get as big of a headstart on getting into vet school as possible, so I also started thinking about these things in high school. While it was helpful and enjoyable for me to start getting involved with veterinary and animal work at that time, Bottle of Bear is also correct in saying that it's okay to worry about high school now and vet school later. It all depends on what works for you!

That being said, to be a veterinarian you have to go to an undergraduate college for at least a few years (most people go for ~4 years and earn their Bachelor's, some go on to do Master's or even PhDs before vet school), and then you have to go to an accredited veterinary school for another four years. At a minimum this will be around 8 years of schooling, and afterwards veterinarians often do additional internships/residencies for a few years if they want to specialize.

While you are an undergraduate student, you can study just about anything you like as long as you still fulfill all the prerequisite courses for the vet schools you want to apply to. This can vary from school to school, but usually includes at least a couple of semesters of biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry, physics/math, and English. Your best shot for acceptance and a more affordable veterinary education is at your in-state vet college (if you are from CA, then these would be UC Davis and Western) so those would be the best places to go looking at what you'll have to take in college.

Their websites should also have information on the average GPA of accepted applicants, as well as average GRE scores (a standardized tests that vet schools ask for, kind of like the SAT). From what I remember, that GPA was usually around a 3.7. Veterinary schools will not look at your high school GPA, so right now you should be working on getting the best grades you can so that you can get into a good undergraduate college/get a good scholarship for undergraduate. It does not matter where you go to do your Bachelor's, but keep in mind that vet school is very expensive, so you should try to minimize the amount of money you'll spend on undergraduate as much as possible. For some people this might mean doing something like taking some classes/prerequisites at a local community college. You don't need to go to Harvard to get into vet school! Veterinary colleges also like to see research experience on applications, so any school that would allow you to do some of that would be a plus.

Finally, the average accepted veterinary applicant usually has around 1000 hours of veterinary experience (working directly with a vet) AND another 1000 hours of animal experience (working around animals without a vet present). I had a very hectic undergraduate schedule, and I was always very thankful that I had done some of the work getting my own experience hours while I was still in high school. While it is true that a lot of places will not let you volunteer until you are 16, I was able to volunteer walking dogs at a local animal shelter with my dad and to work with zookeepers at my local zoo before I was that old. Try looking for animal volunteer opportunities near you and see what comes up! Vet experience may be a little trickier since there are liability issues involved, but a practice that I worked at allowed people as young as middle schoolers to come shadow. Ask your parents to drive you around to local clinics so that you can ask about shadowing opportunities; dress professionally, ask politely, and see what happens!
 

Glammyre

DV(M Ph)D Plan
2+ Year Member
Sep 27, 2014
2,327
1,630
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Veterinarian
In terms of subjects to study for veterinary school - Some veterinary school websites post general information about what you can do as a high school student. Oklahoma State's is here. BoB and lioness gave other good advice - get good grades now to get into college, start volunteering when you can, and do everything you can to save money for school.

There's also a high school forum for SDN. I think most of it is pre-med focused, but you might find some additional resources there. Good luck and enjoy your studies!
 

cdoconn

obsessed with the plague
2+ Year Member
Jan 19, 2016
11,031
17,558
Status
Veterinary Student
I would definitely recommend majoring in something that will: give you a competitive edge to vet school, and a major that you can have a backup career in- in case you don't get accepted.


Sent from my iPhone using SDN mobile
 
OP
M
Aug 28, 2016
3
0
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Hi Mustafa! I know I was definitely someone who wanted to get as big of a headstart on getting into vet school as possible, so I also started thinking about these things in high school. While it was helpful and enjoyable for me to start getting involved with veterinary and animal work at that time, Bottle of Bear is also correct in saying that it's okay to worry about high school now and vet school later. It all depends on what works for you!

That being said, to be a veterinarian you have to go to an undergraduate college for at least a few years (most people go for ~4 years and earn their Bachelor's, some go on to do Master's or even PhDs before vet school), and then you have to go to an accredited veterinary school for another four years. At a minimum this will be around 8 years of schooling, and afterwards veterinarians often do additional internships/residencies for a few years if they want to specialize.

While you are an undergraduate student, you can study just about anything you like as long as you still fulfill all the prerequisite courses for the vet schools you want to apply to. This can vary from school to school, but usually includes at least a couple of semesters of biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry, physics/math, and English. Your best shot for acceptance and a more affordable veterinary education is at your in-state vet college (if you are from CA, then these would be UC Davis and Western) so those would be the best places to go looking at what you'll have to take in college.

Their websites should also have information on the average GPA of accepted applicants, as well as average GRE scores (a standardized tests that vet schools ask for, kind of like the SAT). From what I remember, that GPA was usually around a 3.7. Veterinary schools will not look at your high school GPA, so right now you should be working on getting the best grades you can so that you can get into a good undergraduate college/get a good scholarship for undergraduate. It does not matter where you go to do your Bachelor's, but keep in mind that vet school is very expensive, so you should try to minimize the amount of money you'll spend on undergraduate as much as possible. For some people this might mean doing something like taking some classes/prerequisites at a local community college. You don't need to go to Harvard to get into vet school! Veterinary colleges also like to see research experience on applications, so any school that would allow you to do some of that would be a plus.

Finally, the average accepted veterinary applicant usually has around 1000 hours of veterinary experience (working directly with a vet) AND another 1000 hours of animal experience (working around animals without a vet present). I had a very hectic undergraduate schedule, and I was always very thankful that I had done some of the work getting my own experience hours while I was still in high school. While it is true that a lot of places will not let you volunteer until you are 16, I was able to volunteer walking dogs at a local animal shelter with my dad and to work with zookeepers at my local zoo before I was that old. Try looking for animal volunteer opportunities near you and see what comes up! Vet experience may be a little trickier since there are liability issues involved, but a practice that I worked at allowed people as young as middle schoolers to come shadow. Ask your parents to drive you around to local clinics so that you can ask about shadowing opportunities; dress professionally, ask politely, and see what happens!
Hi I was wondering, would doing the 1000 hours without a vet present work at a clinic, just helping around with whatever they need?
 

lioness2408

Tufts c/o 2020
5+ Year Member
Jun 28, 2013
17
27
RI
Status
Veterinary Student
Hi I was wondering, would doing the 1000 hours without a vet present work at a clinic, just helping around with whatever they need?
From what I understand, helping out at a veterinary clinic usually counts as veterinary experience, unless you never interact with the vet (i.e. you only ever work in the back room cleaning kennels and never see any of the medical stuff).

For my animal experience hours, I volunteered at animal shelters, interned at a zoo, volunteered with the horses at a therapeutic riding barn, and worked as an animal care assistant at a bed and breakfast that kept livestock. These were all opportunities that allowed me to interact with a wide range of different animals outside of the context of veterinary medicine, which is helpful for learning the normal behavior and husbandry for different species
 
OP
M
Aug 28, 2016
3
0
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
From what I understand, helping out at a veterinary clinic usually counts as veterinary experience, unless you never interact with the vet (i.e. you only ever work in the back room cleaning kennels and never see any of the medical stuff).

For my animal experience hours, I volunteered at animal shelters, interned at a zoo, volunteered with the horses at a therapeutic riding barn, and worked as an animal care assistant at a bed and breakfast that kept livestock. These were all opportunities that allowed me to interact with a wide range of different animals outside of the context of veterinary medicine, which is helpful for learning the normal behavior and husbandry for different species
What do you think the chances of me become a veterinarian are? Because I feel like if I fail in becoming a veterinarian, I'll be jobless.
 
Jan 18, 2006
16,877
14,955
Status
Veterinarian
What do you think the chances of me become a veterinarian are? Because I feel like if I fail in becoming a veterinarian, I'll be jobless.
Take it from a vet:

1) You are in high school and it is impossible to tell. However, if you take this stance and put all our eggs in one basket, you are guaranteeing yourself a life of stress and burnout. Please, please, PLEASE take this time to explore career options and be open to a lot of different learning paths.

2) Do not put your entire self worth on being a veterinarian. Never rely on any particular field determining your self-worth.

3) Honestly speaking, there are thousands of other jobs that have better prospects that vet med. The debt is HUGE, the pay is low, and work is excruciating. You will NOT be jobless if you pursue a field with a good job outlook in a field you enjoy.

4) You are overthinking this far, FAR too early. Please focus on 1) learning have good work/life balance, 2) exploring many career options within animal science, NOT just vet med, and 3) get good grades and get into a good college, majoring in something you are interested in.

Don't put the blinkers on too early.
 

Okimo

SDN Bronze Donor
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Oct 3, 2012
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Your best shot for acceptance and a more affordable veterinary education is at your in-state vet college (if you are from CA, then these would be UC Davis and Western) so those would be the best places to go looking at what you'll have to take in college.
Western does not offer in-state tuition because we're a private school.
 

CaffeinatedSquirrel

Married into Medicine
Staff member
Administrator
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Jan 20, 2013
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Hi Mustafa! I know I was definitely someone who wanted to get as big of a headstart on getting into vet school as possible, so I also started thinking about these things in high school. While it was helpful and enjoyable for me to start getting involved with veterinary and animal work at that time, Bottle of Bear is also correct in saying that it's okay to worry about high school now and vet school later. It all depends on what works for you!

That being said, to be a veterinarian you have to go to an undergraduate college for at least a few years (most people go for ~4 years and earn their Bachelor's, some go on to do Master's or even PhDs before vet school), and then you have to go to an accredited veterinary school for another four years. At a minimum this will be around 8 years of schooling, and afterwards veterinarians often do additional internships/residencies for a few years if they want to specialize.

While you are an undergraduate student, you can study just about anything you like as long as you still fulfill all the prerequisite courses for the vet schools you want to apply to. This can vary from school to school, but usually includes at least a couple of semesters of biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry, physics/math, and English. Your best shot for acceptance and a more affordable veterinary education is at your in-state vet college (if you are from CA, then these would be UC Davis and Western) so those would be the best places to go looking at what you'll have to take in college.

Their websites should also have information on the average GPA of accepted applicants, as well as average GRE scores (a standardized tests that vet schools ask for, kind of like the SAT). From what I remember, that GPA was usually around a 3.7. Veterinary schools will not look at your high school GPA, so right now you should be working on getting the best grades you can so that you can get into a good undergraduate college/get a good scholarship for undergraduate. It does not matter where you go to do your Bachelor's, but keep in mind that vet school is very expensive, so you should try to minimize the amount of money you'll spend on undergraduate as much as possible. For some people this might mean doing something like taking some classes/prerequisites at a local community college. You don't need to go to Harvard to get into vet school! Veterinary colleges also like to see research experience on applications, so any school that would allow you to do some of that would be a plus.

Finally, the average accepted veterinary applicant usually has around 1000 hours of veterinary experience (working directly with a vet) AND another 1000 hours of animal experience (working around animals without a vet present). I had a very hectic undergraduate schedule, and I was always very thankful that I had done some of the work getting my own experience hours while I was still in high school. While it is true that a lot of places will not let you volunteer until you are 16, I was able to volunteer walking dogs at a local animal shelter with my dad and to work with zookeepers at my local zoo before I was that old. Try looking for animal volunteer opportunities near you and see what comes up! Vet experience may be a little trickier since there are liability issues involved, but a practice that I worked at allowed people as young as middle schoolers to come shadow. Ask your parents to drive you around to local clinics so that you can ask about shadowing opportunities; dress professionally, ask politely, and see what happens!
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