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I am currently a sophomore in college as a pre-med, Biology major. I was thinking about going into Pre-vet, however, my main focus would be going towards becoming a zoo veterinarian. Is it worth it for me to switch or is becoming a zoo vet too high of a reach? I love both human and animal biology equally. Also, I do not attend a college with a well established pre-vet track.
 

WildZoo

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I think it's ok if that is your goal (would be silly if I didn't...it's mine as well), but I would be prepared for the possibility that you might end up doing other things before you get there, if you ever get there. Every step of the road to becoming a zoo vet is extremely competitive, whether you want to do a residency to become a boarded specialist or not. It's just a very small field that is difficult to get into. So I think if you decide to go down that road, it would be a good idea to be ok with the possibility that you might end up in GP or in some other area of vet med. And who knows, you might end up liking it. People change their minds about specialties and stuff like that all the time.

How much experience do you have what veterinary medicine?
 
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midnightkitten
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Currently, I have no experience because I have been focusing on pre-med and seeing if that was the option for me. I know that having no experience would put me way behind other applicants for the future but I am still undecided about which track to do. Im somewhat of a newbie when it comes to everything pre-vet.

Thank you for your quick response!
 
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midnightkitten
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Also, do you happen to know the approximate salary of a zoo vet? Google is giving me varying answers.

Thanks again.
 

Cephal0pod

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It is hard to find info on zoo vet salaries online. Sometimes you can get a feel for them by perusing job postings for veterinarians on the AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums) job boards; I haven't seen them mentioned in job postings very often, but they are occasionally.

What sparked your interest in vet med vs. human med?

Also: pre-vet track, schmre-vet track. All they do in a nutshell is make sure you take the appropriate pre-reqs. I did that on my own with a bit of research and did just fine. Don't let that worry you if you do decide to go the pre-vet route.
 

WildZoo

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Currently, I have no experience because I have been focusing on pre-med and seeing if that was the option for me. I know that having no experience would put me way behind other applicants for the future but I am still undecided about which track to do. Im somewhat of a newbie when it comes to everything pre-vet.

Thank you for your quick response!
I would suggest doing some shadowing before you commit to anything. The idea of being a vet is lovely in the abstract, but at this point you don't know what it is actually like. Since zoo is what you're interested in right now, I would try to see if you can shadow the vet at your local zoo if you have one for a few hours or a day. But even if you find that you really love that, I would start shadowing in some other areas too, especially private practice, since there is a good chance you would end up there if you go down the vet route. You still have a lot of time to decide, so don't stress about it too much. There's a lot of overlap between med school and vet school class requirements. You probably don't even need to be concerned with changing your academic plan at this point.
Also, do you happen to know the approximate salary of a zoo vet? Google is giving me varying answers.

Thanks again.
It varies a lot depending on what kind of zoo, what your responsibilities are, how much experience you have, etc. I've seen as low as 60k and as high as 120k and everything in between.
 

that redhead

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Also, do you happen to know the approximate salary of a zoo vet? Google is giving me varying answers.

Thanks again.
Salary during the required internships and residencies will be very, very low - $30k per year, for two years of internship (most have to do two years to be competitive) and three of residency. Salary would improve as you climbed the ranks, but finding a job is one of the hardest parts of zoo med. It is so connection dependent (as is getting a residency) so best to start making those contacts now. But as WZ said, be prepared to have to do something else in vet med.
 
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I caution everyone against majoring as "pre-vet". Because what if you change your mind later on? What if you can't get into vet school? What if you drop out of vet school? Then your bachelor's degree in Pre-Vet is essentially useless because it is too tailored to one specific field and you will be beaten out every time for jobs by other more broadly-educated STEM folk.
 
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A zoo vet is a very romantic idea as well, but I have to caution you - zoo med is insanely cutthraot. Probably the most of any specialty in vet med. Like others have said, you are looking at at least 2 internships after school plus residency, all of which pay pittance (I have seen many zoo internships that do not even pay at all) while the interest on your loans builds up. I have known SO many people that want to go into zoo med that end up doing small animal because there are simply too few jobs and the competition for those that exist is unbelievable fierce. It can be done if you are very lucky, are an extensive networker, and are willing to work for **** pay for 4-6 years after vet school, but I would NOT put all your eggs in that basket by any means.
 
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I am currently a sophomore in college as a pre-med, Biology major. I was thinking about going into Pre-vet, however, my main focus would be going towards becoming a zoo veterinarian. Is it worth it for me to switch or is becoming a zoo vet too high of a reach? I love both human and animal biology equally. Also, I do not attend a college with a well established pre-vet track.
Then absolutely do human med. The debt to salary ration is much more livable than ours. If there was any way I could have been equally as happy doing human med as vet med, I would have done human med in a heartbeat. But humans are gross ;)
 

WildZoo

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Salary during the required internships and residencies will be very, very low - $30k per year, for two years of internship (most have to do two years to be competitive) and three of residency. Salary would improve as you climbed the ranks, but finding a job is one of the hardest parts of zoo med. It is so connection dependent (as is getting a residency) so best to start making those contacts now. But as WZ said, be prepared to have to do something else in vet med.
Here's a sort of relevant question, because I've noticed that now it seems two internships is becoming more the norm, can you apply for an internship and a residency at the same time? Some of the residencies only require one (though of course two would make you more competitive) so would you be able to take a chance on applying to those at the same time that you're applying for a second internship?
 

Gwenevre

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I caution everyone against majoring as "pre-vet". Because what if you change your mind later on? What if you can't get into vet school? What if you drop out of vet school? Then your bachelor's degree in Pre-Vet is essentially useless because it is too tailored to one specific field and you will be beaten out every time for jobs by other more broadly-educated STEM folk.
QFT QFT QFT QFT
 

that redhead

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Here's a sort of relevant question, because I've noticed that now it seems two internships is becoming more the norm, can you apply for an internship and a residency at the same time? Some of the residencies only require one (though of course two would make you more competitive) so would you be able to take a chance on applying to those at the same time that you're applying for a second internship?
Yes, you can apply to both at the same time (a friend of mine did this past year, though not for zoo med). Even the residencies that "require" one will still be heavily biased toward those with two years - and of course, connections connections connections. I really can't emphasize that part enough.
 

pinkpuppy9

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To add on to the fact that zoo med is a dream job that very few get to have: I now know two recently ACZM boarded veterinarians without zoo-related jobs. :(

As much as it is my life's dream to work in a zoo, if I never end up in one, it could very well be for the best. I've been dwelling on how much sacrifice my boyfriend would have to make just to get us through internships and residencies. And that's before I think about all of the moving we might have to do.
 
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I've also heard that many people who go into vet school, come out and can't find a job for 3-4 years. How true is this?
 

orca2011

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I've also heard that many people who go into vet school, come out and can't find a job for 3-4 years. How true is this?
Everyone I've talked to in the class above me that did not do an internship has a job. Not saying that's everyone in the whole class, but the people I talked to frequently. Many had quite a few offers. I think a lot of it depends on how much you're willing to settle and whether you're geographically restricted.
 

LetItSnow

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I've also heard that many people who go into vet school, come out and can't find a job for 3-4 years. How true is this?
3-4 YEARS? No way.

Virtually everyone I know from my class had a job within a month or two from graduation (and most quite a bit sooner). And the two I know who didn't ... Well, there were reasons.

The issue isn't so much getting A job. It's getting one you want.

I had three offers before graduating and that was without sending out a single resume. And they were all very tempting offers in their own way. It would have been easy to snag more offers with minimal effort.
 

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I caution everyone against majoring as "pre-vet". Because what if you change your mind later on? What if you can't get into vet school? What if you drop out of vet school? Then your bachelor's degree in Pre-Vet is essentially useless because it is too tailored to one specific field and you will be beaten out every time for jobs by other more broadly-educated STEM folk.
Anecdotal evidence in support of the pre-vet degree, for what it's worth . . . . :)

I'm doing an English/Animal Science double major. For a while I was seriously considering dropping the pre-vet and just finishing the BA degree, since it takes 5 years to complete both. The extra year didn't seem worth it. My adviser cautioned against it because, of the Idaho residents who are accepted to WSU, the vast majority (~95% or more) are graduates of the pre-vet program. It's very rare for an Idaho resident to be accepted with any other degree.

So, in some cases (and this might just be an Idaho quirk), being "pre-vet" can be a good thing.
 

dyachei

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I've also heard that many people who go into vet school, come out and can't find a job for 3-4 years. How true is this?
no. sometimes it can take ~6 months, but even at the worst of the recession, everyone in my class had jobs by 6-7 months out. Now that isn't to say that they were good jobs. Some were for very low pay so they could keep looking, others took jobs they knew they wouldn't stay with but to get experience (for instance, I took a corporate job even though I knew I wouldn't want to be there long term. But it provided a very nice salary and the ability to keep looking for the right job).
 

Gwenevre

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Anecdotal evidence in support of the pre-vet degree, for what it's worth . . . . :)

I'm doing an English/Animal Science double major. For a while I was seriously considering dropping the pre-vet and just finishing the BA degree, since it takes 5 years to complete both. The extra year didn't seem worth it. My adviser cautioned against it because, of the Idaho residents who are accepted to WSU, the vast majority (~95% or more) are graduates of the pre-vet program. It's very rare for an Idaho resident to be accepted with any other degree.

So, in some cases (and this might just be an Idaho quirk), being "pre-vet" can be a good thing.
The cons of having only a pre-vet degree is that if vet school doesn't work out, you're hard pressed to find a decent job in the animal science field, especially when you're competing against graduates with Animal Production, AgEcon, Ag Systems, Ag Engineering degrees.

Personal anecdote, I graduated early with an ANSC Pre-vet degree. Was rejected from vet school two years in a row. I was working 3 part time jobs in the spring to stay afloat, all in research with professors I personally knew. After the summer ended, I had nothing; I was scrambling because all the jobs I would have wanted were taken. I lucked out because I knew a girl who had quit her company to work for the AVMA in Iowa, so internal knowledge and some assistance from a coworker got me an in at the job I just accepted.

But if you're a pre-vet major that isn't going to vet school, it's difficult to find a decent job unless you're willing to be a lab lackey at Eli Lily or Covance for a year first.
 
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Minnerbelle

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Anecdotal evidence in support of the pre-vet degree, for what it's worth . . . . :)

I'm doing an English/Animal Science double major. For a while I was seriously considering dropping the pre-vet and just finishing the BA degree, since it takes 5 years to complete both. The extra year didn't seem worth it. My adviser cautioned against it because, of the Idaho residents who are accepted to WSU, the vast majority (~95% or more) are graduates of the pre-vet program. It's very rare for an Idaho resident to be accepted with any other degree.

So, in some cases (and this might just be an Idaho quirk), being "pre-vet" can be a good thing.
I dunno, I think that's still a pretty weak reason to major pre-vet... I personally do judge resumes that have come by with a "prevet" or "premed" degree.
 

pinkpuppy9

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I dunno, I think that's still a pretty weak reason to major pre-vet... I personally do judge resumes that have come by with a "prevet" or "premed" degree.
How many schools actually offer a "degree" in preveterinary studies? Wouldn't it technically be a two year degree with strictly prereqs, or do some schools offer a full four year program and label it prevet?
 

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My school offered a degree in Animal Science with a concentration on the pre-requisites and a couple other pre-reqs to be considered for Purdue's 3+1 program
 
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Minnerbelle

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How many schools actually offer a "degree" in preveterinary studies? Wouldn't it technically be a two year degree with strictly prereqs, or do some schools offer a full four year program and label it prevet?
I think it really depends on the school. I've seen actual "pre-vet/pre-med" majors at 4 year universities.
 

Innerspeaker

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The cons of having only a pre-vet degree is that if vet school doesn't work out, you're hard pressed to find a decent job in the animal science field, especially when you're competing against graduates with Animal Production, AgEcon, Ag Systems, Ag Engineering degrees.
This. I wish I had switched my degree to something like Microbiology when I was having doubts/cold feet about vet school during my Junior and Senior years, and had simply minored in AVS for the animal contact experience.

An AVS bachelors isn't completely useless, but it does require you to be very creative in finding a decent paying job that is remotely related to your degree without pursuing any extra education. Unless you are willing to move out to an area with a huge livestock industry (which usually requires prior experience) or you are planning on getting a PhD and teach/research animal sciences, you may have a harder time if you don't get into vet school after graduation.
 

pinkpuppy9

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I think it really depends on the school. I've seen actual "pre-vet/pre-med" majors at 4 year universities.
My school offered a degree in Animal Science with a concentration on the pre-requisites and a couple other pre-reqs to be considered for Purdue's 3+1 program
I've mostly seen schools advertising 'preveterinary courses,' but nothing like a set program of study on its own. I think University of Findlay offers a legit prevet program with extra labs, requires internships in hospitals, etc. that falls under their Animal Science major....must be pretty similar to your school's program. Michigan State is the only ag school in Michigan, so you'd think they'd offer more of a pre-veterinary program since no other universities can compare with what MSU has to offer. However, I think I may have discussed this with an adviser years ago and they didn't institute such a program to contribute to the applicant pool diversity or something like that.
 
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Anecdotal evidence in support of the pre-vet degree, for what it's worth . . . . :)

I'm doing an English/Animal Science double major. For a while I was seriously considering dropping the pre-vet and just finishing the BA degree, since it takes 5 years to complete both. The extra year didn't seem worth it. My adviser cautioned against it because, of the Idaho residents who are accepted to WSU, the vast majority (~95% or more) are graduates of the pre-vet program. It's very rare for an Idaho resident to be accepted with any other degree.

So, in some cases (and this might just be an Idaho quirk), being "pre-vet" can be a good thing.

That doesn't mean anything about them preferring or requiring that specific degree, though. All that indicates is that of the most qualified applicants in terms of grades, GRE, experience, etc. most of them happened to have that major. Correlation vs causation and all that.

Plus that still assumes getting into vet school. Any small advantage having a "Pre-Vet" degree might give you to getting into vet school (which is debatable) is far outweighed by the stumbling blocks it will incur if you DON'T get in.
 
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I'm spending the time and money to complete both majors in 5 years, rather than one in 4, so maybe I just really want to believe it's the right decision . . . But I agree, the value of the pre-vet degree is largely contingent upon getting into vet school.
 

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I would wager that completing the pre-reqs and doing well in them is of much more importance than your major. But the only way to know for sure is to actually ask an adcom at the school. If there is a benefit, I would think it minuscule in comparison to a good gpa, gre, experiences, elors, and even academic rigor.
 
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Innerspeaker

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A lot of pre-vet people are recommended to do the AVS major at my school simply because 1) the advisers in this department know more about vet school requirements 2) large animal experience is incorporated into the curriculum via labs (we had to have 8 hours of on-farm animal techniques labs to graduate) 3) the curriculum is designed to fulfill the requirements for the in-state contract programs in local vet schools.

So yes, it's helpful if you are absolutely 1000% gunning for vet school, but if you are still uncertain, I would personally weigh other options.
 

dyachei

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A lot of pre-vet people are recommended to do the AVS major at my school simply because 1) the advisers in this department know more about vet school requirements 2) large animal experience is incorporated into the curriculum via labs (we had to have 8 hours of on-farm animal techniques labs to graduate) 3) the curriculum is designed to fulfill the requirements for the in-state contract programs in local vet schools.

So yes, it's helpful if you are absolutely 1000% gunning for vet school, but if you are still uncertain, I would personally weigh other options.
I guess I'm skeptical because a lot of advisors (even in those areas) don't actually know their stuff unless they actually went through the process themselves. You can also sometimes ask for an advisor outside your major.

Is it helpful? sure. But not as helpful as "you won't get in without it." I would also say that if #3 is a big deal for you, you aren't doing your research in terms of which vet schools to apply to.

I would also think that it's not helpful enough for me to spend another year in undergrad.
 
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Innerspeaker

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^ Yeah, agreed with everything you said. It's really not that difficult to do your own research and get yourself into vet school without needing a specific program.
 

dyachei

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^ Yeah, agreed with everything you said. It's really not that difficult to do your own research and get yourself into vet school without needing a specific program.
I mostly would worry about the cost of an extra year of school v. earlier entrance into vet school. The less debt you have now, the better off you will be later. Now that may not be an issue with scholarships, parental involvement, or winning the lottery. Most people don't have those luxuries
 
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Minnerbelle

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Aww, man, I would have killed to major in Microbiology if only my school offered it as an option; it's one of my favorite fields of science pretty much ever. We just have a straight B.S. and B.A. in Biology here -- very general, unfortunately, which gives me some concerns about job prospects should vet school not work out.
I don't think the major is nearly as important as you think it is. I graduated with a BA in biology, which is the only degree other than biochem that you could get in a bio related field at my college, which is well known for its rigorous science curriculum. I ended up being hired by a molecular biology lab for cancer research in at a world renown research institution, but I had offers from a biochem lab as well as a microbio lab that were just as respectable. What you learn in school is way more important than the exact name of the major. As a biology major, you can choose to take a bunch of microbio courses, etc...
 
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