Should I Become a Veterinarian?: The Ins and Outs of Veterinary Medicine

At some point during the course of their childhoods, most animal lovers consider a career in veterinary medicine.

After all, they reason, what could be better than spending their days in the company of their beloved animals; maintaining their health and extending their life spans?

It is true that veterinary careers are fulfilling ones. Veterinarians get the satisfaction of knowing that they are improving and at times saving the lives of people's best friends. They are honored and respected members of the community, and are well-paid; indeed, the average salary for most veterinarians ranges between $70,000-$90,000. And if they own a veterinary practice, they stand to make far more.

The fact remains, however, that veterinary medicine is not a dream job for everyone. You have to study long and hard to become a veterinarian, earning both a degree and a license. Many of your classes will concern math and science, which are not popular subjects with a good number of people. In addition, the educational journey for many prospective veterinarians may be complicated by the fact that only a limited number of accredited veterinary schools (and, for that matter, universities that offer certified veterinary programs) have been established in the United States; the competition for places and status in these programs is fierce and never ending.

If you do succeed at becoming a veterinarian, you face a tough and sometimes unpleasant job. Veterinarians have to conduct tests for diseases like rabies, and must sometimes administer shots and urine tests. As an animal doctor there's a good chance that you at some point will be barked at, growled at, or even bitten. You will have to deal with all varieties of animals, not just the cute and cuddly ones. And, in some cases, veterinarians even have to euthanize pets who suffer from terminal or dehabilitating illnesses. This part of the job can be particularly rough for the devoted animal lover.

And unlike human patients, animals are unable to communicate their pains and ills in a clear, verbalized manner. For this reason, those who become veterinarians must possess heightened sensitivity and advanced communication skills. You have to be able to, as the old song says, "talk to the animals;" and, ultimately, to treat, heal and cure them successfully.

Veterinary medicine is not for everyone. Yet skilled, qualified, and most importantly caring veterinary professionals are greatly needed in today's world. As long as people have pets, they'll need trained and experienced doctors to take care of them. Every town, community and nation in the world—from the smallest to the largest, the most impoverished to the richest and most technologically advanced—is in need of veterinary professionals, to serve and take care of its creature population.

All veterinarians should be animal lovers. Conversely, however, not all animal lovers should be veterinarians. Yet if you have both an enthusiasm for animals and a true, sincere passion for the field of medicine, then a job in veterinary medicine may be perfect for you. Check out veterinary careers today!

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Medical Careers Mentioned

  • Veterinarians
    Salary: $79,050
    Job Prospects: A+
    Education After HS: 8 years
    # Employed: 53,110
    Part Time: 10%

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