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Vets tend to the medicine and healthcare needs of animals, consisting of pets, livestock, and zoo and research laboratory animals. Most vets work in private clinics, treating companion animals, for example, dogs and cats. They diagnose illnesses and perform medical procedures.

A small number of people who work in this field are equine veterinarians who treat horses, and food animal vets who work with farm animals. Some vets specialize in food safety and inspection.

They check livestock for health problems that animals can transmit to humans. Others are research veterinarians who study human and animal health conditions.

Quick Facts
In 2015, veterinarians earned a median annual salary of $88,490.
Slightly over 78,000 people worked in this occupation in 2014.
Most jobs are in veterinary offices and hospitals. Federal, state, and local governments employ others. Some veterinarians work for farms and colleges and universities.
The job outlook for this occupation is good, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This government agency expects employment to grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2024. Even with employment growth, this profession still doesn’t employ many people. Competition for jobs will be high.
1 in 6 veterinarians are self-employed
A Day in a Veterinarian’s Life
To learn about typical job duties in this field, we perused job listings on

Here are some of them:

” Perform general procedures, surgery, and dentistry” (Hospital).
” Build rapport with clients by gathering information and listening to, and empathizing with, their concerns” (Hospital).
” Evaluate and treat the shelter cats in our care” (Animal Shelter).
” Provide preventative medical, clinical, and surgical care to research animals” (Laboratory).

” Stay current on new medical information and changes in veterinary medicine” (Emergency Vet).
” Perform all common surgeries, including the use of all standard medical instruments, equipment, and anesthesia protocols. (Hospital).
The Truth About Being a Veterinarian.
Most veterinarians are on call around the clock since emergencies can occur at any time. Schedules may include evenings, weekends, and holidays.
Dealing with sick animals and their distraught owners can be very stressful.
Sick or frightened animals may bite, kick, or otherwise injure those who are treating them.
Education, Training, and Licensing Requirements.
To become a veterinarian, you will have to earn a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M. or V.M.D.) degree from an accredited college of veterinary medicine. Many schools admit applicants who don’t have a bachelor’s degree, having one will increase your odds of getting accepted. There is keen competition for entry into this four-year program.

Every state in the country licensed veterinarians. In addition to graduating from an accredited veterinary association, to become licensed, you will have to pass the North American Veterinary Licensing Exam (NAVLE) administered by the International Council for Veterinary Assessment.

Many states also administer their exams.

It is not required, many veterinarians choose to become certified in a specialty, for example, surgery or internal medicine. Requirements vary for each but may include experience in that area, passing an examination, spending additional time in school, or completing a three to four-year residency program.

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