What Qualifications Are Needed to Become a Vet?


Quick Answer

Veterinarians typically have qualifications that include a bachelor's degree from a four-year college and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from an accredited veterinary school. Further, veterinarians can pursue board certification in one or more of the American Veterinary Medical Association-recognized veterinary specialties.

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Full Answer

Veterinary school graduates must pass the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination to practice in the United States. Qualified veterinarians must also obtain a license from the state in which they plan to practice. Each state has its own prerequisites that graduates must complete to be eligible for a license. Most states require veterinarians to pass a state exam, in addition to passing the NAVLE, that covers state laws and regulations. A state may also require a candidate to complete a certain number of supervised clinical work hours before applying for a license.

To maintain their qualifications, veterinarians are required to complete a certain number of continuing education hours over specific time periods throughout the course of their careers. Continuing education ensures veterinarians stay abreast of new treatment methods and technologies. Most states make license renewals contingent on the completion of continuing education requirements.

Veterinarians can pursue qualifications in specialty fields, such as surgery, microbiology and internal medicine, by taking additional coursework, sitting for a certification exam and completing a residency program.

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