What Are the Typical Education Requirements to Become a Veterinarian?


Quick Answer

To become a veterinarian, an individual must complete four years of undergraduate education, enroll in a four-year program in a veterinary school, and graduate with a doctor of veterinary medicine or veterinary medical doctor degree. To practice veterinary medicine, veterinarians must past state-specific examinations and obtain state licensure.

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Full Answer

To become veterinarians, students start preparing for career opportunities early by taking mathematics and science courses in middle and high school. Taking undergraduate degree programs that are strong in biological and physical sciences increases the chances of gaining admittance to veterinary schools. Most veterinary colleges require a GPA of 3.5 or higher, animal and clinical experience, and letters of recommendation from academic advisers and veterinarians.

Students who are accepted into the four-year program in veterinary school take science courses, including anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pathology and microbiology. Students spend the early years of the program in classrooms and laboratories and later gain additional experience in clinical rotations. After graduation, some veterinarians seek additional training through one-year internships or residency programs that last two to three years. Before obtaining licenses to practice, veterinarians must pass state examinations that test their knowledge on veterinary medicine and laws and regulations governing the practice. To maintain their licenses, veterinarians must seek continuing education.

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