Summer Sewell

What Is A Veterinarian?

A veterinarian, or vet, is commonly referred to as an animal doctor. They spend their days diagnosing, preventing, and treating sick or injured animals. While some work in clinics, others brave the elements and travel from client to client, especially if they are a livestock vet. Vets must be prepared to work in emergencies and have to have an understanding on how to handle animals of all sizes. In order to excel in this career, vets must be committed, passionate, and ready to get their hands a little dirty.
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Daily Tasks and Responsibilities

Vets must be skilled and prepared to use a variety of treatments as well as medical procedures. Among these include:

  • diagnosing animal health problems
  • vaccinating
  • treating and dressing wounds
  • performing surgery
  • advising owners
  • carrying out diagnostic tests
  • handling/examining animals of all sizes

Job Outlook and Salary

There will always be a demand for vets as long as people have pets; and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that from 2010 to 2020, the veterinary job market is expected to grow by nearly 36%. The average salary of a vet is $96,140 (as of 2013).

High School Preparation

One of the main courses vets need to excel at is Biology. This course enlightens them on how organisms work, function, and what they need to get better. A few other courses that are helpful are Animal Science, Anatomy, and Physiology. Ambitious vets can volunteer at animal shelters or hospitals in there free time.


A reference is someone who can help a person find a job, either by simply recommending or praising them. These people are very important because they can be the sole reason someone gets a job or doesn't. Three people who can serve as my reference include:

  1. Mr. Zitzka - Teacher/Coach, School District #212
  2. Mrs. Stolarsky - Teacher, School District #212
  3. Ms. DeVitto - Teacher/Coach, School District #212

Necessary Education/Training

To be a vet, you must complete four years of veterinary school to earn a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) after attending undergraduate school. The first two years consist of basic education needed for the practice, such as Math, Biology, and Anatomy and Physiology. The final two years of veterinary school specialize in training and instruction with hands-on experience.

Career Connections

Dr. Jan Pol is an active veterinarian in rural Beal City, Michigan. He has been in the veterinary practice for over half his life; and he and his wife originally opened a small vet office in their home. Throughout the years they have amassed over 19,000 clients, and they currently have their own show on Nat Geo Wild. Dr. Pol never says no to a client, even on holidays or in dangerous storms. He often says, "What's a vacation?" although he never complains about his profession. I've learned many techniques for treating animals and how to handle serious situations. Dr. Pol always has a smile on his face after he helps the patients and constantly praises his career. He taught me to choose a profession I love and am passionate about.
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Post - Secondary Plans

After attending undergraduate school, aspiring vets must enlist at a veterinary school. They spend two years educating themselves and another two years training. Once their four years are completed, they earn a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM).

Recommended Colleges

There are many notable colleges that provide a suitable veterinary education. Among these are:

  • University of Wisconsin - Madison
  • North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine
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Work Environment

Vets can find work almost anywhere - from cities to suburbs to the country. While some spend most of their time in clinics, others drive from client to client, especially if they are a livestock vet. Therefore, they have to brave the elements and work outside at farms and ranches. Since vets have to be on call for emergencies, they often work on holidays, weekends, or in the middle of the night. Also, there are some major health risks, especially for livestock and other large animal vets. They can be hurt by the animals, bitten, scratched, kicked, and even attacked if they work with exotic or untamed animals.
Equine Clinic Tour, a day in the life of an equine vet - Towcester Vets Equine Clinic

Work Experience

If someone wishes to be a vet, not only do they have to maintain good grades, they also have to have some experience. One of the best ways to do this is by volunteering at an animal shelter/hospital. An aspiring vet can develop valuable skills and techniques from older vets.
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