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What they do:

Veterinarians care for the health of animals. They diagnose, treat and/or research medical conditions and diseases of pets, livestock, zoo animals, racetrack animals, and animals in laboratories.

Veterinarians are obviously animal doctors, but their work does help people as well. By inspecting livestock, vets help to protect our food. They promote public health by fighting animal-borne diseases. And vets also educate people on how to have healthy relationships with animals.


  • Completed bachelor’s degree.

  • Completed doctor of veterinary medicine degree, which usually takes 4 years.

  • Obtain a state license to practice veterinary medicine.

  • Half of new graduates will also pursue additional training or degrees in specialties, such as epidemiology, nutrition, or surgery.

  • Business training can be very helpful for vets planning on running their own practices.

Keep in mind that coursework is science heavy, so if this is not your thing, a career as a vet may not be for you.

What they make:

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for veterinarians was $88,490 in May 2015.

Where they work:

  • Private clinics/offices.

  • Animal hospitals.

  • Farms.

  • Laboratories.


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of veterinarians is projected to grow 9% from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations. Candidates should expect very strong competition for available veterinarian positions, especially in companion animal care. Those with specializations and prior work experience should have the best job opportunities.


For more information visit the AAVMC (Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges) website.



Updated February 2017