Aveterinarian is a specialist who deals with diseases, disorders andinjuries in non-human animals. Non-human animals need care andprotection just as human beings, and it is the work of thesespecialists to ensure that. In any country, the local title used todescribe a veterinarian is a protected and regulated title.Therefore, members of the public who have not attained the requiredqualifications to be a veterinarian cannot treat animals because thejurisdiction emphasizes on the qualification. However, there arespecial instances where other specialists in the field canparticipate. An example is in Britain, where para-veterinary officerscan perform the duties of a veterinary doctor in their absence.Therefore, it is illegal to practice veterinary medicine without theprerequisite qualifications. This essay will focus on giving moreinformation about this career regarding education requirements,career opportunities and benefits.
EducationRequirements and Registration
Inorder to become a veterinarian, one must complete the relevantveterinary degree and be registered with the governing body allowedby the jurisdiction. Taking a degree course in a veterinary sciencecourse leads to attaining a bachelor’s degree in veterinarymedicine. However, the title awarded changes from one region toanother. For example, in India and United Kingdom an individual wouldbe awarded a Bachelor`s degree in Veterinary Science, Surgery orMedicine (BVS, BVSc, BVetMed or BVMS). In Ireland, on the other hand,graduates are awarded a Medicina Veterinaria Baccalaureate (MVB).This is different from North America where institutions awardgraduates with a Doctor of (DVM or VMD).
Inthe US, only 28 institutions have schools that offer veterinarymedicine that meets the standards of the American Association. In Canada, only five institutions offer veterinarystudies while only eight institutions serve the United Kingdom. Theseinstitutions usually prefer candidates with pre-universityqualification or experience in veterinary science. Formal experienceincludes working with a veterinary institution as a veterinaryassistant or having formal experience in research, agribusiness andother areas in health science. Informal experience is requesting towork in a veterinary environment such as an animal farm or acertified veterinary laboratory. These pre-veterinary courses usuallyfocus on the sciences. Applicants are required to take a yearequivalent classes in general biology, chemistry, physics, inorganic,organic, another single semester studying biochemistry and vertebrateembryology. College level calculus is the minimal mathematicalrequirement. Some institutions require additional studies in cellbiology, animal science, animal nutrition, livestock judging andgenetics. However, these courses are rare in many countries. Thesecountries have therefore removed these additional requirements toencourage more applicants. There are also postgraduate studiesoffered.
Aftercompletion of the degree course, many countries require a veterinaryscience graduate to register with the common regulatory body. In someinstances, such as Britain, the graduate sits for an examinationbefore being issued with the practicing license. The graduatecompletes an eight-hour examination, consisting of 360multiple-choice questions. These cover all aspects of veterinaryscience and medicine. Additionally, they are given visual material,which test skills in diagnosis. They should also receive a pass andabove on a national board examination, the North American VeterinaryLicensing Exam.
Dueto the scarcity of this course, it has become very competitive withmore than double the number of people who qualified for spotsapplying for admission in 2007. The acceptance rate is 46%. Currentadmission shows more female students are qualifying as applicantscompared to males.
Approximately75% of the graduates get employment opportunities in privatepractices, according to the American Association.Veterinarians specialized in small animals usually work in veterinaryclinics and hospitals while large animals’ specialists mostlytravel to the habitats that house the animals such as zoos, reservesor parks. Additionally, government agencies such as the defense forceemploy veterinarians for the military dogs. Other governmentinstitutions include the Department of Agriculture
Areasof specialization include Equine Medicine, large animal practice,Conservation Medicine, exotic animal veterinarians, food safetypractices, Aquatic medicine, Wildlife medicine and Food animalmedicine. Veterinary specialists who have attained relevantpostgraduate education are very few. They are often based at referralpoints such as veterinary referral hospitals, veterinary schools andlarge research centers. In different countries, this group has adifferent board of accreditation, licensing and regulation.
Theaverage salary given to a new graduate in the United States in 2010was US$48,674. This included almost 50% of programs related to theadvanced study. Those who did not continue their studies received anaverage salary of US$67,359 initially while the specialists inBritain earned slightly less. The new graduates’ wages at wasaveraging at £25,000.
Therewas an improvement in the private sector between 2005 and 2007 wheresalaries rose from $105,510 to $115,447. These figures are more thanwhat public servants, including uniformed officers received. InAustralia, the average salary in the profession was US$67,000 by2011. However, for the past 30 years, the value has been decreasingwith increasing numbers of new graduates who are unemployed.
Hoblet,K. H., Maccabe, A. T., & Heider, L. E. (2003). Veterinarians inpopulation health and public practice: meeting critical nationalneeds. Journalof veterinary medical education, 30(3),287-294.