How long is Vet School?

Your interest in becoming a veterinarian is probably rooted in a strong love of animals, whether you’ve had that ambition since you were a little child or it just came to you later in life. That generally suggests you’re determined to become a veterinarian no matter the obstacles. But, you might be wondering how long is vet school. This is probably why you landed here.

In this article, you will get all the information you need on how many years in college will it take to be a vet, what it takes to start and finish, and how much you will earn as a vet.

How long is Vet School
How long is Vet School

It might take between seven and nine years to complete veterinary school and enter the field as a licensed veterinarian. Your precise timetable, however, may change based on your undergraduate program, whether you go to school full- or part-time, and whether you decide to get certified in a particular specialty.

Going to a vet school is not an easy feat but it is worth it. More than just a love of animals and a passion for caregiving are necessary for a successful veterinarian. Animal lovers may feel called to become veterinarians as college students.

A veterinarian helps pet owners take care of their furry, feathery, or scaly animals, playing a significant role in the community.

Additionally, they occasionally offer welfare services for abandoned animals. For animal lovers, it is a vocation that is frequently difficult but incredibly gratifying.

The question “How long does it take to become a veterinarian?” may be on your mind. Before beginning a school in veterinary medicine, a four-year undergraduate degree is often required. The bare minimum required courses offered by veterinary colleges must be finished.

Additionally, since professional veterinarians are required to keep up with the most recent developments in medical science and industry trends, it’s the perfect vocation for someone who considers themselves a lifelong learner.

What do vets do?

A Vet or veterinarian doctor is an expert in medicine who looks out for the health and welfare of animals, in order to identify and treat animal diseases, conduct preventative care like checkups, and treat sick or injured animals. They are college graduates of medicine and surgery with a focus on animal medicine.

Veterinarians, commonly referred to as “vets,” are trained to treat any kind of animal in general, depending on their area of expertise, but frequently focus on treating domestic animals like dogs and cats.

Veterinarians can find employment in many different environments and animal care facilities. Many treat domestic pets and small animals in private practice.

Some veterinarians treat their patients on farms and ranches, specializing in agricultural animals like cows, horses, and pigs.

Veterinarians are also employed by zoos, colleges, and animal preserves to care for and research the animals that reside there. They may have the chance to work in laboratories helping with disease-treating animal studies.

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What is the Job Description for a Veterinarian?

A veterinarian’s duties include identifying, treating, and sometimes doing research into illnesses that affect pets, livestock, zoo animals, and other animals. There are various veterinary specialties.

  • Companion animal veterinarian: This category includes the majority of vets. They have a focus on caring for domestic pets like cats and dogs.
  • Veterinarians who specialize in treating exotic animals: Some veterinarians have received extra training in treating exotic pets. These include reptiles, birds, and amphibians in addition to small pets like guinea pigs.
  • Veterinarians who specialize in caring for livestock, food animals, and large animals, such as horses, goats, and cattle. Instead of having their patients come to the veterinary hospital, large animal veterinarians frequently go to various farms and other facilities to visit their patients.
  • Veterinarians who treat laboratory animals: Not all veterinarians deal with the general public’s pets or livestock on a daily basis. Some perform research jobs in the background. For instance, a lab veterinarian may investigate fresh feed formulas for animals or carry out pharmacological research to create fresh veterinary medications.

Teaching veterinarians can seek a three-year residency after a one-year internship to concentrate on their areas of expertise. After a residency is successfully completed, a candidate is qualified to apply for board certification in a particular field.

At this time, some vets choose to work in a referral hospital while others decide to instruct aspiring vets.

  • Industrial and research veterinarians: Some veterinarians work with pharmaceutical businesses or research organizations like the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that create drugs or medical equipment for animals.

Most veterinarians undertake direct patient care, despite the fact that there are a few different specialist options. They assist in making sick animals feel better by working in veterinary hospitals and clinics.

Often compared to pediatrics, veterinarians are specialists in medicine. Veterinarians work with patients who are unable to respond to their questions regarding their health, much like pediatricians examining a baby.

Instead, in order to evaluate the patient’s health and make treatment recommendations, veterinarians must ask the pet parent numerous questions about the patient.

What does a Vet’s day look like?

A veterinarian’s day generally looks a little bit different every day. They do the following jobs on a daily basis:

  • Perform wellness examinations and educate pet owners on how to care for their pets.
  • Perform diagnostic tests and examinations.
  • Administer immunizations.
  • Treat injuries and administer medicine.
  • Perform surgery.
  • Veterinarians who own and operate their own private practices must also perform or contract out all facets of entrepreneurship, including employing personnel, controlling spending, and procuring new supplies.

How to Become a Veterinarian?

Now that you are familiar with the job description of a Vet It’s time to look at the steps involved in becoming a veterinarian and have a better idea of whether this is the right career for you.

It takes a while to become a vet, but there are solid reasons behind it. A thorough understanding of animal anatomy, illnesses, therapies, and preventative care is a requirement for veterinarians. Additionally, animal doctors must be able to work with a variety of species, unlike human doctors.

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To begin pursuing a career as a veterinarian, take the following actions:

1. Preparation for High School

It is more likely for students who are prepared for college-level coursework to complete their bachelor’s degree in four years. Students who need to take developmental math courses before taking college algebra, for example, may spend more time in college.

Take science courses like biology, anatomy, chemistry, physics, and animal science if they are offered while you are still in high school.

Consider enrolling in challenging math courses that foster critical thinking, such as calculus and trigonometry. Additionally, advanced placement courses might give you a strong foundation for the demanding college math and science courses that lie ahead of you.

2. Obtain a bachelor’s in science.

Obtain a Bachelor of Science in chemistry, biology, animal biology, zoology, or a comparable field of study after graduating from high school. The majority of undergraduate programs last four years and offer classes that can help you become ready for veterinary school.

In order to be ready to start a program after graduating from college, check with veterinary institutions to find out what prerequisite courses are needed for veterinary school.

3. Enroll in a Veterinary School

Applying to and being accepted into a veterinary school is the next step in beginning a career as a vet. The majority of veterinary programs require four years of study, including classroom instruction and practical clinical experience, to receive a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM).

To finish your degree, you must also pass the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE). Some veterinary schools demand that future doctors obtain prior experience working with animals, whether it is in veterinary hospitals, animal shelters, farms, stables, or other settings.

4. Apply for a license.

After receiving your DVM, you can submit an application for licensing in the state where you want to work. Passing a certification exam sponsored by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB) is a requirement for the process.

While veterinary school can help you get ready for the test, the independent study can help you solidify your understanding and finish exam practice questions.

5. Complete your internship.

Once they acquire their license, many veterinarians opt to finish an internship with an experienced vet. This enables novice veterinarians to gain experience under supervision prior to starting their own practice or working on their own at an established practice.

Most internships last a year and give trainee veterinarians the chance to gain knowledge about the managerial, commercial, and operational aspects of veterinary practice.

6. Strive to become specialized

Veterinarians might choose to specialize in fields like anesthesia and surgery, just like in conventional medicine. Veterinarians have access to in-depth training in more than 40 areas of animal health care. Depending on the field of practice, a specialization program may take two or three years to finish.

7. Become Board Certified

Finally, some veterinary professionals decide to pursue board certification. Veterinarians with advanced or specialized training who have aced a demanding exam proving their knowledge are given the title of “board certified.” There is a specific organization that handles certification for each specialization. Being a practicing veterinarian does not require board certification.

How long is vet school?

Typically, being a veterinarian requires at least eight years of education. An undergraduate degree typically requires four years to finish. The next step is for students to continue on to veterinary school, which usually lasts another four years.

Students can receive the relevant licenses and start working as veterinarians after successfully completing veterinary school. Please keep in mind that some veterinary school graduates decide to earn additional credentials, which will extend the process.

For instance, a recent veterinary school graduate might serve as an intern for an additional year to receive specialized clinical training. Others might need to complete two to five more years of residency training before becoming board certified in a medical or surgical specialty.

The following are some veterinary medicine specialization options:

  • Dermatology,
  • Cardiology,
  • Orthopedic surgery,
  • Neurology,
  • Zoo medicine,
  • Equine medicine

After graduating from veterinary school, professionals must keep learning to stay abreast of the most recent advances in medicine that may have an impact on their patients.

Veterinarians must fulfill annual continuing education requirements in every state in order to keep their licenses. To better serve their patients and advance their professional chances, some veterinarians who are currently in practice decide to complete specialist training.

For instance, they might decide to specialize in animal chiropractic care, veterinary dentistry, or ultrasound technology.

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Why does Vet School take so long?

Veterinarians in practice deal with a wide range of medical issues. It takes hours of studies, tests, and practical training to learn how to assist multiple species with dozens of health conditions.

Even if you decide to focus on particular expertise, you must first learn how to provide for the medical requirements of all sorts of animals. You will be able to achieve that over the four years, you will spend in veterinary school.

Should you decide to pursue specialized certification, they will also assist you in focusing your interests on a particular concentration.

Your higher education, along with internships and residencies, can also aid in determining the area of veterinary medicine that most appeal to you. There is a need for veterinarians in a variety of situations, such as veterinary hospitals, zoos, aquariums, farms, and ranches.

Veterinarians may decide not to directly practice medicine in several circumstances. Instead, they could use their expertise to aid in the training of upcoming generations of animal caregivers for jobs in veterinary science.

`These devoted professionals will teach you in the lab and serve as your teachers as you advance in your veterinary education.

No matter which exact field your passions lead you to pursue, nearly ten years of post-secondary education are required to prepare you for the reality of working as a veterinarian.

What is the salary and job outlook for vets?

The average yearly wage for veterinarians in the United States is $121,565. The geographical area, type of practice, level of education, and level of experience all affect an individual veterinarian’s pay.

For instance, a veterinarian in their first year at a small-town practice often makes less money than a veterinarian with 10 years of experience working for a private laboratory who is board certified.

By 2031, employment in veterinary medicine is predicted to expand by 19%, substantially faster than the average for all occupations, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Over the next ten years, the BLS predicts that there will be roughly 4,800 openings for veterinarians. The BLS attributes this increase in employment to the growing and aging pet population as well as scientific advancements in domestic animal healthcare.

Read: 10 Best Veterinary Colleges in California | Ranking 2023

What to Expect from a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) Program

For aspiring human physicians, vet school is similar to medical school in that it is demanding, demanding, and demands long hours of intense study. You’ll be enrolled full-time.

Students at veterinary schools typically spend roughly half of each day in lecture-based sessions and the other half in labs where they perform practical work both individually and in small groups.

You’ll probably go to the campus library to study for a few more hours once your day’s classes and labs are through. Additionally, students in veterinarian schools have extracurricular options, which give them much-needed social time with their peers.

Being a part of a study group has several advantages. First-year students might wish to opt for a study group managed by upperclassmen since these “veterans” have a better idea of precisely what content they need to concentrate on in order to succeed.

Expect to spend a lot of time studying anatomy and physiology since they are two of the most crucial classes.

You’ll do clinical rotations in the last year or two of veterinary school. Normally, they last six to eight weeks. You’ll work in a teaching hospital during a clinical rotation under the direction of a qualified veterinary professional.

As part of their clinical rotation, students will work closely with patients to diagnose and treat them. Every clinical rotation focuses on a particular branch of veterinary medicine, like the ones listed below:

  • Internal medicine for small animals
  • Anesthesiology
  • Radiology
  • Clinical pathology
  • Orthopedic procedures

These are only a few of the numerous clinical rotations finished. Don’t overlook options involving huge animals like horses. You’ll probably have the option to select some electives in addition to your obligatory clinical rotations.

Tips for getting into a Vet School

Veterinary school admissions can be extremely tough. As a result, you should start early in your academic career to establish yourself as a strong candidate.

One of the most crucial actions to take is to keep up outstanding grades while pursuing your bachelor’s degree. Good grades show the school that you are willing to put in the effort in addition to reflecting your academic strengths.

As was previously mentioned, it’s crucial to make sure you’ve finished all necessary coursework needed by the veterinary school(s) you’re applying to.

Additionally, you ought to make time to see your instructors when they are in the office. Discuss the course subject, seek out suggestions for additional reading, and talk about your career goals and other pertinent issues.

Why is getting to know your teachers important? You will be required to provide letters of recommendation when you apply to veterinary school. If your professors have come to know you outside of the classroom, they will be better able to write a strong recommendation letter for you.


What is a veterinarian?

A veterinarian is a professional who diagnoses, treats and prevents animal diseases. They also advise animal owners on proper care and nutrition for their pets.

What are the requirements for becoming a veterinarian?

Becoming a veterinarian requires completing a four-year degree at an accredited veterinary college and passing the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination.

What are the benefits of becoming a veterinarian?

There are many benefits to becoming a veterinarian. As a veterinarian, you will have the opportunity to help animals and their owners in a variety of ways.

You will be able to provide medical care and advice to your patients, and you will also be able to educate pet owners on how to best care for their animals.

Additionally, veterinarians often have very rewarding careers, as they are able to make a difference in the lives of both animals and their owners.


Building a career as a vet can be very tasking and long but it is worth the effort. Many countries have a great need for Vet services; as such, Vets have more employment opportunities to take advantage of if they are properly trained and certified.



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