While veterinary medicine can be richly rewarding, a veterinarian’s day is not filled solely with adorable animals. It is important to develop a realistic picture of the profession before choosing this career. Failure to understand the demands and challenges of the profession can lead to dissatisfaction. Veterinarians must handle failure, loss, grieving and angry clients, and sometimes animals that have been neglected.
Each veterinary school’s website lists the school’s application process and pre-requisites. In general you will need to take a number of classes including: biology, math, English, chemistry, and physics to apply.
Most new graduate veterinarians in full-time positions earned between $59,900 and $93,500 in 2017. Over the last decade increases in the cost of education have far outpaced starting salaries for veterinarians.
For many generations of veterinarians, the positives of the profession far outweighed the negatives. The past two decades have seen significant increases in educational costs without a comparable increase in salaries. The hours can be long, the physical effort grueling, and the emotional impact of treating ill and injured animals daily can be difficult. While salaries vary widely, veterinarians rarely become wealthy.
A lady at my gym asked me what I do for a living. “I’m a veterinary pathologist,” I said and then paused, smiling, as I waited for the inevitable furrowing of brows and subsequent barrage of questions about my line of work. “You’re a…what?” she asked, her voice trailing off at the unexpected constellation of words I had concocted. “I’m a veterinary pathologist,” I repeated, more slowly. “I evaluate and interpret pathology specimens.” The brows relaxed, slightly, but I could tell she was still perplexed. I volunteered a slightly longer explanation: “I went to veterinary school, and then I completed a residency in pathology. Now I look at cytology cases (sometimes called needle biopsies) for a diagnostic lab.” “Oh,” she said, understanding more but still not enough to really know how I play a role in keeping pets healthy.