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What You Need to Become a Vet

By: Margaret Paxton - Updated: 22 Apr 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
What You Need To Become A Vet

The life of a veterinarian is a mixed bag. One minute, in a meticulously clean operatingtheatre, performing routine surgery on an anaesthetised cat; the next, battling through wind and rain to help a (large and frightened) bullock that's managed to wrap itself in wire. From 'A' levels to veterinary practice; it takes hard work to get there and even more to stay!

Qualifications Needed

Vets who want to practice in the UK must be registered with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. To get this far, they need to have done a veterinary degree at one of the RCVS approved establishments; a course that usually takes 5 years. Acceptance for entry to these universities varies, but candidates will probably need the following:
  • Biology 'A' Level, as well as one or two from Physics, Chemistry and Maths.
  • Grades at 'A' Level, two A's and a B, or, in some cases, three A's.
  • Alternatively, a distinction in BTEC Diploma in Animal Science may be considered.

The requirements for mature students without degrees include good GCSE and 'A' level results in the above subjects. Graduates should have at least one upper second class degree ina related subject. For both, check first, as these students may have to pay full tuition fees.

Applications for places on veterinary degree courses are made through the Universities &College Admissions Service, UCAS. Anyone interested in applying should consult the prospectus carefully first.

Evidence of a candidate's interest and commitment to the subject will be required by alluniversity veterinarian schools. It will be expected that they have worked with and handledanimals, including livestock. This is another thing to check-work experience requirements dovary between universities.

General Obligations

All vets are obliged to deal with emergencies that involve any species of animal, at any time, every day of the year. The vets' job involves a huge amount of commitment and hard work wherever it takes them. Their role is crucial in the prevention of disease in animals, the care of pets, horses, farm animals and zoo animals and in the provision of medical and surgical treatment for them all.

General Practice

This is where most vets start their working lives. Small animals like cats, dogs, rabbits and other companion animals are seen more than any other animal, but, unless otherwise stated, vets from general practices will also treat horses and other large animals.

The experience gained by working at a general practice is extremely valuable; whatever the next stage in a vet's career.

Basically, the work entails routine surgery like the castration of dogs and neutering of cats, giving preventive treatment by vaccination, the supply of prescribed drugs for worming and flea treatment, supervision of special diets and dealing with emergencies. This is a very basic outline though-there are numerous other elements to be considered!

Specialising

For vets who want to continue working in small animal practice, there are several different areas of specialisation to choose from if they wish to study further. Soft tissue, orthopaedics, Castro, ear, nose and throat, dermatology-to name but a few. General practices will refer patients to these specialists' clinics, or practices, in specific cases.

Other options for specialising include equine veterinary practice, mixed practice, zoo animals, food-producing animals, wildlife, research and genetics, plus various further specialisations within these headings and others not mentioned here.

Continued Study

Whatever direction vets choose to pursue in their careers with animals they are expected to keep their skills up to date and their knowledge current, to keep abreast of changes in all aspects of veterinary care and procedures.

Summary

Becoming a vet requires dedication to studies, patience and a total commitment to animals. The hours are long-animals get sick 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Vets alsoneed to be good communicators (animals have owners) must work well within a team (with other vets and veterinary nurses) and be able to organise their paperwork!

The rewards are good remuneration and the satisfaction of spending a lifetime helping animals-with all thefantastic experiences that involves.

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Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
i in yeaer 9 I realy want to be a vetinary surgeon but witch would be better to work with small animals or farm animals because im more used to farm animals because I live on a farm and know a lot about the farm
saoirse - 22-Apr-17 @ 1:16 PM
Zeenhle - Your Question:
Hi! I am still in high school I just want to ask which subject must I choose to be a vet doctor

Our Response:
Please see link here and BVA link here for some additional information.
CareerWithAnimals - 27-Mar-17 @ 12:26 PM
Hi! I am still in high school i just want to ask which subject must i choose to be a vet doctor
Zeenhle - 26-Mar-17 @ 9:13 PM
Holly - Your Question:
Hi im in year 9 and have already started my GCSE's.what qualifications do I need to become a vet

Our Response:
Please see RCVS link here for further advice. I hope this helps.
CareerWithAnimals - 13-Feb-17 @ 11:27 AM
Hi im in year 9 and have already started my GCSE's.what qualifications do i need to become a vet
Holly - 12-Feb-17 @ 8:47 AM
I am 15 and I really love animals.I plan to become a vet and am taking a lot of biology, math, English, and animal science classes.I live in the United States and was wondering how to become a vet in the U.K.
Nia - 8-Feb-17 @ 4:11 PM
Sally - Your Question:
I'm in year 9, and I am starting to choose my GCSE options. What grades do you have to get to become a veterinary surgeon, and what universities can I go to?

Our Response:
You can see more via the link here. However, studying to be a vet is extremely competitive and popular, therefore the higher the grades you get in GSCEs and A'Levels, the better the chance you will have to get a place.
CareerWithAnimals - 27-Jan-17 @ 1:42 PM
I'm in year 9, and I am starting to choose my GCSE options. What grades do you have to get to become a veterinary surgeon, and what universities can I go to?
Sally - 26-Jan-17 @ 8:22 PM
Hi I am in year 9 and about to choose my GCSEs and I really would like to become a large animal vet we I finish school but I don't know what subjects to choose???
Hannah Ambler - 13-Jan-17 @ 7:33 PM
Hii...ive just picked my gcses and im gonna start then after x mas and i want to know exactly what results i need to get so i can start workin towards them x
Mollie - 17-Dec-16 @ 2:16 PM
I want to be a veterinary surgeon, but I'm doing history, life sciences and mathematics my question is would I still be able tobecome a vet doing those subjects?
Strawberry - 22-Aug-16 @ 3:58 PM
Hi I'm going into year 11 and I would love to be a vet when I finish. Unfortunately I take all BTEC courses, would I still be able to be a vet if I do BTEC courses??(My science teacher said that's I'm able to get an A)
Ellsbells - 20-Aug-16 @ 3:39 PM
charlie123450 - Your Question:
Hi,I'm currently in year 10 and have done work experience in a veterinary hospital so I know that I would love to be a veterinary surgeon. I do not want to go to sixth form and do A levels but would love to go to college and do a course. Is it possible to go to college and then to university to become a veterinary surgeon?Thank you,Charlie.

Our Response:
You can check out more information regarding the routes in to a career as a vet via the National Careers link here and likewise other options in the field include; veterinary nurse here or veterinary physiotherapist here. I hope this helps.
CareerWithAnimals - 7-Jul-16 @ 11:53 AM
Hi, I'm currently in year 10 and have done work experience in a veterinary hospital so i know that I would love to be a veterinary surgeon. I do not want to go to sixth form and do A levels but would love to go to college and do a course. Is it possible to go to college and then to university to become a veterinary surgeon? Thank you, Charlie.
charlie123450 - 6-Jul-16 @ 1:53 PM
Danielle.Simpson - Your Question:
Hi, I'm 11 years old and when I'm older, I would LOVE to become a qualified veterinarian. What qualifications do you require to become a qualified veterinarian and how many years does it take?Thanks-Danielle

Our Response:
You can find out all you need to know via the National Careers site here. There are also alternative jobs in the profession such as a veterinary nurse here and a veterinary physiotherapist here. We wish you the best of luck with your career.
CareerWithAnimals - 22-Apr-16 @ 12:46 PM
Hi, I'm 11 years old and when I'm older, I would LOVE to become a qualified veterinarian. What qualifications do you require to become a qualified veterinarian and how many years does it take?Thanks-Danielle.
Danielle.Simpson - 21-Apr-16 @ 6:03 PM
Animallover365/24/7 - Your Question:
I really want to be a vet when I'm older but I'm a little unsure of what GCSEs to take. What should I take in order to become a vet??

Our Response:
In addition to the information in the article, you can find out all you need to know via the National Careers Service link here.
CareerWithAnimals - 29-Feb-16 @ 12:57 PM
I really want to be a vet when I'm older but I'm a little unsure of what GCSEs to take. What should I take in order to become a vet??
Animallover365/24/7 - 28-Feb-16 @ 8:12 PM
Hi, I'm Chloe I'm currently in year 8 (12 Years old ). Looking to the future, The 'Dream Job' I see myself in 10 years would be a Vet. I really want this job, But I don't think I'm capable of the requirements. Most of my predicted grades are all C's and B's. I don't think I'm working at the same ability as most students in my class as I missed the whole of year six. Apparently, I have caught up... But I just don't feel confident in myself to be able to achieve A*-C. I think It's my attitude towards myself that let's me down a little bit, I'm almost convincing myself I'm dumb. And I'm starting to believe it!
Chloe - 1-Feb-16 @ 9:39 AM
At my school only the top 64 students get triple science so do you need triple science to be a vet or can you just take double.
---- - 22-Jan-16 @ 9:28 PM
nick- Your Question:
Im an A level student and im doing maths.bio n geography.is it possible for me to become a veterinary surgeon

Our Response:
As specified in the article and by the National Careers Service, to do a degree in this subject, you will normally need five GCSEs (A-C) including maths, English language and science, plus three A levels including biology and one or two subjects from chemistry, physics or maths. You should check with universities for exact entry requirements as other qualifications may also be accepted. Please see link here for further information. I hope this helps.
CareerWithAnimals - 12-Jan-16 @ 2:36 PM
im an A level student and im doing maths .bio n geography ..is it possible for me to become a veterinary surgeon
nick - 12-Jan-16 @ 11:12 AM
Hi, I'm currently taking two math classes and bio. Next year I'll be taking chemistry plus anatomy and physiology and pre calc... I am not very good at science but I do really well in math. I am average in science and above average in math; Also, I want to get 5 math credits and at least 5 science credits by the time I graduate. Senior year I'll be taking AP Calculus. Would I be able to still become a Veterinarian for pets such as cats and dogs with my science grades?
Bambi - 28-Dec-15 @ 12:05 AM
hi , am 14 . em i actually want to avet . cool right . i actually have a bunny and her name is coco and she is so cute
vicki - 20-Dec-15 @ 3:12 PM
Im 13 I have 8 bearded dragons 2 dogs 2 birds 2 cats and I Love animals so much that I have decided to be a vet when im older this year I get to choose my options but im not sure what options to take I only have a few weeks to choose before the deadline so im a little bit unsure what options to pick
rach - 25-Oct-15 @ 11:43 AM
I want to know how to be a vet and what options I need to reach my dream job
Rach - 25-Oct-15 @ 11:38 AM
ShawnMendesLover<3- Your Question:
I have always loved horses and animals plus I always wondered why horses don't like water in their face.

Our Response:
Some horses can be fearful of water, some not. However, many animals don't really like water directly in their face.
CareerWithAnimals - 24-Sep-15 @ 11:55 AM
i have always loved horses and animals plus i always wondered why horses don't like water in their face.
ShawnMendesLover<3 - 23-Sep-15 @ 1:26 PM
@Catherine - I have included a link here to the Animal Behaviour Training Council to its page: Standards for Practitioners of Animal Training and Behaviour, which gives information on how to become a ABTC Standard - Accredited Animal Behaviourist and ABTC Standard - Clinical Animal Behaviourist. If you need any further information I'm sure the organisation would be happy for you to contact it directly.
CareerWithAnimals - 15-Apr-15 @ 10:24 AM
Hello, I am currently a second year Psychology BSc student at university. I have never been sure about which career path to take but have always had a great passion for animals and their welfare. Last year I was introduced to the idea of animal psychology and I have decided to conduct my third year research project on emotional reactions in horses. I was wondering what the educational requirements would be for me to become an Animal Behaviourist in a zoo environment? From reading I understand that I would most likely need a veterinary surgeon degree and would then have to take animal behaviour as a masters subject. Is this the only way in to the field considering I am taking a Psychology degree? I got good grades in the sciences and maths at GCSE but did not take any of the above mentioned required subjects at A Level. If anyone has any more information I would be extremely grateful!
Catherine - 12-Apr-15 @ 10:23 AM
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