(MP) Veterinarians care for the health of animals and work to improve public health. They diagnose, treat, and research medical conditions and diseases of pets, livestock, and other animals. This career came in at #30 on the Bureau of Labor Statistics report (BLS) Top 30 Jobs in 2020 list. Also known as Animal doctors they work in private clinical practices treating injuries and illnesses of pets and other animals with a variety of medical equipment, including surgical tools and x-ray and ultrasound machines. They provide treatment for animals that is similar to the services a physician provides to treat humans.
Projected increase in 2020: 35.9 percent
Number employed in 2010: 61,400
Median pay in 2010: $82,040
Education / training:
Veterinarians must finalize a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M. or V.M.D.) degree at an accredited college of veterinary medicine. There are actually currently 29 colleges with accredited programs within the United States. A veterinary medicine program generally takes four years to finish up and includes classroom, laboratory, and clinical components.
Though not required, most applicants to veterinary school have a bachelor’s degree. Veterinary medical colleges usually require applicants to obtain taken many science classes, including biology, chemistry, anatomy, physiology, zoology, microbiology, and animal science. Most programs also require math and humanities and social science courses.
Admission to veterinary programs is extremely competitive, and fewer than fifty percent of all applicants were accepted in 2012.
In veterinary medicine programs, students take courses on normal animal anatomy and physiology, along with disease prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. Most programs include 3 years of classroom, laboratory, and clinical work. Students typically spend the last year of a given 4-year program doing clinical rotations in a veterinary hospital or hospital. In veterinary schools today, increasingly, courses include general business and career development classes, in order to help new veterinarians understand how to effectively operate a practice.
Work Environment: Although most animal doctors work in private clinics and hospitals, others travel to farms, work in laboratories or classrooms, or work for government agencies.
Other associated work:
- Treats animals medically and surgically, and administering and prescribing drugs, analgesics, and general and local anesthetics.
- Determining the presence and nature of abnormal conditions by physical examination, laboratory testing and through diagnostic imaging techniques including radiography and ultrasound.
- Performs surgery, dressing wounds and setting broken bones.
- Renders obstetric services to animals.
- Participating in programs designed to prevent the occurrence and spread of animal diseases
- Inoculates animals against, and testing for, infectious diseases and notifying authorities of outbreaks of infectious animal diseases.
- Performing autopsies to determine cause of death.
- Advises clients on health, nutrition and feeding, hygiene, breeding and care of animals.
- Provides professional services to commercial firms producing biological and pharmaceutical products.
- Some specialize in the treatment of a particular animal group or in a particular specialty area such as cardiology, chiropractic, dermatology or critical care.
Job outlook: Pet owners are increasingly seeking nontraditional services, such as preventative dental care. Advances in the field are also allowing veterinarians to offer procedures common for humans, including hip replacement among other things.